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.
“Paging Dr. Kinsey, paging Dr. Kinsey! Gall wasp emergence on Henry Street…”
Before he went into human sexuality in a big way, pride-of-Hoboken Alfred Kinsey was a specialist in gall wasps, a vast and largely unknown kingdom, at least to us non-specialists.
Back in early February, I posted about two species of gall wasps on an oak in Green-Wood. I bought a couple of the galls home to photograph. One of these had no exit holes, so I popped it into a little plastic box with a magnifying lens built into it. Yesterday, I noticed something moving in it. From the corner of my eye, I thought ant, and thought it must be outside the box. But it was this 5mm gall wasp inside, crawling about. (Ants and wasps are of course in the same order, Hymenoptera, so the morphological similarity makes sense.)
I placed the box into the freezer for about a minute to get this wasp to play dead momentarily for the camera.