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Praying Mantis Egg Case

12-9-13 praying mantis egg case 057In the fall, after mating, the female praying mantis lays up to 400 eggs in a frothy liquid produced by glands in her abdomen. This one to two-inch long mass is attached to vegetation, often grasses and goldenrod stalks, about a foot or two off the ground. The frothy structure hardens, providing a protective case for the eggs. In the spring, miniature (wingless) mantises, called nymphs, will hatch from this egg case. When hatching, the nymphs appear all at once, crawling from between tiny flaps in the case and then hanging from silk threads about two inches below the case. Within an hour or two, after drying out, they disappear into nearby vegetation.

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6 responses

  1. John Hammond


    Suggestion: It would be helpful on a post like this to have an indication of scale. As we head out to check for egg cases on our goldenrod, it’s useful to know how big the cases are.

    Thanks for your wonderful posts. We always look forward to them.


    John S. Hammond

    46 Winter Street

    Lincoln, MA 01773-3504

    Tel: (781) 259-9333

    Fax: (781) 259-9390

    December 9, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    • Hi John,
      I did mention in the text that mantis egg cases are one to two inches long, but you’re right, something to put it to scale in the photo would be a good idea. I just hate to mar nature’s beauty with a man-made jacknife or ruler, etc! Not very scientific of me!

      December 10, 2013 at 2:43 am

  2. Cinny MacGonagle

    Looks like one of the introduced species, maybe the Chinese mantis, Tenodera sinensis? Sadly, we don’t see many of the natives species here in NJ, and I guess you don’t often see them in VT either.

    December 9, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    • I believe it’s the egg case of Mantis religiosa, the European Mantis, Cinny.

      December 10, 2013 at 2:41 am

      • Cinny MacGonagle

        yes, thanks, Mary. I am really enjoying your blog!

        December 10, 2013 at 3:05 am

  3. one of the great creatures..

    December 10, 2013 at 1:43 am

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