Galls

Weird Willow Pinecone Galls and a Gall-Conversion! boggs.47 Sat, 02/11/2017 - 18:45
Winter walk reveals weird willow pinecone galls.
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Joe Boggs

Weird Willow Gall

Arguably, one of the weirdest galls found in Ohio is produced on willow by the gall-midge, Rhabdophaga strobiloides (family Cecidomyiidae).  The gall's appearance isn't weird; it looks like a pine cone.  However, finding a "pine cone" on a willow is weird.  As the common name implies, the Willow Pinecone Gall, which is sometimes called the "pine cone willow gall," closely resembles a pine cone with closed seed scales.

 

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Joe Boggs

Cypress Twig Galls Adorn Baldcypress

I came across the galling handiwork of the cypress twig gall midge fly (Taxodiomyia cupressiananassa) on baldcypress while on a photo-trek in southwest Ohio on Thursday.  These spongy, white galls were something of an oddity when I started with Extension 25 years ago.  However, for some reason that has changed with these galls becoming a common adornment on baldcypress.
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Joe Boggs

The Beringian Land Bridge and the Sumac Gall Aphid

The bladder-like galls produced the Sumac Gall Aphid (Melaphis rhois) are just beginning to develop on the leaflet midveins of its namesake host in southwest Ohio.  The galls are currently light green and so small they may be difficult to detect.  However, as the season progresses, the galls will eventually become more evident growing to 1/2 - 1" in length and becoming variegated with areas that are greenish-white bounded by areas that are mottled reddish-pink.

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Joe Boggs

Suction-Cups on the Bottom of Oak Leaves

I'm always amazed at how the population densities of certain gall-making wasps on oak seem to synchronize over wide geographical areas so that large numbers of the same gall appears over a wide region.  I don't know how they do it.  These are very tiny insects and they have an intimate relationship with their host trees; it's best for them not to stray too far. 

 

Oak button galls on white oak are very common this season throughout southwest Ohio; I even spotted some on oaks in central Indiana.  The galls are produced by the gall wasp, Neuroterus umbilicatus (...

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Joe Boggs

Oak Marginal Leaf Fold Gall

So-called marginal leaf fold galls are appearing on oaks in the "red oak group" in southwest Ohio.  The galls appear as rolled or folded leaf margins and are produced by a gall-making midge fly, Macrodiplosis erubescens (Family Cecidomyiidae).  As with the vast majority of oak galls, the leaf fold galls cause no appreciable harm to the overall health of affected oaks.  However, the gall has become notorious in recent years for its connection to a non-native predaceous mite (Pyemotes herfsi) that may feed on the gall-making midge fly larvae (maggots).  The mite...

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Joe Boggs