|Mantis egg case hatching|
Probably the best Christmas/naturalist story comes from education director Jennifer Roder and her husband Wayne.
Their live Christmas tree came pre-decorated.
Jen noticed two praying mantis egg cases (called oothecae, or singular ootheca) on the branches. Inside, where it was warm, time speeds up for the miracle of life contained inside.
Four days into the New Year, one of the oothecae started to hatch. Within a very short time their livingroom came alive with hundreds of tiny crawling, hungry baby carnivorous insects. Mantises are good to have in the garden, not so good parlor.
"Mantises everywhere!" Jen wrote. Surprise!
- Stephen Lyn Bales. Photos by mantid mama Jennifer