Today our gravid mother Mantis religiosa finally deposited an ootheca — a mass of eggs in a kind of protein cement to protect them — inside the cage where she mated with and ate several husbands. Mantids are closely related to cockroaches and termites (believe it or not, termites are basically social cockroaches that aren’t closely related to ants) and they, like cockroaches, encase their eggs in a protective sticky mass that hardens into an ootheca. Cockroaches sometimes carry their oothecae around attached like little suitcases to the tips of their abdomens, but mantids usually lay theirs on grass or other plants, or, in the case of M. religiosa, under rocks or logs. Different species of mantis produce different types of ootheca.

IMG_2341

Our mother mantis chose a crevice at the roof of our net cage.

IMG_2348

The ootheca is sticky when created, but it hardens into protective armor for the eggs. The young mantis nymphs will be born in spring.

IMG_2345

Close up detail of the ootheca.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: