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Monday, November 03, 2008

Season of the Ootheca

The winds of human politics may howl, but the time comes when you must do what you must do. If you are a female mantis the time has arrived to produce ootheca, those styrofoamy constructs that contain and protect the eggs. Stagmomantis californica eggs overwinter inside the oothecum, hatching in early summer when a bounty of small prey is available for them to eat.

But for now, the ootheca:

The first one, in a typical and naturalistic configuration, is attached to a Tagetes lemmonii stem. I will probably harvest this when I trim back the tagetes and either attach it to another shrub I'm not planning to prune or keep it safe until spring, then set it out in the wild similar to how I would treat a purchased ootheca.

The second one is wedged between the leg and the underside of a picnic bench. This one I'll leave as is and hope for the best for the little ones when they emerge.

The mantis that crossed through the portal on Halloween appears to have come back through, unable to forget about the perfect egg laying site she saw under the tail of the silent foam crow. I'll do my best to remove this one so the crow can spend its winter in dignity.

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