Thursday, August 04, 2005

Good or Bad Oothecas

Here are some images of last seasons oothecas, (egg cases) that have already hatched out. Each egg case holds from twenty to two hundred young praying mantises, so the experts say, but out of all my egg cases that hatched I am very doubtful if any contained quite two hundred, but try counting live baby mantises running around in a single cage. Everytime you get to around ten you have to start over.
These were gathered in the wild and many did not hatch. It can be difficult to tell the difference between oothecas from previous seasons as many will stay in place for years before eroding and falling from its branch, but there are several indicators that will help. The lighter the color the better, some will look fresher than others and those are most likely good, but even if they look dried up, do not disregard them as many of those are also good. Some will have obvious defects like fractures or small blow-outs and those are no good. Generally the ones that have a light colored film still covering the two rows of tiny holes in the front are good, but do not throw away any until you have a chance to throughly examine them. I do know that some will look bad, but when you break them open, they are fresh and viable.
Do not pull them off the branch or stick or the might be damaged. Some of them will not hatch if the conditions are not right as they need humidy and warm temperatures. Do not put them in a paper bag in the window like some say to do with out taking them out every few days and misting them lightly with a water spray or misting the paper bag.
I will be selling some ootheca which will be available in December, 2005, if anyone would like to purchase some.


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