Tag Archives: defense

Beech blight aphids attacking spider

Here’s a spider being attacked by beech blight aphids (Grylloprociphilus imbricator). The spider eventually dropped off the tree trunk onto the forest floor and crawled away, twitching slightly. This is a known defensive behavior of the aphids, but I’d never seen it before. Apparently the stylets are sharp enough to puncture human skin, too. Wish I’d managed to get better photographs, of course.

Beech blight aphid (Grylloprociphilus imbricator) attacking a spider

Clayton Park, Monmouth County, New Jersey, United States.

Apple oak gall

Apple oak gall (Amphibolips confluenta or Amphibolips quercusinanis), backlit to show leaf-like venation. Second photograph is a cross section showing where the wasp larva develops. I’d love to know what the spotting does, if anything.

Colin Purrington Photography: Insects &emdash; Backlit oak apple gall (Amphibolips sp.)

Colin Purrington Photography: Insects &emdash; Backlit cross section of an apple oak gall (Amphibolips sp.)

Cynipid wasps love oaks for some reason — over 3/4 of the 1300 species use Quercus as host. People argue about why that’s the case (e.g., Ronquist et al. 2015). Even Alfred Kinsey the sexologist weighed in, back in the days when he was obsessed with gall wasps.