An ootheca (plural oothecae) is an egg mass produced by several different groups of insects. Most notably Praying mantids and cockroaches. Oothecae contain many eggs with a protective outer covering.
In the case of mantids the ootheca can contain several hundred eggs. When the young mantis nymphs emerge they hang down below the ootheca on a thread before splitting a sac-like covering and starting a free-living existence.
Some species of cockroach produce an ootheca but then carry them at the end of their abdomen. This allows the female to protect the ootheca.
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