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Chinese Mantid Ootheca

Chinese mantid oothecaCredit: Peter Thibodeau ©2021

Chinese mantid ootheca egg case.
Credit: Peter Thibodeau ©2021

“Ootheca” is a Latinized term that comes from oo-, meaning “egg” and theca, meaning “cover”/”container”. An ootheca is an egg case; inside this egg case are eggs. The ootheca of the Chinese mantid, Tenodera sinensis, is interesting as gardeners may mistake it as a plant gall. Oothecae of Chinese mantids are a hardened, straw-colored, foam-like mass that protects hundreds of eggs over the winter. In spring, tiny nymphs emerge from the ootheca and disperse to begin their lives as predators in the landscape.

Adult Chinese mantid. Vicky Bertagnolli, ©2004, Clemson Extension

Adult Chinese mantid.
Vicky Bertagnolli, ©2004, Clemson Extension

Chinese mantids are common predators found throughout the eastern United States. They are considered beneficial as they serve as natural biological control agents of landscape pests such as crickets, caterpillars, grasshoppers, flies, cockroaches, and more.

Fast Fact: Chinese mantid is the largest mantid species in North America, reaching up to just over 4.25 inches in length!

Read more information, see Praying Mantids.

If this document didn’t answer your questions, please contact HGIC at hgic@clemson.edu or 1-888-656-9988.

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