July 9th – I’m always interested in insect galls as regular readers will know and one of the most interesting in the UK is the robins pincushion gall, which affects wild and dog roses.
Forming the same way as oak galls – from a wasp injecting eggs into a plant bud which are coated in a plant DNA corrupting substance – pincushion galls are brightly coloured and made up of a solid nodule up to a inch or so diameter, covered in hairy spines, which if you look closely are miniature facsimiles of rose stalks, thorns and all.
Numerous larvae hatch in chambers within the gall, eating their way out as they mature.
This year on a rose where last year’s dead remains of a pincushion gall can be seen complete with cavities where the wasps emerged, there are two new ones growing about 12 inches further up the branch.
And so the lifecycle of a tiny but fascinating insect continues.
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