These tiny wasps have a wonderful trick: they prompt oak trees to grow galls, abnormal plant tissue structures that shelter wasp eggs, by injecting a chemical under the tree’s skin.
If that was the end of the story it would already be an incredible feat of nature, but perhaps what’s more incredible is the diversity of growths themselves: lumps, warts, balls, knobs, tubes, cones, disks, and other unexpected shapes. Furry, fuzzy, rough, scaly, brittle, wrinkly, pink, brown, yellow… the descriptions go on and on. There’s even a name for the study of plant galls: cecidology.
Check out some examples in this episode of Deep Look: The Crazy Cribs of Parasitic Wasps. Are there any galls in your neighborhood? If you find some, tweet us a photo!
Related watching: more Deep Look and a few more wasp videos.