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Word of the Week: Ootheca
March 14, 2018 by Sammy Tangir

Welcome to Word of the Week! Stay tuned for a new word each Wednesday to amp up your nature vocabulary!

In High Park we often find praying mantis oothecae near the base of grasses or other small herbaceous plants.

Ootheca [oh-uh-THEE-kuh(noun): a distinctive type of egg structure made by many types of insects (most notably mantises and cockroaches)

Oothecae (plural, oh-uh-thee-see) provide protection, warmth and camouflage to protect the eggs. Mantis oothecae (like the ones in the image) can contain 50-500 eggs. Come springtime, the eggs will hatch and the nymphs will emerge. Not all will grow to adults, as they will become food for many creatures around such as birds or raccoons. Who else do you think would eat mantis nymphs?

Check out this video of a praying mantis ootheca hatching! 

Photo credit: Ryan Hodnett (left), Sammy Tangir (right)

Sammy Tangir - Sammy is a serious nature nerd and especially enthusiastic about plants! When she is not thinking of next week's nature word, she is working as an outdoor educator and practicing her wood carving skills.

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