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Ootheca

September 28, 2009

Chers Amis,

My dh has worked hard to rebuild the steps to our front porch. The pre-paint construction is finished except for a small piece of mootheca2olding that will run along the bottom. My job last night was to measure and mark the molding. Just as I was finishing, a small movement on the underside of the cedar-siding caught my eye.

It was a gravid female praying mantis laying her egg case, her ootheca. Isn’t she a beauty!  Now imagine this upside down.  I flipped the picture so you could see her more easily, but she was actually holding on to the wood and carefully sculpting her egg case upside down protecting it from wind and water during the winter.

We have found numerous oothecas around the moulin before on dogwood bark, between the slats on the deck bench, even stuck to Scarlett’s beach towel, but we have never seen it being laid!  Very cool.  I sat and watched her for several minutes.  She had two finger-like appendages on her abdomen near the ovipositor that shaped the foamy material in successive layers like a horizontal cake.  At first I was afraid my camera might frighten  or distract her, but she was single minded and intent on her precious duty.  How fascinating to see her craft this delicate package. How perfectly her future offspring are wrapped in weatherproof insulation. How anxious I am to see them emerge to meet the warmth of a welcoming spring.

–Marjorie

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. September 28, 2009 11:58 pm

    Amazing! I’ve got to show that photo to the boys first thing in the morning, and I know they’ll enjoy it.

  2. September 29, 2009 1:36 am

    My goodness, Marjorie, you do have the most interesting visitors to your home! I haven’t seen a full grown praying mantis in ages…just babies, for some reason! You will have to share the little hatchlings with us! However, I must say that I think of Sigorney Weaver fighting the queen alien when I see one of these guys! lol Happy week!…Debbie

  3. September 29, 2009 9:26 pm

    Marjorie! Thanks for coming by my blog. It’s been awhile, but I’m hitting the old keyboard again. Funny story…I was over at Nester’s blog (just found it and i love it!) and I saw a comment from ‘Marjorie’. I wondered if it was you. Not too many Marjories in the blogosphere I guess, cause it WAS you! It’s so great to come back to the blog world and to the Lettres.

    About the tile: I just don’t like it! The grout gets yucky, yes, but it’s just so hard. Seriously, I’ve lost so many dishes and much glassware. In another house (with kids but no dog) we had hardwood and it was super. I’m didn’t mind a few nicks though, makes it look lived on I think.

  4. lapazfarm permalink
    September 30, 2009 10:28 pm

    Oh, neat!

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