Currently viewing the category: "Galls"

Subject: Pink Eggs?
Location: Northeast Florida, riverside
August 6, 2014 11:03 am
Hello there,
My kids and I were examining a bald cypress at a local park last week, checking out the neat cones and leaves, when we noticed many of these pink pods randomly distributed all over the leaves. I’ve searched far and wide, but haven’t figured out what they are. Are they even bug eggs? I only figured they were because no readings on cypress trees mention any growths like these, and they were so randomly placed.
Thank you so much!
Signature: Alana

Probably Galls on Cypress

Probably Galls on Cypress

Dear Alana,
Your request has been on our back burner for a few days while we have attempted an identification.  Though these are not theoretically insect eggs, we do believe they are Galls.  Galls are growths on plants that are often caused by insects (mainly Gall Wasps and certain types of Flies and Moths) or Mites, but sometimes they are caused by viruses or other means.  Galls can form on any part of the plant, but are most common on leaves and twigs, but roots, stems and other parts of plants are not exempt.  See Texas A&M AgriLIFE Extension for some general information on Galls.  Your Galls look nothing like the Cypress Twig Gall Midge pictured on Featured Creatures, but there are probably thousands of different types of Galls that are found on oak trees.
  Your Galls are also different from the Cypress Gall Midges pictured on BugGuide.  Perhaps one of our readers will have better luck identifying the Galls you found on the cypress in your park.

Subject: Iowa Gall found under Honey Locust
Location: Des Moines IA
July 31, 2014 5:10 pm
This morning I found this growth on the ground below a honey locust tree. It was under a suburban tree in the Grandview park area of Des Moines with no other trees very close.
I don’t take very good pictures, but the growths appear to underlie some sort of scaled leaves, as each is covered by a tissue with a midline, and there are scale-type structures further down the stem. The stem is woody and it appears some rodent has been gnawing at the base.
It weighs about an ounce and is roughly 6″ long, with 6-10 nodules the size of marbles.
Beyond my curiosity, I’d like to know if this is something we should be concerned about controlling in the trees around where I found it.
Thank you for your time. I can try for better pictures if you need or want them.
Signature: Ash

Seed Pod, we believe

Deformed Magnolia Seed Pod

Dear Ash,
We do not believe this is a Gall.  In our opinion, it is a Seed Pod.  You observation that it was gnawed by a rodent is further evidence that perhaps a squirrel transported it from another tree.  If you open it, we believe you will find seeds beneath what you have called the “nodules the size of marbles.”

I don’t want to disagree, but it is not at all symmetrical, and I’ve been familiar with the native brush and weeds for 50+ years. It might be viral. I’ve been an outdoors-woman and hunter all my life. I’m not saying I’ve seen everything, and I am still surprised but mostly it’s been insects I overlooked or invasive species.
I have asked the state entomologist and agronomist and will let you know what they say. If it were a normal plant structure, I would anticipate more symmetry. Also squirrels are almost as opportunistic as rats.
I’ll pass on their feedback.
Thanks for your time!

Please let us know what you learn.

Update:  Deformed Magnolia Seed Pod
Please see this deformed Magnolia Seed Pod on the Missouri Botanical Garden website where it states:  “This magnolia seed pod is deformed due to poor pollination

Very cool! We do have several magnolia species in the area. The scaled structure is very close. I’ll read more, but that looks like a win.

Subject: Eggs
Location: Arlington, Texas
May 24, 2014 9:56 am
I took these pic at a nature preserve in Arlington, Texas on May 23rd. My daughter REALLY wants to know what they are – it was her sharp eagle eye that spotted them. Hope the pics are clear enough. We plan or returning frequently to watch what happens with these eggs. Thank you!
Signature: Mary Sarabia

Elm Leaf Galls

Elm Leaf Galls

Hi Mary,
These are not eggs, but Galls.  Galls are growths on plants, and they may occur on leaves, stems, buds, roots and many places on plants.  Galls may be caused by Gall producing insects including wasps, flies and moths, or they may be caused by other arthropods like Mites, or they may be caused by viruses or injuries.  According to BugGuide:  “Gall insects (and mites) are usually highly specific about what kind of plants they use, and even what part of the plant. To maximize your chances of getting a gall identified, record the plant species (include photos of the leaves, flowers, fruits, etc. if you’re not sure), and if it’s a leaf gall, note the position on the leaf (if it’s not obvious from the photo): upper side or underside; midrib, side vein, or somewhere else. Also note whether or not the gall is detachable, the size of the gall, and anything else distinctive about it that may not be clear in the photo. With oaks in particular, which are hosts for hundreds of kinds of galls, every little detail can help to narrow down the options.”
  It appears that the affected plant in your image is an Elm, and we tried to research Elm Galls, but we could not find an exact match to your Galls.  The University of Minnesota has some examples of Elm Galls, but none look like your example.  Generally, the Galls do not harm the plant.  When Galls are the result of Insects, and Insect Galls do tend to be the most common Galls, it is generally produced in the larval form.  When the egg hatches, the larva releases a substance that causes the Gall to form, and then the larva feeds off the developing Gall.  Oak Galls are the most common and Wasps in the family Cynipidae are the most common Gall producers.

Wow!   Daniel!   Thank you so much for all of the information!   I had,  in fact,  decided that they were galls.   I found photos that appear to be exactly the same,  but they are all on oak leaves.   I plan to hike back out there today.   I will take more pictures with the provided guidelines.   The look-alike galls on the oak leaves were identified as “cynipid wasp” and “callirhytis”.   Would you like me to send further photos?
Thank you so much for your help!
Mary Sarabia

Hi Mary,
The closest visual match we were able to find were also Oak Leaf Galls and the Spiny Rose Gall, and we eliminated them because Gall Wasps are so specific about the host plants.  Any follow up photos that are significantly different than the ones you have submitted can be added to the posting.  Please submit any images of different Galls using a new submission form.

Subject: What sort of gall is this?
Location: Northeast Tennessee
March 28, 2014 7:47 pm
I found this gall on what I believe to be a small oak tree in my backyard. I’m not very familiar with the various types of galls, but I know that they can be caused by wasp larvae or fungi. I’m curious to know the origin of this one.
Signature: Erin

Eastern Oak Bullet Gall

Eastern Oak Bullet Gall

Dear Erin,
We believe this is an Eastern Oak Bullet Gall, which we found pictured on the Henderson State University Plant Gall Page.  It is described as:  “smooth, spherical galls approximately 1/2 inch in diameter produced by a wasp of the genus
Disholcaspis. These galls are very hard because they form from the tough, woody tissues of twigs.”  According to BugGuide, the species Disholcaspis quercusglobulus:  “Forms round, detachable twig galls, 8-15 mm in diameter, singly or in small clusters, on white oak (Quercus alba).”

Subject: Egg Case?
Location: Gainesville, Georgia
March 4, 2014 9:12 am
One of my students found this on an evergreen tree in his yard. It is approx. 1 inch long. Is this an egg case or a part of the tree?
Signature: K. Baer


Cedar Apple Rust Gall

Dear K. Baer,
This is a Gall, which is a generic name for a growth on a plant.  Many are caused by insects, mites and other “bugs” but this is a Cedar Apple Rust Gall in its dormant state and it is a fungus.  Here is what the Missouri Botanical Garden website states:  “Symptoms on juniper: Brown, perennial galls form on twigs. When mature (usually in two years), the galls swell and repeatedly produce orange, gelatinous telial horns during rainy spring weather. The galls of cedar-apple rust are often over 2 inches in diameter, while cedar-hawthorn rust galls are rarely over 2 inches in diameter. Occasionally the twig beyond the gall dies, but usually no significant damage occurs on the juniper host.”
  The University of Missouri Extension website has more images and information.

Subject: What are these spots?
Location: Red Creek, NY
September 19, 2013 12:34 pm
Every fall we see these funny looking things on our oak tree leaves. Our class would love to know what these things are. Would you be able to help us figure this out? We are not sure if it is an insects eggs , fungus or what they are? Thank you Red Creek ABCD Preschool class.
Signature: ABCD Preschool

Galls on Oak Leaves

Galls on Oak Leaves

Dear ABCD Preschool,
These are Galls, which the University of Minnesota Extension website defines as:  “abnormal plant growths caused by various organisms (insects, mites, nematodes, fungi, bacteria, and viruses). ”  There is great diversity among Oak Leaf Galls which you may see on the Missouri Botanical Garden website.  Many Oak Leaf Galls are caused by tiny Wasps in the family Cynipidae, and the images you supplied look somewhat like the photos posted to BugGuide of Galls produced by the Gall Wasp 
Callirhytis furva.  The Gall is produced on the leaf and the larva remains inside the Gall, feeding on the growth which does not harm the tree.  While we can’t say for certain we have identified the species correctly, we are relatively certain the Galls in your photo were produced by a Gall Wasp in the family Cynipidae, a group of insects studied extensively by Alfred Kinsey before he turned his research to Human Sexuality in the mid twentieth century, however that might be too much information to provide for your preschool children.

Oak Leaf Galls

Oak Leaf Galls

Thank you so much for your help!! My one little student has asked me to check for your reply all morning! As soon as he is awakes from his nap I will share this with him 🙂

Hello I am sorry to bother you again. My student, Emanuel keeps asking what you look like. Would you be so kind as to send him a picture? He is over joyed that you answered his question!
Thanks ABCD Preschool

Daniel, who responds to all the questions posted on What’s That Bug? has a photo posted on The Bugman of Mount Washington link.

Ok thank you so much! I will show Emanuel Monday morning!