Green Eggs On Nettle

Green eggs on stinging nettle leaves (photo by Kate St.John)
Green eggs on stinging nettle leaves (photo by Kate St.John)

Today, a quiz.

I found green eggs on stinging nettle on August 9 at Wolf Creek Narrows, Butler County, PA.

Are they eggs or something else?

And who laid them?

Post a comment with your answer.

I’ll reveal their identity later today.

THE ANSWER:  29 August, 3:15pm
This was a tricky quiz because the structures really do look like eggs. I thought they were butterfly eggs but they are too smooth. The butterflies most likely to lay eggs on nettle have very wrinkled eggs.  For instance, click here to see the eggs of the small tortoiseshell butterfly.

Mary Ann Pike correctly identified the green “eggs” as nettle galls of (probably) Dasineura investita.  The galls are the plant’s defenses against the larvae inside them.  The larvae are from midges so tiny that I can’t find photographs of the adult insects though these three photos may give you an idea.

Caterpillars of the Sordid Hypena moth (Hypena sordidula) eat these galls.  Click here to see it.

(photo by Kate St. John)

7 thoughts on “Green Eggs On Nettle

  1. Definitely a gall. It looks like it’s from Dasineura investita, although seems to be found on Wood Nettle, not Stinging Nettle, from what I’ve been able to look up on the internet. Or they are saying maybe an undescribed species of Dasineura, on this page:

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