Subject: Dry husk stuck on rock
Geographic location of the bug: San Luis Obispo, California
Time: 06:33 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Dear Bugman: I found this dry husklike thing on a rock in my front yard. I pulled it off, but didn’t;t learn anything. I know it was once either part of some living thing, or it contained or was shielding something living. Please help!
How you want your letter signed: Yours, Kathy O’Brien
This is the ootheca or egg case of a Preying Mantis, and it does not look like it has hatched yet. Mantids only live a single season, hatching when conditions are right in the late winter or early spring and they mature by autumn. The female Mantis then lays one or more ootheca that will overwinter. If you put this ootheca in a sheltered location, or try to attach it to a branch on a tree or shrub, it might still hatch this spring. Daniel just realized there is no Bug of the Month posting for October 2019, as he neglected to create one at the beginning of the month, so this posting will be tagged as Bug of the Month. Daniel noticed two native Mantis oothecae in the garden in the past week, so perhaps he will take some images and add to this posting.
Update October 15, 2019: Two California Mantis Oothecae in the WTB? garden
When Daniel returned from work yesterday, he made a point of taking images of the two California Mantis oothecae he found over the weekend. Though adult Mantids did not make may late season appearances in the garden, they were obviously hiding quite well as the two oothecae are far enough apart to evidence they were likely laid by two different females.