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I found these in my baby lettuce leaf, are they worms? They didn't move and one fell out being stiff

enter image description here enter image description here

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  • @AMtwo I added the original picture if that helps, the size of the leaf was like the size of a baby spinach. They weren't moving, are larvae like that?
    – Eng_girl_d
    May 8 at 23:44
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    If they're not moving they're eggs. Lady bug or aphid eggs most likely.
    – aris
    May 9 at 17:09
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    From the picture and description I'd say these are more likely to be eggs, but it really comes down to how you found them: were they inside damaged leaf tissue or attached to the leaf by their ends in a clump? Or something else? Were any of the other leaves in the pack damaged?
    – tardigrade
    May 10 at 6:28
33

They are leafminers.

https://www2.ipm.ucanr.edu/agriculture/lettuce/Leafminers/

leafminers

They are fly larvae so technically maggots. They are crop pests that do cosmetic damage as they tunnel along the leaf.

There is no fly larva I know of that is poisonous to eat. You can rinse them off, or not. Your remote ancestors would have been delighted to get the extra protein on the miserable lettuce leaf they were eating.

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  • 20
    But I don’t need this kind of protein…. May 9 at 7:24
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    I guess this is a [food-identification] question then! May 10 at 12:58
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    While they might not be poisonous, there are certainly health concerns associated with eating larvae. There have been documented cases of maggots from Casu Martzu cheese embedding themselves in the intestine. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casu_martzu#Health_concerns May 10 at 14:05
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    @packetpacket those are alive, though. (And so frisky people sometimes wear goggles when eating)
    – tardigrade
    May 11 at 8:01
55

These are probably insect eggs.

Being unmoving, tightly clustered together, and uniform in size, these are most likely insect eggs.

A number of common insects lay oblong yellow eggs similar to those in your image, including ladybugs and cabbage white butterflies. Yours look more like ladybug eggs to me, or perhaps some other kind of beetle egg.

Ladybird eggs on plum, David Short from Windsor, UK, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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  • 13
    I must say this looks a LOT more like OP's image than the one in the accepted answer
    – Alex M
    May 10 at 20:50
  • As Willk said, our remote ancestors would have been delighted to get the extra protein from this too :-)
    – Nav
    May 12 at 4:37

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