Eggs of White Cabbage Butterfly

August 31, 2015

ThreeD_Cabbage White eggs Parker black

Photographer: Greg Parker; Stereographer: Brian May
Summary Authors: Greg Parker; Jim Foster

Earlier this summer my wife brought in a leaf of a runner bean that on its underside had an arrangement of odd jello-like molds. They're actually eggs of a white cabbage butterfly (Pieris rapae) -- magnified here 20 times. I used a technique allowing me to take two images that when combined yields a 3-D image. Thanks to Brian May for his expert help with this approach.

The caterpillars that will later emerge are serious agricultural pests, particularly to cabbage and mustard plants. In England, where this photo was snapped, cabbage whites are commonly seen in April and May and again in July and August. However, in warmer climates they breed throughout the spring and summer and can be observed everyday from early spring until early autumn. Photo taken on July 31, 2015.

Photo Details: Taken with a research, trinocular microscope using a Canon 5D MkII camera. This is a 30-frame focus-stacked image, using Helicon Focus 6. Extra processing using Photoshop CS3. Illumination using optical-fiber lamps.