Friday, April 24, 2015

Galling beauty

The wool sower gall grows on oak trees. A white pom pom with magenta spots, it's hard to miss, and harder to file under "parasitic wasp hatchery" because wait, it's kind of beautiful.

I'm just a little oak with my pom poms on. Let me root root root for the home team...
Wait. Now it's looking like a snowman murder mystery...
According to this source, these fluffy confections are nurseries for a parasitic wasp (Callirhytis seminator). The wasp lays her eggs on the host tree, the larvae hatch and secrete some wondrous stuff that creates a colorful cover that shelters their development. For more photos, go here.

There's always some neat surprise waiting to be discovered in the 'hood!