Bivalve eggs generally contain large amounts of lipids which, in comparison with proteins and carbohydrates, have high energy contents and are thus costly in energetic terms. As lipid contents vary between species, comparisons of reproductive investments should not only include numbers and sizes of eggs, but also their energy content. We estimated the investment in egg material of mature females of the Baltic tellin Macoma balthica (L.) in terms of both mass and energy content. All mass below a minimum body mass (below which no eggs are produced) was defined as structural mass. This threshold amounts to a body mass index (BMI) of 5.6 (ash-free dry mass per cubic shell length in mg cm -3). More than half (55%) of the mass above the structural mass was invested in egg material and 45% in extra somatic tissue and tissue for production and storage of gametes. This means that the amount of eggs spawned ranged from 0 (at BMI = 5.6 mg cm -3) to 33% of the total ash-free dry mass (at a high BMI value of 14 mg cm -3). Eggs contained a relatively large amount of lipids, about 30% of their ash-free dry mass, whereas non-egg material contained only about 7% lipids. Eggs of two other bivalves in the Wadden Sea, the cockle Cerastoderma edule and the mussel Mytilus edulis, were smaller and contained only about 11% and 20% lipids, respectively. Energy content of M. balthica eggs amounted to ̃0.006 J, in the other two species to ̃0.002 J. The function of the more expensive eggs in M. balthica may be related to its early spawning in spring, causing slower larval development until first feeding.