Witch-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.Ken 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.
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.
Galls are some of the most fascinating things found on the planet. At least in my opinion. And 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.
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.
According 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.A Multicolored Asian Ladybug (Harmonia axyridis) on the galls.
Published June 14, 2014
Tags: Brooklyn, galls, insects, plants
Still visible on some bare trees out there, these hanging gardens are the cocoons of a bagworm moth in the family Psychidae.
There’s a caterpillar in here who made this hanging tent of leaves last year so it could overwinter. There are some 1300-plus known members of the Psychidae world-wide. The better known in our region use conifers, but some will use deciduous trees, gathering material from the tree to make the shaggy cocoon.
I had at first thought these some new to me form of gall, but bugguide.net set me right.