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Mantis (ootheca) Cocoon

Mantis (ootheca) Cocoon
Photo Information
Copyright: Ron Warner (tuslaw) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2009-03-10
Categories: Insects
Exposure: f/8, 1/40 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2009-03-10 19:52
Viewed: 8090
Points: 12
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
I walked the field behind the house tonight hoping to get a shot of something interesting. I found this Praying Mantis ootheca (usually called a cocoon) attached to a twig. This brought back memories of when I was a young boy and would bring a few of these egg cases home each fall.

I'm not sure how many young mantis actually hatch from one cocoon, but I can definitely say it's a lot!! I particularly remember one spring when hundreds of these tiny babies hatched in the house and literally covered a wall.

Needless to say my mom wasn't amused one bit, and that was the last time I ever brought any cocoons into the house for the winter.

An ootheca (pl. oothecae) is a type of egg mass made by any member of a variety of species (usually insects or mollusks).

The word is a combination of oo-, meaning "egg", from the Greek word oion, and theca, meaning a "cover" or "container", from the Greek theke.

An ootheca usually contains many eggs surrounded by a foam of protein which may then harden into a tough casing for protection. Notable ootheca-making insects are the mantis and cockroach.

Info. from: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

ramthakur, jpdenk, oanaotilia, eqshannon, bikefifty has marked this note useful
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Thanks, Ron, you have answered my unasked question!
You know what? I too shot an ootheca recently and did not know what it was. I too remember splitting one open in my boyhood days and not being able to figure out what I saw inside. Boy, it was a tough job opening it!
Your picture of it is very sharp and colorful. Though it is not something that appeals to the eye, it is still a curious phenomenon of nature.
Thanks and regards.

Hello Ron,
these are very interesting picture and information. Very nice composition, sharpness and colors.

Best regards, Leonid

Hi Ron,

Nice shot, good and clear, nice exposure too. I see these frequently nowadays, never saw them when I was a kid, so I guess they're becoming more common due to gardeners buying the egg cases for use in their gardens.

Technically, it's not a cocoon though, that's an entirely different sort of structure that is made by an insect larva to protect itself while it metamorphoses, this is an egg case laid by the female parent.


WOW! This may be a first for TN Ron. It is a treasure find for sure. And you capture and references are superior! I have never seen anything quite like this...VERY nice and super close in shot!

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2009-03-12 17:26]

Hi Ron,surely a interesting and unusual capture! And what a fantastic quality of sharpness and colors!My best compliments,you was lucky but a great photographer too,my best compliments,Luciano


Good eye on your walk . A good shot of a very interesting natural phenomenon. The focus is good, but my first reaction was the it was over powered by the light in the middle. Not sure if it was the sun of your flash. Even with that, for me it is an interesting picture, well framed and natural looking.

I like you story about your mom. Some day I will tell about the snake I brought home. It was the last one in the house.

Take care - Bob

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