An unusual garden find has put green-thumbed enthusiasts on edge after one man shared the discovery on Facebook.
The man named Laurence asked “what on earth are these?” alongside a photo of what many say looks like “a thousand pairs of eyes”.
“Sorry to anyone who has a phobia to this sort of thing… I can see why,” he wrote of the small white balls clustered together on a willow tree leaf.
In the centre of each, there is a small black marking, making many draw comparisons to “creepy” eyeballs, while others joked they looked like Skittles.
‘Can’t bear to look at it’
It was no joke to some who revealed how unsettled they were by the discovery that many concluded was “insect eggs of some sort”.
The problem it seems is that the cluster of eggs was a trigger for those with trypophobia – a disgust or fear of a pattern of holes.
“Makes me itch and feel uncomfortable,” one person wrote in the comments.
“Jesus, can’t cope,” shared another.
Others said they “can’t bear to look at it, while another said they felt “nauseous and weird”.
Others were fascinated by the “amazing” find.
“I have no idea what they are, but they are so neat,” one said.
“How fabulous!! How lucky are you,” said another.
Expert explains mystery behind strange find
Laurence, from the UK, believes the eggs he found might belong to the white cabbage butterfly. But others on Facebook believe they could be buff tip moth eggs.
“I found the eggs on a small leaf that had become detached from a small tree on the border between my allotment plot and the unused neighbours plot,” he told Yahoo News Australia.
“I picked it up and was fascinated by the look of the eggs. I quickly took photos and put them onto the Facebook group for identification.”
Professor Culum Brown from Macquarie University told Yahoo News Australia that white cabbage butterfly are typically “longer (more cylindrical) and tend to be light green/yellow,” but agreed, the eggs definitely belong to a moth or butterfly species.
“[They mostly likely belong to] a moth from the family Notodontidae but there are like 3800 species so that doesnt narrow it down much,” he said
He said it’s likely they’re buff tip moth eggs, which are native to Europe, not Australia, and they love to munch on willow trees, where Laurence found them.
Professor Brown explained that moths and butterflies are “effectively the same thing”.
“Butterflies are actually a special form of moth,” he said. “Both come from the family Lepidoptera but moths make up something like 95 per cent of the diversity.”