Sunday, 30 August 2015

Acorns and wasps

Our local meadow has a few oak trees in the middle and walking by them yesterday we noticed some of the acorns looked deformed - a lot of them in fact.  There is nothing quite as striking as a mature oak tree and I often use these trees as a means to break up the meadow when photographing it over the seasons so I was a bit concerned about these growths.  Back home and of course to the internet and it appears these are caused by oak gall wasps, or rather their larvae. Now nature is nature and all things are bright and beautiful but if there is one thing I dislike it is wasps, and if there is one thing I dislike more than wasps it is larvae (I can't bring myself to say the M word!) so I didn't want to hang around on the websites with photos in case I came across something that would put me off my dinner! However, I did find out that gall wasps have very complicated sex lives alternating years of asexual behaviour and they can reduce the crop of acorns which could have a knock on effect to the local  squirrels and jays, but in essence they don't damage the trees so hopefully these oaks will be there for many many years to come.

Acorns deformed by gall wasp larvae

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