A very confusing photo of some stem galls on a young (about 1m high) Yellow Box, one branch of which was almost completely covered in galls. The red is obviously a gall, but the green blades that look like leaves are parts of another type of gall. Of course there are the usual attending ants, but then if you look closer there are orange dots which are perhaps eggs of some kind, and what look like early stage Hemiptera nymphs. Are these nymphs associated with the gall in same way, and if so how? If they are a gall forming species shouldn't they emerge as adults? Wish I had the equipment to be able to watch what is going on for a few days.
Greenvale VIC 3059, Australia
"Interesting. I wonder if the eggs/bugs are just feeding/sheltering between the galls caused by a wasp, mite etc.?"
"I am no expert on galls but the galls both green and the cylindrical purple ones might be made by the gall-inducing scale insect Apiomorpha. The species, probably in your spotting, have male galls (purple ones) growing on female galls (green blade-like growths). I hope an expert has a look at this -very interesting indeed ! I will send you a link which illustrates what I am trying to say. The nymphs are plant hopper nymphs, and to my knowledge they do not induce galls. Not sure about the yellow eggs-look like psyllid eggs."
"I had not heard of female galls growning on male galls. I went back and had another look. The galls are all still there although the red ones look different now. For the particular gall I photographed before I cannot tell what is growing on what, but I found some red galls that were definatately growing on the green horned galls, and others that appeared to be growing directly from the stem. I have added photos of each. The greened horned galls are more common than the red ones."
"Note that the yellow spots are still there, so perhaps they are not eggs. Another interesting thing I forgot to mention is that there are lots of young yellow box in this area but I have not seen the red galls anywhere except on this tree. The green horned ones I have seen before although not common."
"The horned ones are Apiomorpha munita. As I mentioned, the male galls of the species grow on female galls. Dr Lyn Cook is the expert - hope she gets to see this."
"wow, an actual species id. thanks."
"Apiomorpha munita added."
"Looked up a few web pages and it is actually Apiomorpha munita tereticornuta. The other subspecies does not occur on Eucalyptus meliodora."
"Apiomorpha munita infrasp. tereticornuta added (AFD/ALA has it as infrasp., not subsp. I'm not sure of the difference."
"I am certainly no expert on scientific naming, but if you believe wikipedia then ALA is wrong on two counts. First, infrasp. (and subsp. for that matter) applies to plants and apiomorpha is not a plant. Secondly the term infrasp. should not be part of a name, it is a collective term for the ranks below species level, ie subspecies, variety etc. But maybe galls are a special case - the gall forms are different, but does this imply different subspecies of the insect?"
"I understand you are trying to match the ala database, but are you sure there is not an error in their database? If you look at classification under Apiomorpha munita it definitely shows three subspecies. The only place the infrasp. appears is if you look at the classification tab for the subspecies. Australian faunal directory also shows three subspecies."
"Yes, I see that AFD shows it as subspecies. Apiomorpha munita tereticornuta now added to database."
|Date-Time From Camera||Yes|
|Photo Geo-Tag Used||Yes|
|Created||2017-11-29 by triplett|
|Updated||2018-01-04 by triplett|
|Photo(s) License||Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia Licence|
|Document License||Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia Licence|