Gall Dwelling Insects – Our Winter Study

Galls

Our gall study has been going on for several months now and we have gathered quite a few different kinds of galls during our hikes. Some of the galls are really small but once we know what we are looking for we can look for the signs on the oaks. During the winter, the galls are more noticeable because there are far less leaves to deal with. Our local forest is a mix of evergreen and deciduous oaks so we still have plenty of leaves to check but not as many as the middle of summer.

I think the key to finding galls is to know what you are looking for. Check the links in the original challenge if you have any trouble getting started.

The California Gall Wasp is only 1/8″ to 1/4″ in size…far too small to probably ever be recognized or identified but we do know what their gall looks like. It is the big gall in the top image and you can clearly see the exit holes. Fascinating stuff.

Gall Study

We took time to observe the smaller galls under our microscope. It truly is a completely different world under the lens of a microscope. Amazing…even a hand lens will open that world up.

Oak Leaf Gall

There is so much to learn about this topic, reaching into insect study and tree study.

Gall Notebook Page 2
Mr. B finished up his gall study with a notebook page for his nature journal. We used the links in the challenge and our insect field guide. That is something that wasn’t mentioned in the original challenge. We look up “wasps” in the back and found the listing for gall wasps (which are in the family Cynipidae). We read how there are 150 species of wasps that make galls on California oaks! That is exactly why I feel like we have only scratched the surface of this topic.

Let me know if you have any trouble getting started on this challenge or if you need some help finding information once you do find something you think is a gall. I will do my best to help.

More Nature Study #2 button

Comments

  1. We have really enjoyed this new topic to us. I had a friend txt me this week and say “Don’t think I don’t listen to you – I’m on my deck looking at Gall’s on my Shore Pines”. Love sharing discoveries!! I think I know a park that might have an Oak Tree nearby, we’re still on the lookout for wasp Galls!

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