Oak galls

Walking down the Almond Track to the huerta yesterday, I spotted not one but three different galls on separate oak trees. The first to catch my eye was the red alien spiky shape, when I walked slower and looked closer at the trees I found more. About the size of a Malteser, the red one is as shiny as freshly-painted red nail lacquer. The second one I found was the biggest, golf-ball sized and textured, it looks older, wrinkled, rougher. The third is the size of the first and the colour of the second. cherry-red gall on holm oak - on almond track 17-8-13It left me with many questions, so back home with a cup of coffee I perused our insect book. The female wasp, which I did not see, lays her eggs in the tissue of the tree which surrounds the egg with plant tissue which protects and nurtures it. golfball-sized galls on holm oak - on almond track 17-8-13So basically, it’s just another cuckoo! Another of nature’s parasites. oak gall on holm oak - on almond track 17-8-13There are 360 types of gall wasp or gall fly in Europe alone, 1300 worldwide. This is the first time I’ve seen galls here, so I don’t know how rare they are.  I have no idea which type of gall wasp chose our oak trees, or whether the three galls belong to the same type of wasp. Why is one red? Is it a reaction by the plant that makes the colour? It’s an aggressive, dangerous colour, though at first glance it looks like a squished berry. gall wasps - page from insect book 18-8-13
5 to remember
la agalla – gall
la avispa – wasp
el/la extraterrestre – alien
con puntas – spiky
la forma – shape
Insect book - cover 18-8-13

‘Insects, Spiders and Other Terrestrial Arthropods’ by Dorling Kindersley

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Gall wasps: mysterious… fascinating #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-wu

3 thoughts on “Oak galls

  1. Pingback: Gall wasp: hatched and flown away | Notes on a Spanish Valley

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