Galls, Galls, and Galls, 08-18-19

I headed out to William Pond Park on the American River around 6:00 am to check out my go-to oak tree and look for galls.  I like that one particular Valley Oak because it seems to have a wide variety of galls on it every summer.  I think the relatively mild summer this year has delayed when a lot of the wasps from making up and laying their eggs on the tree, but I was still able to find quite a few different species: Red Cone, Convoluted, Yellow Wig, Jumping Galls, Disk Galls, Oak Apples, Spiny Turbans, Flat-Topped Honeydew Galls, Round Galls (yeah, that’s really their name), Live Oak galls (1st generation), Pumpkin Galls, Fuzzy Galls, Club Galls… I was pleased with the variety.

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

 There were also more Valley Oaks, some Interior Live Oaks, and what I think were Coast Live Oaks (based on their leaves) in the park that had galls on them.  On one of the Coast Live Oaks, I found a gall that didn’t look at all familiar to me.  I tried looking it up when I got home but couldn’t see a photographic reference for it.  I thought it might be a form of Two-Horned gall (without any horns) but it just doesn’t look or feel like that, really. So, I’ll need to do more research on it. 

I also found some gall-affected acorns: black and oozy.  I took one o them home to open it up and try to see what might be inside of it, but my photographic equipment isn’t really good enough to see much.  Still, I think the “exercise” of looking is a good thing.  It trains my eye to see more tiny details.

The Flat-Topped Honeydew Galls weren’t very big yet, but they were already exuding so much honeydew that they made parts of the branches and leaves very sticky.  So sticky, in fact, that I had to take a break and walk down to the river to wash my hands.

Gall of the Flat-Topped Honeydew Gall Wasp, Disholcaspis eldoradensis, oozing honeydew

Along the edge of the river there were a lot of stupid people with their unleashed dogs, letting the dogs run into the water… which is running really cold and fast right now.  They’re lucky none of the dogs were swept away.

Along the paved bike trails there were quite a few people on those Elliptical Stepper Scooter Bike thingies. They’re like big scooters but instead of propelling them with your feet, you stand on the steps and pump them.  You get the same leg action you’d get with a bike, but you’re standing up instead of sitting down.  They’re really kind of cool-looking, but to get a good one you have to spend between $800 and $1200.  Sheesh!

 I also found lots of Green Lacewing eggs and several Assassin Bug egg cases on the go-to tree, including some eggs cases that had tiny newly hatched nymphs next to them. The nymphs were so pale and so small—like “air bugs” — it was hard to see them…until they scrambled up on my fingers. Luckily, I’ve never been bitten by an Assassin Bug, and the babies pretty much just left me alone after I returned them to their leaf.

Egg case and nymphs of an Assassin Bug, Zelus luridus

I walked for about 3 hours and then headed home. 


1. Assassin Bug, Zelus luridus
2. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
3. Chicory, Cichorium intybus
4. Club Gall Wasp, Xanthoteras clavuloides
5. Coast Live Oak, Quercus agrifolia
6. Common Green Lacewing, Chrysoperla carnea
7. Convoluted Gall Wasp, Andricus confertus
8. Disc Gall Wasp, Andricus parmula
9. Flat-Topped Honeydew Gall Wasp, Disholcaspis eldoradensis
10. Fuzzy Gall Wasp, Disholcaspis washingtonensis
11. Giant Fennel, Ferula communis
12. Himalayan Blackberry, Rubus armeniacus
13. House Wren, Troglodytes aedon
14. Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
15. Jumping Oak Galls, Neuroterus saltatorius
16. Live Oak Gall Wasp, 1st Generation, Callirhytis quercuspomiformis
17. Oak Apple Gall Wasp, Andricus quercuscalifornicus
18. Pumpkin Gall Wasp, Dryocosmus minusculus
19. Red Cone Gall Wasp, Andricus kingi
20. Round Gall Wasp, Besbicus conspicuous
21. Silver Wattle, Acacia dealbata
22. Spiny Turban Gall Wasp, Antron douglasii
23. Tree of Heaven, Ailanthus altissima
24. Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
25. Variegated Meadowhawk Dragonfly, Sympetrum corruptum
26. Yellow Wig Gall Wasp, Andricus fullawayi
27. Ribbed Cocoon-Maker Moth, Bucculatrix albertiella

A 3-hour walk