What Do Caterpillar Eggs Look Like?

One common misinformation about caterpillars is that they lay eggs. However, caterpillars do not lay eggs, and it is butterflies and moths that do this job. But, what do caterpillar eggs look like?

Caterpillar eggs are small, often white in colour and found in clusters on leaves. They are actually laid by butterflies and moths and not by caterpillars.

Before laying their eggs, butterflies will look for the appropriate place to lay their eggs. These eggs are found in clusters and comprise different shapes.

Butterfly larvae (caterpillars) will emerge from the eggs and consume food to build their health until they turn into a cocoon and later come out as butterflies.

Do Butterflies Lay Eggs?

It is butterflies that lay their eggs rather than the caterpillars. Butterflies and moths lay eggs on the underside of leaves, stems, or on the bark. They will usually do so on or close to a food source.

You can easily spot the butterfly eggs as they are lighter coloured against the leaves. The eggs are small and are usually found in clusters and of different shapes. While eggs take three to seven days to hatch, some can take longer depending on the weather conditions. 

As the eggs hatch, the caterpillars come out from them. The larvae will spend all their time feeding on plants, so they are able to gain energy and nutrients and grow. As the caterpillars develop, they turn into cocoons. This is a process called metamorphosis, which allows caterpillars to change into butterflies. 

Butterflies will lay many eggs, as many as a hundred, during their entire lifetime. The number of eggs that butterflies lay will depend on their species, of course.

As soon as the female butterflies have laid eggs, they will die. The female butterflies will mate once during their whole life and lay as many as 100 eggs.

What Colour are Caterpillar Eggs?

As aforementioned, caterpillars do not lay any eggs. Butterflies are responsible for laying the eggs from which the caterpillars emerge. These eggs vary in colour and shape for different species.

The eggs are yellow or light in colour, which makes them easier to spot among the leaves. With time, as the eggs mature, they can turn darker.

Where Do You Find Caterpillar Eggs?

Caterpillars themselves do not lay any eggs as they are underdeveloped creatures. Caterpillars themselves are the larvae that come out from the eggs. 

The butterfly will choose the plant they want to lay their eggs on. A butterfly may lay eggs on the top of leaves or on the underside. What kind of species of butterfly there is also depends on the location of the eggs.

Most species lay singular eggs on leaf tops. However, many species prefer to lay clusters of eggs on stems and under leaves.

At the very beginning, the eggs are light in colour, which is white or yellow. With time, the eggs begin to mature, and the eggs turn into a dark colour or black as the caterpillars are about to come out. Due to their colour, the eggs stand out against the colour of the leaves.

Every species of butterfly have its preference when it comes to laying eggs. These preferences are based on what the caterpillars like to eat.

For instance, cabbage white butterflies would lay their eggs on cabbage plants – as the name suggests! This is done to ensure the caterpillars are provided with a good food source that serves all their nutritional need. Some butterflies will also lay their eggs on vegetable plants like fennel, parsley, and carrots.

The plants where butterflies lay their eggs are called host plants. You will usually find butterflies flying around these plants as they are about to lay eggs. If you see any butterflies around your plants, you will also find some eggs. 

How Long Does it Take for a Caterpillar Egg to Hatch?

After the butterflies have mated, they will move on to look for a plant to lay eggs on. This is important as the correct host plant will only enable the caterpillar to survive. The female butterfly sits on the plant to observe the smell, shape, and size. 

The sperm fertilizes the eggs before they are laid. It is an important part of the process, ad the nutrients need to be delivered from males to females. The butterfly will lay the eggs on the host plant, which hatch in 3-7 days. 


One of the common misconceptions which are related to caterpillars is that they lay eggs. However, butterflies lay eggs, and when they hatch, caterpillars emerge. These eggs are small and usually found in clusters.

The eggs are white or yellow in colour during their early stage. However, the eggs turn into a dark or black colour as they mature with time. 

1 thought on “What Do Caterpillar Eggs Look Like?”

  1. Ryan, I think most people that call them Caterpillar eggs do so because they are eggs from which caterpillars hatch, not because they think caterpillars lay them.


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