Posts Tagged 'galls'

Oak Galls

gall1The mighty oaks and their galls are an endless source of curiosity. This particular type, a hard, fruit-like structure, is created by a tiny wasp, which essentially irritated the tree into making them for their larva.
galls2Clever boots! The trees are Swamp White Oak (Q. bicolor), according to the Street Tree Map. (I’m waiting on some leaves to see if I can confirm that.)gall3The wasp’s exit hole. I think these are Disholcaspis genus gall wasps. D. quercusmamma perhaps? (Why, yes, a translation of that would be “oak breasts.”)

Spiny Gall

gall2Witch-hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) is a good gall-tree. One species of aphid, Hormaphis hamamelidis, forces the tree to make cone-shaped galls on the leaves. The young aphid grows up inside this, protected from its enemies. Another species of aphid, the Spiny Witch Hazel Gall maker, Hamamelistes spinosus, makes the tree make these hard, spiny galls that come off of the twigs.gall1Ken Chaya, who identified these for us, cut a couple of them in half. A spider had taken up residence in one. Another had the white filaments of a cocoon within.
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Have to admit missing most of the White-tailed-Deer-in-Harlem story, for I have no interest in television news ratings-fodder. In response, Jason Munshi-South had a good editorial in the Daily News on the need for a sane policy on urban wild animals.

Wool Sower

wool1Galls are some of the most fascinating things found on the planet. At least in my opinion. wool2And this is one of the most spectacular. This is created by a tiny gall wasp, Callirhytis seminator, the Wool Sower Gall (-maker). But of course that is a mis-leading statement. The gall is actually created by the plant, in this case an oak, in response to irritation/agitation/chemistry of the wasp. The wasp is warping the plant’s defenses for its own uses, protecting its eggs and feeding its larvae. IMG_7184

These were discovered at Fort Nonsense Park, site of a Confederate earthworks to defend slavery, in Mathews Co., Virginia. But we also have them up here in Brooklyn.

Hedgehog Galls, Ladybug

gall1According to my own personal memory device, this is the third year I’ve noted these hedgehog galls on this White Oak (Quercus alba) in Green-Wood. This year there is a bumper crop of them.lady3A Multicolored Asian Ladybug (Harmonia axyridis) on the galls.

White Oak

Quercus albaThe pale underside of some Eastern White Oak (Quercus alba) leaves found on Mt. Taurus.Quercus albaThis is another specimen of the tree, two weeks later, in Green-Wood. It’s been a spectacular fall. Q albaSame tree, with some Hedgehog Galls. I also explore these fuzzy galls a little more here.

More Galls

gall2The world of galls is vast: I don’t know what these are, but they evidently darken into these rather glossy, bean-like structures:gall1gall3Another. It’s just a splotchy discoloration on the top of the leaf, but underneath there’s some interest.

Some Southwestern Insects

Aglais milbertiMilbert’s Tortoiseshell (Aglais milberti). I’ve only identified a couple of the following, so holler if you know any of them.
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Battus philenorPipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor).i16i10This katydid was dropped in front of me by a surprised Western Tanager. I think the katydid was surprised too, if not in shock.i5Like the chimney-shaped ant colony entrance, this is another sign of an insect, in this case a gall-maker (evidently several species make willows produce these cone-like structures).


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