Praying mantis egg sacs

A praying mantis egg sac on a branch
A praying mantis egg sac on a branch
A praying mantis egg sac on a tree trunk

When I’m out walking, I rarely see praying mantis egg sacs. They’re no more than an inch long and they can blend in with the trees and branches where they tend to be found. However, on a recent walk on the coast, I saw these three sacs in the space of 20 minutes, the top two on branches and the third on a tree trunk.

I’m not sure why they caught my eye, though this is the time of year when they’re typically seen. Perhaps it was because I was watching for butterflies and dragonflies, so was paying a bit more attention to details than usual.

Each sac can contain up to 300 eggs. The eggs are encased in foam, called ootheca, which hardens into the sacs seen here. The sac in the middle photo was crawling with ants, which I suspect is not good news for the would-be mantises inside.

10 thoughts on “Praying mantis egg sacs

    1. Graham Post author

      In the past, I’ve monitored a couple of sacs but have failed to see the young mantises emerge. I guess I could bring one of these home to increase my chances, but I hate to mess with mature like that too much.

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  1. The Snow Melts Somewhere

    Living in a flat downtown, I never see anything like this anymore (not that we have praying mantis over here! but nothing similar… maybe wasps’ nests, that’s all!) Reminds me of my childhood in suburban Brisbane when I had time to endlessly explore the natural wonders of our backyard

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      1. The Snow Melts Somewhere

        I ran barefoot over a snake once, accidentally of course (I was a kid and didn’t see it) but it was too stunned/dozing/sunbathing to react. It was black and yellow so I’d guess poisonous! I was lucky. In my grandma’s garden I used to find large skins shedded by very long snakes. We never saw those snakes but they were obviously around.
        I got stung by giant ants quite often while playing outside and my fingers would get swollen but I didn’t mind. If that happened to me today, I’d freak out!!
        We also had lots of spiders in our house and backyard (redbacks, birdeaters, etc). Sometimes I wonder how anyone makes it alive out there! 😅

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        1. Graham Post author

          Lucky to be alive! I suppose the vast majority of creatures only bite or sting because they’ve been inadvertently threatened or attacked. Generally, like those large snakes, they’re there, but they too would prefer not to come in contact with humans if they can avoid it.

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