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White and Black Ootheca - Stagmomantis limbata

White and Black Ootheca - Stagmomantis limbata
Sacramento, California, USA
June 11, 2014
Size: 1 1/2 to 2" long
I found this under my garden fence, right next to the spinach. Does anyone know what it is or how to tell if/when its inhabitant will emerge? I thought I saw a small hole on one end (you can see it in the picture) so I thought whatever is inside might be dead. Anyway, I have a very curious three year-old waiting to see what crawls out so anything you can tell me would be great:-) Thanks!

Stagmomantis limbata, ootheca
There are just two Stagmomantis species that occur in California (S. limbata and S. wheelerii), only one of which reaches as far north as Sacramento-- S. limbata. This ootheca was still viable at the time of the photograph, as the operculi are still sealed along the dorsal surface.

Moved from Stagmomantis.

Moved from ID Request. This is the ootheca of a mantid in genus Stagmomantis, of which there are at least three species present in California. The nymphs should be out by now; the bleached, calcified appearance leads me to believe this is an old specimen or at least one which is no longer viable.

As Charley said, the nymphs should emerge from the zipper-like structure running the length of the ootheca. Any additional holes may be the work of parasitoids.

Ootheca (egg case)
...of a mantis. The hatchlings emerge through slits all along its length, and it can be hard to tell whether or not this his happened yet.

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