Good Find

Today started unseasonably warm—an incredible 60-degrees—but slowly fell back into winter by nightfall. While the sun shone this afternoon and the temperature descended through the 50s, I wandered deep into the field. There, amidst matted goldenrod and thorny weeds, I had an unusually good find: several egg cases laid by praying mantises. Each one may contain as many as 400 tiny mantises. Like me, they will wait for a more lasting warmth, relying on spring to bring the field to life once again.

17 Comments on “Good Find

  1. What a treasure for you to find. Praying Mantises are very rare in the Western side of the Washington State. They do habitat in Eastern Washington but I have never seen a live specimen. Your sketch and information on the P.M. is very informative. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with your viewers.

  2. Your sketches are, as always, exquisite! I had no idea what a praying mantis egg case would even look like. And I wonder how many more people would just walk by them without being aware of their existence.

    • Well, now you know what to look for! It would be super easy to walk by these. They really blend in. I just got lucky, and once I spotted the first one, started looking for more. I’m going to add the dimensions to the sketch– they are about 1.5 inches high.

  3. How wonderful! What a find! Beautiful depiction, too. When I was very young, I found one as well. My mother allowed me to keep it. (With much trepidation) not knowing what it was. About a month later they hatched. I was excited. My mother relieved. We happily let them go. I’d forgotten this till I read your story. Thanx so much.

    • What a fun memory! Thanks for sharing it. I’m glad it was preying mantises, rather than the eggs of something less desirable. I’m happy to keep tabs on the ootheca from its place outside.

  4. Great find Jean! I enjoy all your “data”, temps, descriptions, such a great artist package!

  5. Jean, you never cease to amaze me! Your knowledge of the natural world is wonderful. I had a visit from a mantis last summer and took some good pictures. They like to pose. I don’t think I have ever observed those ootheca and might have just thought it was some sort of gall if I had. Another learning experience and lovely images.

  6. I had to read up about praying mantis as I hadn’t any idea what they were! They are not resident in the u.k. but they do look amazing and so well camouflaged. I need to be more observant when out walking. Lovely depiction as always.

  7. Well, I’m glad you knew what it was! I appreciate the word origin lesson there, too. Oh, wouldn’t it be amazing to be there when they hatched!

  8. Pingback: Hatch Out! | Drawn In

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