Sunday, April 24, 2016

Some kind of wonder gall

Photo by Marty Horowitz 3/30/2016

On another morning filled with wonder, Lyn pointed out galls that look like lumpy caterpillars covering the Four-wing Saltbush (Atriplex canescens) above the dam by the creek. The more we looked, the more we found. 

Photo (c) Gene Spesard 

Using a protective hand mitt (normally used to pick up trash) (thanks, Gayle), a highly trained naturalist broke open one of the galls for some CSI (Critter Scene Investigation). Note the exit paths in the pieces. 

Fred "Bug Man" Heath did some digging. He writes: 

I'm certain that the stem gall is made by a midge (a fly thus Order Diptera) and further that it is in the Family Cecidomyiidae (Gall Midges). I am not sure but think it may be in the genus Asphondylia - of which there are 100s of species including a number that use saltbush as a host plant.

How about that?

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