Egg-ceeding Diversity

Medium, large, extra-large – when it comes to eggs, does size matter?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Insect eggs come in all sizes and shapes. Fruit flies lay tiny, pointy eggs. Others, like the many-banded daggerwing butterfly, lay giant round ones — Well, relatively giant. About the size of a pea! What drives these differences?

Cassandra Extavour at Harvard University wondered… Her team compiled data on egg size and shape for seven THOUSAND insect species.

Was egg size and shape related to the critter’s size? No. Whether they could fly? Not that either! So, what is it?

Turns out, it depends on WHERE the egg lands! For instance, some species, like mosquitoes lay their eggs in water. Others, such as parasitic wasps, prefer to inject their eggs into other animals — like caterpillars. Eggs laid in aquatic environments seem to be smaller and rounder. By contrast, parasitic insects produce tiny, asymmetrical eggs.

This research highlights how the environment influences evolution and diversity in species!

So yes, size matters. But egg-volution may be more like real estate! Think location, location, location!