urbpan: (dandelion)
[personal profile] urbpan
 photo IMGP3623_zpsflg8ywqh.jpg
Every growth, marking, bump, or blemish on a plant was made by something, and surprisingly often the cause can be closely traced to a particular animal. I could see from a distance that these hickory leaves had orangish spots on their underside.

 photo IMGP3622_zpsspjkkcig.jpg
On close examination the spots were furry balls! These little growths are galls that have grown around insect eggs, in a weird bit of mostly harmless and stunningly common parasitization.

 photo IMGP3618_zpsjcssqize.jpg
These orange tribbles hide and protect the larvae of the hickory gall midge (Caryomyia sp.). The creature inside is a helpless pinpoint of a maggot that will grow into a fly so small that it would otherwise go completely unnoticed by humans.
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