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The Kid Should See This

The incredible gall(s) of parasitic wasps

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Tiny gall wasps have a wonderful trick: they prompt oak trees to grow galls, a collection of abnormal plant tissue structures that shelter wasp eggs. These different species all create protective casings 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 from these wasps’ creations: lumps, warts, balls, knobs, tubes, cones, disks, and other unexpected shapes.

The name for the study of plant galls is cecidology, and the descriptions go on and on… furry, fuzzy, rough, scaly, brittle, wrinkly, pink, brown, yellow. There are examples in this Deep Look episode about parasitic wasps.

red cone gall wasp
two horned gall wasp
Are there any galls in your neighborhood? If you find some, share a photo with TKSST.

Related watching: more Deep Look and a few more wasp videos.


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