Monday, August 16, 2010

Idaho jumping beans

Older Daughter went for a walk in the woods this morning.  She came back with an odd looking...stone?  Seed?  She wasn't sure.  The only reason she noticed it was because of the odd coloring - dark gray with a wide light-gray stripe.

We were all looking at this with some interest when suddenly... it moved!  And I mean moved!

It started twitching and rotating and even jumping - literally - just like a Mexican jumping bean.

It's only about 3/16 of an inch long, but the silly thing has provided us with endless fascination today.

Unlike a Mexican jumping bean, it doesn't look like seed with a larva inside.  That is, the outside doesn't look like a seed - at least, not like any seed I've seen here in Idaho, though God knows I'm no botany expert.  If anyone has any clue what this little critter could be, by all means let me know!

UPDATE: I came downstairs a few mornings later to find the plastic container tipped over during the night (presumably by a mouse) and the little thing gone.  Nuts.  Now we'll never find out what it was.


  1. So I got curious and that bean looks familiar somehow. After some searching, I'm guessing it's a type of plant gall with an insect inside.

    "Galls are abnormal growths or swellings of plant tissue caused by the attack of a living organism. Insects, mites, nematodes, bacteria, fungi, and viruses produce these plant deformities."

    Galls can detach and, when the insect is active, act like jumping beans. Familiar because I found one at my grandma's farm when I was a kid. It went flying out the kitchen door, jar & all, when little spiders or wasps (I don't recall - too traumatized I guess!) started coming out.

  2. Hmmm, interesting but gonna be creepy, no doubt. I'm thinking it's an egg case for some insect or arachnoid. I recommend you keep it in a secure clear container and watch it. It's going to hatch out soon and then you'll be glad it's in the secure containeer.

    Please let us know what happens with it.

    Anonymous Twit

  3. My mom just found one of these in New Jersey! It's the strangest thing ever! It looks just like this one, only it's brown with a lighter brown stripe. It's been twitching and jumping all day!

  4. I found one that looks/acts exactly the same while camping last week in Kings Canyon park in CA. We got photos/video but also never got to see it hatch.

  5. We found one in Winnipeg, Manitoba. I've been waiting for a week for my Bean Buddy to hatch but it just keeps jumping. Odd.