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.
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.
I have only seen an egg case one other time, but there is nothing else quite like it. I was surprised to find several in one area. May the young survive and thrive in next summer’s field!
A treasure indeed! They most likely will survive as they have done so far.
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.
A tribute to your observational skills, not to speak of your artistic talent.
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.
Great find Jean! I enjoy all your “data”, temps, descriptions, such a great artist package!
Thanks! It’s time to plan our next exploring adventure!
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.
They do look similar to galls, but have a hardened foam texture. I’m always on the lookout for stuff like this– and enjoy learning more when I find something.
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.
They are pretty cool insects and much desired by gardeners because they eat a lot of insects (including each other). Glad to share something new with you!
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!
I can only hope to use Ootheca in Scrabble one day. I would be very curious to see the hatching out, too!
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