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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/mystery pond bug egg cluster


egg cluster
egg cluster  
host reeds
host reeds  
QUESTION: I was feeding my kois, white cloud minnows, and mosquito fish when I noticed this cluster of eggs on one of my reed plants. It's only a 45 gallon deck pond and internet searching has come up with nothing. I don't know what laid them, if their good or bad but my chickens have already gotten a peck or two on them. I have attached a picture of the egg cluster (before the chickens found it) and reeds I found it attached too. Any information would be a huge help. Hope to hear from you.

ANSWER: Sarah:

I'm not convinced these are eggs at all.  Are you sure they aren't the seeds of the reed plant?  

If they *are* eggs, then they are likely from an animal larger than an insect.  The lack of some kind of mucous or gelatinous covering is also odd for egg clusters from an aquatic organism.

You might ask the nursery where you purchased the reeds if they have ever seen anything like this.

Good luck, feel free to let me know the outcome.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------


QUESTION: Yup, I'm pretty sure they're eggs not seeds. This is a new cluster that showed up yesterday


Got it!  Turns out they are snail eggs!  Quite possibly you have the invasive apple snail from Africa, Pomacea sp.  I found several images online of their egg masses and they look pretty much the same as yours.  You may want to contact someone at the North Carolina department of fish and wildlife (or natural resources, whichever one deals with exotic invasive species), to confirm or refute my diagnosis here.

Snails are mollusks, not insects, so it is no wonder I didn't recognize the eggs initially.  Well, that is my defense anyway :-)


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Eric R. Eaton


I answer insect and spider identification questions ONLY. Attach images if possible. No "what bit me?", "what do I feed this bug in captivity?", or science fair project questions please. NO TECHNICAL QUESTIONS ABOUT INSECT PHYSIOLOGY.


Principal author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America. Professional entomologist employed previously at University of Massachusetts, Chase Studio, Inc., and Cincinnati Zoo; contract work for West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, Smithsonian Institution, and Portland (Oregon) State University.

Author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Missouri Conservationist magazine, Ranger Rick, Birds & Blooms, Timeline (journal of the Ohio Historical Society). I have contributed to several books as well.

Oregon State University, undergraduate major in entomology, did not receive degree.

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One of the top 50 experts in all categories for, 2009.

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Principal author of the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Smithsonian Institution (contract), Cincinnati Zoo (employer), Portland State University (contract), Chase Studio, Inc (employer), Arkansas Museum of Discovery (guest speaker). Currently seeking speaking engagements, leadership roles at nature festivals, workshops, and ecotours.

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