Ootheca of a California Mantis

Subject: pupa?
Location: san diego ca.
December 27, 2013 10:32 am
found this on Christmas morning attached to my outdoor umbrella! I’ve looked through countless photos and can’t find it. Can you help ID it. Thanks
Signature: don’t understand queastion

California Mantis Ootheca
California Mantis Ootheca

The signature is the name you would like used when we post images and questions.  This is the Ootheca or Egg Case of a Preying Mantis, and based on the similarity to this image from BugGuide, it is an Ootheca from the native California Mantis, Stagmomantis californica.  The ootheca that are sold by nurseries as organic means of controlling pest species in the garden are generally from non-native Preying Mantids that are larger and more aggressive than our native mantids.  While we applaud the good intentions of gardeners who want to use natural means for pest control, we fear that our native Mantids are being displaced and perhaps eaten by their non-native relatives.  This Ootheca appears to have already hatched into approximately fifty tiny mantids.  Here is a photo from our archives of the hatching Ootheca a different species of Mantis.  We also recently photographed a nymph of a California Mantis in our own Mount Washington, Los Angeles garden. 

1 thought on “Ootheca of a California Mantis”

  1. We have enjoyed watching a native Stagmomantis californica grow in our garden. We would occasionally feed her, but she enjoyed hunting spiders more than anything. She remained in the same general area until a few days after mating, when she moved to the rosemary bush and laid her eggs. We haven’t seen her since, and assumed she died.

    We carefully clipped the branch where she left the Ootheca, and put it in an oversized mason jar with a damp paper towel. When the little ones hatch we plan on reintroducing most of them to the rosemary bush, but some we’ll grow to a larger size and plan to move them to other parts of Southern California. We would have left it alone, but where she laid it is NOT going to survive the gardeners and their trimmers.

    People may not realize this, but the California Mantis has a taste for Black Widows. This alone should be reason enough to want to protect the species.


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