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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/insect casing identification

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Question
unknown insect casing?
unknown insect casing?  

unknown insect casing 2
unknown insect casing  
Hi,
i work at a nature museum in Orange county New York, approximately 40 miles north of NYC. one of our patrons brought this item in, wondering if it was an insect casing. she said it was the second one she's found, though the other seemed to be made of a horn like substance. this one seems to be made of clay or a very soft stone. it almost looks like some kind of artifact.  which it may be, i have never seen anything like it. any help would be appreciated! thanks, Sasha Boucher, Hudson Highlands Nature Museum

Answer
Dear Sasha - I must admit that I never have seen such an object before, either. Without actually having it in hand, I hesitate to say much, but based on the insect-made structures I have seen, I would guess that it most likely is not of insect origin. Did the person submitting this give the specifics of exactly where and how it was found? Any details pertaining to its immediate surroundings might be helpful. Also, what are its approximate dimensions?

Waiting to hear back,
Saugy

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Ed Saugstad

Expertise

Will accept most questions in general entomology, including those related to medical entomology, taxonomy, ecology, arthropod surveillance, and pest management. If you are requesting a 'mystery bug' identification, PLEASE either attach an image to your question, or post an image on a web page (such as Flickr) so that I can look at it, as verbal descriptions frequently are insufficient for a definitive identification.

Experience

21 years in the U.S. Army as a medical entomologist; duties varied from surveillance of pest populations (including mosquitoes, cockroaches, ticks, and stored products pests) to conducting research on mosquito-virus ecological relationships and mosquito faunal studies. Ten years as a civilian analyst for the Department of Defense, primarily on distribution of vector-borne diseases worldwide. Limited experience on surveillance of agricultural insects in North Dakota and Indiana.

Organizations
Entomological Society of America, West Virginia Entomological Society, Society for Vector Ecology, National Speleological Society, West Virginia Association for Cave Studies.

Publications
American Journal of Public Health, Contributions of the American Entomological Institute, Japanese Journal of Sanitary Zoology, Journal of Economic Entomology, Mosquito News, and Mosquito Systematics.

Education/Credentials
B.S. in entomology from North Dakota State University in 1963, M.S. in entomology from Purdue University in 1967.

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