Checking out the “Reverend Mother” tree, 07-31-20

I got up around 5:30 this morning and after giving Esteban his breakfast and letting him out for potty, I headed over to the William B. Pond Park along the American River to do a kind of recon on the galls there.

There are several oak trees on the manicured lawn that often provide an abundance of specimens, and then, of course, there’s what I call the “Reverend Mother” tree: a particular Valley Oak that I go to every year.  It sits at an intersection of different parts of the trail near the river, and sports a wide variety of galls throughout the late summer.  I wanted to see what was out there before I brought my friend Roxanne over there on a gall hunt; to make sure that there was something there to see.

The galls are still just starting to emerge, but I did see several different species, including a beautiful Rosette gall (on the Reverend Mother tree). 

Rosette Oak Gall Wasp, Andricus wiltzae

There were also a couple of oak apple galls that were oozing black goo.  I cut one open and found the wasp larva inside, but couldn’t see any indication of other insect that was causing the rot. So, I figured they had some kind of fungal infection.  I couldn’t find any information on that in my research yet, though, so I’m not sure.

The honeydew galls aren’t big enough or engorged enough to start dripping, but I did see some Yellow Jackets hanging around the tree, looking for them.

CLICK HERE for the full album pf photos.

While I was checking out some Round Galls, I saw a tiny red nymph, shaped kind of like a cigar, with black coloring at both ends.  I was surprised that it was relatively easy to figure out it was the nymph of some kind of Tube-Tailed Trip.  (Thank you,  But I’m still not seeing the number of insects I’d expect to find in the summer by the water.  I only saw one damselfly, some kind of Dancer.

Oddly enough, I didn’t see or hear many birds along the river, either, but I did come across some California Quail and a Bewick’s Wren. 

I walked for about 3 hours and then headed back home.

Seeing with a naturalist’s eye: so much life among the leaves.

Species List:

  1. Asian Ladybeetle, Harmonia axyridis
  2. Assassin Bug, Zelus sp. [eggs]
  3. Bewick’s Wren, Thryomanes bewickii
  4. California Quail, Callipepla californica
  5. California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
  6. California Wild Grape, Vitis californica
  7. California Wild Rose, Rosa californica
  8. Coast Live Oak, Quercus agrifolia
  9. Common Green Lacewing, Chrysoperla carnea
  10. Convoluted Gall Wasp, Andricus confertus
  11. Dancer Damselfly, Unidentified, Argia sp.
  12. Disc Gall Wasp, Andricus parmula [round flat, “spangle gall”]
  13. Flat-Topped Honeydew Gall Wasp, Disholcaspis eldoradensis
  14. Fremont’s Cottonwood, Populus fremontii
  15. Fuzzy Gall Wasp galls, Disholcaspis washingtonensi [round faintly fuzzy galls on stems]
  16. Gall-Like Scale, Allokermes rattani [striped ball]
  17. Himalayan Blackberry, Rubus  bifrons [white flowers]
  18. Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
  19. Irregular Spindle Gall Wasp, Andricus chrysolepidicola
  20. Jumping Oak Gall Wasp, Neuroterus saltatorius
  21. Liquid Ambar, American Sweetgum, Liquidambar styraciflua
  22. Live Oak Erineum Mite gall, Aceria mackiei
  23. Live Oak Gall Wasp, 1st Generation, Callirhytis quercuspomiformis
  24. Non-Biting Midge, Chironomus sp.
  25. Oak Apple Gall Wasp, Andricus quercuscalifornicus
  26. Red Cone Gall Wasp, Andricus kingi
  27. Ribbed Cocoon-Maker Moth, Bucculatrix albertiella [cocoon]
  28. Rosette Oak Gall Wasp, Andricus wiltzae
  29. Round Gall Wasp, Cynpis conspicuus [round gall near base of leaf on Valley Oaks, formerly Besbicus conspicuus]
  30. Ruptured Twig Gall Wasp, Callirhytis perdens
  31. Sheet Weaver Spiders, Family: Linyphiidae
  32. Silver Wattle, Acacia dealbata
  33. Solitary Oak Leaf Miner Moth, Cameraria hamadryadella [tracks on leaves]
  34. Spiny Turban Gall Wasp, Antron douglasii
  35. Tube-Tailed Trip, Family: Phlaeothripidae [red nymph]
  36. Two-Horned Gall Wasp, Dryocosmus dubiosus
  37. Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
  38. Western Fence Lizard, Blue Belly, Sceloporus occidentalis
  39. Western Tussock Moth, Orgyia vetusta [cocoon]
  40. Woolly Oak Aphid, Stegophylla brevirostris (lots of white fluff & honeydew)
  41. Yellow Wig Gall Wasp, Andricus fullawayi