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Found this near the edge of a forest in upstate New York. It looks like the remnant of a cocoon of some kind. I would appreciate any help in identifying its original maker / occupant.

I hope my fingers give a reasonable indication of scale - estimating about 30 mm across.

enter image description here enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ looks like a tiny loofah! $\endgroup$
    – selene
    May 3 at 2:04

1 Answer 1

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That looks similar to the dried fruit of Echinocystis lobata (wild cucumber), which grows throughout New York. The fruit is about the right size (~3 cm) and shape, whereas the best alternative I can come up with is smaller and differently shaped (Sicyos angulatus (burr cucumber)).

I'm confident that this is something in the cucumber family, but there could be other related plants. If you had images of dried vines/leaves associated with your specimens it might help confirm this or suggest alternatives.

dried fruit of Echinocystis lobata from iNaturalist Source: iNaturalist (© Robert D Stevenson).

enter image description here Source: Dylewski, Ł., Maćkowiak, Ł., & Myczko, Ł. (2018). Physical defence of the wild cucumber Echinocystis lobata in an invasive range changing seed removal by rodents. Plant Ecology, 219(7), 863-873.

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    $\begingroup$ We do have some vines growing in the area where I found this. Thanks for the quick and thorough reply! $\endgroup$
    – Floris
    May 3 at 11:26
  • $\begingroup$ @Floris: You're welcome — if you can get pictures of the whole plants later this year (especially with details of the flowers, fresh fruits, leaves, and stems) it would be helpful to edit them into your question. $\endgroup$
    – tyersome
    May 5 at 20:16
  • $\begingroup$ good recommendation- if I see these things growing (rather than the skeleton on the ground) I will surely do that. $\endgroup$
    – Floris
    May 5 at 20:18

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