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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/cocoon identification.


Hi Ed, I live in south western Ontario and found a couple of cocoons that I have no clue as to what will emerge from themy maybe you can help me out. I've attached an image of them other than that all I know is they were brittle with a paper like texture I'd paper was made into a pastry. I found them on the under side of painted lumber.
Thanks Bryce

Dear Bryce - This is not a cocoon, but an ootheca (egg case) of a praying mantis. As the female mantis lays her eggs, she secretes a gluey substance that covers the eggs and dries to form the protective structure that you found. Later on, the eggs hatch, and the little mantids emerge to make their fortune in the world - see for an image.

Hope this helps,

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Ed Saugstad


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.


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.

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

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.

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

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