Granddaughter discovered eggs on stalks in her garden activity centre, that indispensable adjunct to the modern American family suburban garden. There were lots of them, in lines and in groups. What were they?
Daddy came to the rescue and consulted the modern oracle (search engine). They were the eggs of the green lacewing, a remarkably beautiful insect.
It is also a useful insect, an avid eater of aphids, whitefly and other pests – to the extent that you can buy lacewing eggs to distribute around infested plants. The lacewing larvae soon hatch and commence eating ravenously.
Lacewings may become even more useful. German chemists are investigating the composition of the silk-like stalk that holds the eggs. Ultimately a new synthetic silk may emerge.
But note that the vernacular name for these insects is “stinkflies”, because of their ability to release a vile smell when handled.
Intriguing, beautiful and useful. What more could you want!
Pictures via Wikimedia Commons:
Eggs by By Dinesh Valke from Thane, India
Lacewing assumed by Bruce Marlin.