Oak galls in Travis Audubon’s Baker Sanctuary outside Austin, March 18, 2017. Galls are a new thing for me: they are growths composed of plant matter that grow around a larva, typically of a gall wasp. They do not harm the plant, and if you don’t know any better you would think they are dried berries or seeds.
This was my first time seeing fresh ones–before I had only seen the brown dried up ones the wasps had already emerged from (several are pictured above, look for the exit hole). The green galls seemed to be only on the saplings. I collected a couple to dissect at home (didn’t bring my knife!).
Turns out each gall has an individual wasp. The middle of the ball has a suspended encasement for the larva. You can see where the larva is in the photo of the dissected green gall–the larva is on the side I’m pointing to with a needle. I pulled out my trusty iPhone microscope, and amazingly was able to get (very shaky) video of the larva MOVING. Creeped me the hell out when I saw it.
Fun fact: when I first saw the wasp larva moving in the microscope, I actually screamed 👍
Amphibolips sp. – Wasp that produces galls on oak trees
Reposted July 14, 2019