Posts Tagged 'galls'

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.
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).


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 set me right.


wasp“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.


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