Friday, April 30, 2010

Odd Galls

  The other day while doing a trail hike with a group of children we discovered an unusual red, velvet-like group of masses on the leaves of a young oak tree. Not sure what insect created them, but most likely a midge. After breaking open one of the galls I discovered tiny white worms inside.I kept them, and hopefully will get to see what they turn into.

   For all appearances it looks as if these leaves burst into flames. I assure you though this is not the case, these odd protrusions are the results of a tiny mite. These are most commonly found on Black Cherry trees.  They are called "fingergalls" which is an apt name for these digit-like formations. They do not appear to cause any damage to the Cherry trees at all. It is a good thing too, because almost every cherry tree on our farm is covered with them.

These tiny nodules growing on this leaf are probably the galls from another type of midge. I was unable to find much on this type of gall.

If unusual tracks, or signs left by insects fascinate you, then you will love a new book that came out this year called "Tracks and Signs of Insects & Other Invertebrates" by: Charley Eiseman and Noah Charney. It is available through for around $30.00. Click on this link to order now Insect Tracks & Signs


  1. I've been walking around in the Kansas woods noticing other varieties of galls too. Oh my, there was one poor baby oak tree all covered with big white cottony gall-y-somethings. This book sounds like a good one. Thanks for the heads up :-)

  2. I have always been fascinated by galls...whether they are insect created or created by some weird fungus. They come in so many shapes, sizes and colors. Their life history is interesting. I ordered this book several weeks ago and absolutely love it, there is a lot of valuable information in it. Did you take a picture of the white cottony galls? I'd love to see it if you did.

  3. When you say "this book" do you mean the one above? If so, have you seen the California Natural History Guides (University of California Press) "Field Guide to Plant Galls of California and Other Western States" by Ron Russo? I know it's not your part of the world, but it's a-MA-zing. Bought it a few months ago. SO many great photographs of everything you can be a total non-expert and figure stuff out. Over 300 species of plant galls.

  4. Yea the book I mean is the one pictured here. It is an excellent resource. I have not heard of the one you are referring to, but I will check it out, I am always on the hunt for new books. It is an addiction, but I guess there are worse things right?