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Oak Leaf Seed Galls Releasing Wasps

One of the most unusual looking insect galls, the Oak Leaf Seed Gall, is produced by a tiny gall wasp, Dryocosmus deciduus, on Black and Red Oaks. The leaves of these trees react to a wasp laying an egg on them by creating a unique swelling, or gall, around it. You can find clusters of up to 40 Oak Leaf Seed Galls at this time of year starting to burst open, releasing the adult wasps which have matured inside them.

Few records exist of galls, many of which are homes for developing young insects, being used as food for humans or for domestic animals but Oak Leaf Seed Galls, known as “black oak wheat” in Missouri and Arkansas, have been used to fatten cattle, sheep, pigs and chickens due to their high starch content.

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3 responses

  1. cassie george

    WOW, so cool. thank you mary

    September 19, 2022 at 8:28 am

  2. Alice

    The colors are so pretty in your unique photo. They look like pale stuffed olives. I’ll need to look up if those are mostly beneficial wasps. I wonder how enough galls were able to be collected to fatten animals….so the animals are then actually eating wasp larvae?

    September 19, 2022 at 9:53 am

  3. Viola

    Absolutely amazing. Never heard of this one before. Thanks, Mary

    September 19, 2022 at 11:41 am

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