Subject: Cocoon Identification
Location: Tecumseh, MI
January 1, 2017 12:22 pm
I have found three cocoons of a type, which I have never seen before in my yard. I raise butterflies and moths and am familiar with the cocoons of species which I usually see in my yard. I have included a picture of two of the cocoons. All of them were on plants on the South side of my house. One was on a rose bush, another on a Ninebark bush – both of these were out in the open. The third was buried in some Gaillardia which had died back for the Winter. These would have been formed very late in the Fall – probably in November. In the picture the front of the cocoon is pictured on the left. You can see the shape and that it has ridges from top to bottom, which go all the way around. The right side of the picture shows how the cocoon is attached to the plant. Just one small strip at the top holds it on. The bottom of the cocoon is a very light tan and also has ridges. The texture is almost like styrofoam. I live in Southeast lower Michigan Latitude/Longitude 42.0039, -83.9449. If this is something I have never seen, I would like to over winter the cocoons in my garage. Thank you for any information, which you can give me.
Signature: Jan Graves

Mantis Ootheca

Mantis Ootheca

Dear Jan,
This is not a cocoon.  It is the ootheca or egg case of a Preying Mantis and come spring, several hundred hatchlings should emerge.

Thank you so much for your prompt reply. The links which you supplied definitely depict what I found.  I will leave them where they are and hope that I am  lucky enough to see some of the little Preying Mantis when they emerge.
Jan Graves

Location: Tecumseh, Michigan

2 Responses to Ootheca of a Preying Mantis

  1. Elisabeth S Brackney says:

    What you call “preying mantis” is actually praying mantis.

    • bugman says:

      We understand the homonym you cite is more popular, but we maintain we have seen mantids “prey” but we have never seen a mantis “praying” so we prefer to use the word that most accurately describes the act. You may read more about our position by reading this posting from our archives.

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