I think "ootheca" is the perfect word for... well, I'll tell you in a minute if you don't already know.

This is one of my Fargesia sp. 'Rufa' (possibly no longer the correct name as it seems to change every couple of years):

I need to clean out dead culms and also take a division of it, but doing it in the summer is dangerous -- wasps make nests in it every year. So I did clean out quite a bit in early spring, but there were still some visible dead culms poking out and a week or so ago I decided to remove them.


As I was carefully pushing my way in reaching for the dead culms, out of the corner of my eye I saw a globular shape. I jumped and immediately thought "wasp nest!". Taking another look though...

...Oooooh, a mantis egg case! 

That's why "ootheca" is the perfect name for these, as I always say "oooooh" whenever I find one. :)

This one is extra exciting for me, as it's a different type of mantis ootheca -- it's from the Chinese mantis (Tenodera sinensis), which I've never actually seen in my garden. Clearly they're here though.

I always see Carolina mantises (Stagmomantis carolina)...

photo from 2016

...which have a very different egg case:

photo from 2010

The Carolina mantis hatches around the first week of June here typically, but in early May I was cutting back some bamboo in this area and saw a hatchling -- now I realize it must have been from one of these Chinese mantis ootheca.

I found three of the egg cases in that bamboo!

They are all empty of course. You can tell they're empty because of the holes in the top. Before hatching there are no holes, while after hatching: holes.

There could be more ootheca in that bamboo, but the wasp nests are in there too so I didn't poke around too much.

I'm going to have to keep an eye out for these! (The mantises as well as the ootheca)

Yes, it's as much fun typing "ootheca" as it is saying it out loud!

Interesting note: spell check is fine with 4 or 5 O's in "oooh", but add a sixth and that's a spelling error!


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outlawgardener  – (August 3, 2018 at 10:06 AM)  

How exciting to find these and for me to learn a new word. I also learned that the term refers to the egg cases of cockroaches. Exciting!

chavliness  – (August 5, 2018 at 10:25 AM)  

It's like going on an expedition in your garden, finding new species! Could harm come to the Chinese mantis from the proximity to the wasps

Hoover Boo  – (August 5, 2018 at 9:03 PM)  

Interesting different ootheca from the ones I see here--found one just a couple of days ago in one of the Grevilleas. They are usually in the roses.

Your Fargesia looks beautiful, dead culms or no!

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