Finding Oak Galls
Have you seen these before?
There is a long stretch of bike trail on my walking route where there is not much to look at except cars and scraggly woods with pines and small oaks. The other day something caught my eye. From a distance it looked like a sycamore tree fruit. I stopped to have a look. It was an oak and the bulb looked like part of the small tree but I suspected it had something to do with insects. I took some pictures of it and of some others I found and once home turned to Google.
I love nature and I love the Internet!
They are insect related. They are called galls and certain insects manipulate trees with chemicals to produce them. The insect takes advantage of the fast growth season to begin the manipulation process. It lays eggs in the tree then chemicals from the insect or the eggs begin to alter the genetics of the tree. The gall then grows and provides shelter and food for the larva. These insects are such good manipulators that their resulting gall looks unique to their specie. The trees are really good sports about the whole thing! The ones I found look old and dried out. On one of my pictures you can see an exit hole for the insects. Since it’s spring new ones are probably forming. Why now join me in looking for them!
Galls are even victims of burglaries. Here David Attenborough explains…