Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Surprise Under The Christmas Tree

The kids found this when they hauled the Christmas tree out of the house and on to the porch. It was broken when they showed it to me with one end crushed. I used my pocket knife to cut a clean slice through it to get a good cross section. From the outside, it looked and felt just like that spray foam that you squirt into cracks to seal them.

On the inside were little compartments. These were in the center and were occupied by tiny larvae like the little fellow in this enlarged view. Surrounding the inner compartment chamber was an outer protective layer. Bits and pieces of Frasier Fir needles were embedded in the exterior where it had been attached.
My first thought was a mantis egg case and I still lean that way, even though the larva isn't very mantisy-looking yet. That could just be timing.
Pretty cool. Apparently they spent Christmas with us.
Oh, and this happened too ...
The University of Florida Gators Are The National Champs!Posted by Picasa

15 comments:

Thunder Dave said...

Could be some sort of wasp too though, don't you think?

I watched the 1st half of the game, but needed to get some sleep. I was pretty confident how the game was going to go at that point! Go Gators! (I told you I wasn't going to jinx them by proclaiming my favorite prior to the game, but I'm pretty sure you knew anyway!)

Wayne said...

Very cool pics!

I wasn't sure but apparently the mantis life cycle is incomplete metamorphosis and the hatchlings look just like tiny mantids. Is it mantid or mantis?

You understand that as an employee of the UGA athletic department there's no way I can congratulate you or Mrs FC in the matter of a UF win. Not that I particularly care myself, except for the matter of being tarred, feathered, made to walk the plank, and run out on a rail should the memory of the internets here come to light in the wrong places.

That said, of course congratulation!

pissed off patricia said...

Heck of a game! And not in the, Brownie heck of a game, mode.

I was once married to a Gator. That marriage was croc :)

Alan said...

Looks like some sort of wasp or hornet larvae to me, but the 'nest' if that's what it is looks very strange.

.....Alan.

vicki said...

My, what BIG eyes you have! Are those eyes? ack. Odd pod, too.

The game was ridiculous. Abby and Rich were yelling and moaning throughout. You could hear the rest of the neighborhood cheering. Now everybody, settle down.

Wayne said...

WRT Alan's comment, and especially that it does look like one of those ootheca that mantises build, I wonder if it's a parasitic wasp or other opportunist laid in a mantis ootheca?

And as vicki said, what big eyes!

Congratulation to the kids for a great find, too.

SophieMae said...

Check out http://www.pbase.com/verbie/praying_mantis
for mantis life cycle pics. Pretty cool.

Glad the Gators did your family proud. 8-]

Paintsmh said...

That is one very cool looking critter. Very interesting. ANd they must have been very well behaved house-guests since you didn't even know they were there.

threecollie said...

Liz (paintsmh) and I were talking and we were thinking they might be baby graboids....dunno...if they are, you might want to be kind of quiet when you celebrate that Gator's win...

Floridacracker said...

After checking out the link that Sophie gave me, I'm even more convinced that these are early mantids. Check out the link in her comment and pay attention to the very first photo...upper left.

ThunderD,
It's good to win.

Wayne,
Thanks. I appreciate that coming from a master of macro. I had a hard time picturing this egg case as anything but mantoid, and after checking out that site, I believe these are mantis baby pics.
Hey I understand completely about the UGA/UF sensitivities :)

POP,
LOL! My gator is pretty pleasant :)

Alan,
I believe they are mantis pups and I wish they could have hatched in my garden.

Vicki,
Here's looking at you kid.
You should have seen our teachers and students today. All happy and bleary-eyed.

Sophie,
Thank you!! The first pic at that site confirmed it for me.

Paintsmh,
Maybe the were just drowned out by the noise of my own 3 larvae.

ThreeCollie,
Uh oh ... I tossed it in the garden.
I just got the connection with Paintsmh.

Deb said...

Now, most ordinary kids would have thought Eeewww! Gross! But these are no ordinary kids we're dealing with at Pure Florida. :)

And, jeez! I leave the blog world for one night to go to a meeting, and Gatormania takes over! Congrats.

Floridacracker said...

Deb,
You noticed did'ja? They are quite abnormal (Thank God) and I've been pondering a post on raising abnormal kids. I just might do it.

LauraHinNJ said...

Congrats on your win.

Will have to look at that link - can imagine how these will become mantids.

Mrs. S said...

Just looking at that thing is making my hair stand on end - which tickles, in case you're wondering - and I cannot IMAGINE finding something like that in my house and reacting with anything other than gut-wrenching horror.

You, FC, are a true gem.

Floridacracker said...

Laurahinnj,
I hear ya, but check out that pic and let me know what you think.

Mrs. S,
It won't be long before Zoe is bringing you critters and asking you what they are :)
It'll be fun.