“What is this thing?” asks Kate, or as she asks us to call her, “Curious Kate in Colorado”. She refers to the big, white object pictured below. “I found it next to my front door! Should I move it? Let it be? It seems stuck, and this spot gets a lot of sun and gets very hot.” At first glance, we thought that this might be an egg sac of some kind – perhaps of some insect or species of spider. It has been suggested to us that it resembles a praying mantis egg sac, and it might be just that! That said, the size of this object, as well as the fact that it is “stuck” on there (which we assume means that Kate had a hard time trying to pry it from the door frame) makes us wonder if it could be something else.
Before we get to what it is, let’s talk about what it isn’t, but what Google suggests that it could be. When we started looking at other things that resemble egg sacs, Google kept suggesting a luffa, which is a species of cucumber. This vegetable has a green peel, much like a ‘regular’ cucumber, but in the case of the luffa, this peel is much thicker and needs to be peeled before getting to the ‘meat’ of the vegetable, which is bone-white in color, and segmented like the object in Kate’s photo. With that said, the segmentation is still different – a luffa has more of a stringy, mismatched pattern, like a cob when the corn has been eaten off, and this object has more of a layered, even pattern of segmentation.
This got us thinking of mushrooms, and, in particular, the Climacodon pulcherrimus. This mushroom is known as a toothed fungus, because it has tooth-like appendages from which its spores are secreted. It is more likely that this is what is growing on the doorframe than a luffa, because after all, how did the luffa get on the door frame? Did someone glue it there? That would be the only plausible explanation, and it is not plausible at all. Meanwhile, mushrooms can grow from dead hardwood – though usually they still grow on dead trees in a forest. We are not sure if they can even grow door frames, furniture or other woods that have been ‘tampered’ with, so to speak. We are not mushroom experts after all. On top of that, how this mushroom would have grown this big on Kate’s doorframe before she noticed it at an earlier stage is beyond us: this is also a highly unlikely situation.
However, dear readers, what we know is that this is almost certainly an Ootheca, which is the egg sac of the praying mantis. How it got stuck next to our reader’s door is anybodies guess, but apparently many praying mantis fans consider it to be very lucky.
To conclude, this turns out to be most likely the egg sac of a praying mantis. The same question remains though – how did this sizable object get in the door frame in the time between Kate’s last use of her door and her discovery of the sac? We think that if Kate gently pries it off the door frame and onto/into something else, and then leaves the egg sac somewhere outside, she will be rid of this problem. We hope this helps and we wish her the very best!
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