Saturday, June 19, 2021

Galling!


These incredibly bold blotches on a red maple leaf turned me into a sleuth - what were they? What had made them? They look like eyes staring at me!




Turns out it's from the Maple Eyespot Gall Midge, a mosquito-like fly that lays its eggs exclusively in red maple leaves. The larvae (maggots) feed on the leaf tissue, secreting a hormone-like substance that causes the pigment around each gall to change color. 



They then drop to the ground, where they pupate and emerge as adults the following spring, to fly around, mate and lay more eggs. It spends a lot of its life in the ground, metamorphosing.

I love investigating!

6 comments:

Wendy said...

Pretty cool. Thanks for doing the sleuth work so we can sit back and learn!

Shelley Burbank said...

Neat! Nature has a lot more drama than we realize. I was just listening to a book podcast about how trees communicate, compete, and collaborate.

Deb said...

I love figuring things out! Glad you get something out of it too.

Deb said...

Was it Robin Wall Kimmerer on the podcast, Shelley? There's so much about nature we don't yet know ...

Lucy Schultz said...

Wow! so very cool and colorful.

Deb said...

Indeed, Lucy - how have I never noticed them before?