The Cynipid Gall Wasp (Neuroterus quercusbaccarum) is an insect in the Cynipidae family of gall wasps.
The Cynipid Gall Wasp is found throughout Europe, Asia, and North Africa in the Northern Hemisphere.
In June, the female wasp lays eggs on leaves, usually the underside. She produces a hormone – or the egg secretes a hormone – that stimulates the growth of Common Spangle Galls – red lumps – around the eggs.
The Common Spangle Galls are small, red nodules on the leaves. They look like redcurrants. They are disc-shaped, slightly hairy buds or projections. They begin yellowish and turn reddish later.
The galls are very small, about 6 millimetres (0.2 inches) long. There are about 80-100 galls on each leaf. Oak trees and roses are affected by the Common Spangle Gall.
The Cynipid Gall Wasp eggs hatch into larvae which feed on the galls and leaves as they grow to maturity. The larvae mature in August and September, when they detach from the leaves and fall to the ground. If they stay on the leaf, they will die. Even when the larvae fall to the ground and live among leaf litter, birds may eat them.
The larvae stay among the leaves on the ground over winter. They develop into adult Cynipid Gall Wasps and emerge in June, when they lay eggs and the cycle begins again.
Location of photographs: Paris, France
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM