A Few Michigan Galls

Gall are formed by insects laying eggs or feeding on a plant. In response to this damage the plants produces growth hormones resulting in abnormal cell development. Galls normally occur during the plant’s most active growth time. Other parts of the plant remain unaffected.

Liposthenes glechomae

Creeping Charlie Gall on Ground Ivy

Creeping Charlie Gall (Liposthenes glechomae) is a grape-size gall that develops on Ground Ivy (Glechoma hederacea) which is also called Creeping Charlie or Gill-over-the-ground. The gall is formed when a cynipid wasp lays an egg in the leaf or stem of the plant. If you cut one of these galls open you will find a small white larvae. Cynipid refers to all members in the insect family Cynipidae. The wasp does no real harm to the plant so it cannot be used to control Creeping Charlie. Both the wasp and the weed are imported from Europe.

Acraspis erinacei

Hedgehog Gall on White Oak

Another Cynipid wasp gall is caused by the Hedgehog Gall Wasp ( Acraspis erinacei ). It was on a White Oak (Quercus alba) leaf. This is the agamic generation (they reproduce without males). The female generation emerges from this gall and lays her eggs in the leaf buds where they over winter. It is an interesting looking dime-sized gall.

Macrodiplosis quercusoruca

Vein Pocket Gall on Red Oak

The Vein Pocket Gall (Macrodiplosis quercusoruca) is caused by a larval stage of a gall midge in the family Cecidomyiidae. This gall was on Red Oak (Quercus rubra).

Melaphis rhois

Sumac Gall on Staghorn Sumac

Sumac Gall Aphid (Melaphis rhois) is one of the few aphids that cause galls to form. This one was on Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina). Staghorn Sumac Aphid is one of the woolly aphids. The galls are hollow and occur along the leaves.
Copyright 2016 by Donald Drife

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Monarch Resources

Milkweed Talk Title Slide

Milkweed Community Title Slide showing clockwise from upper left–Great Spangled Fritillary, Black-sided Pygmy Grasshopper, Monarch, Red-Blue Checkered Beetle


The Milkweed plant community is a fascinating place to just stand around in and watch what comes by. I have a talk “The Milkweed Community: More Than Monarchs (but Monarchs are cool!) on the many members of this community and the following are resources mentioned in that talk.

Websites about Monarch Butterflies

Monarch Watch has a helpful guide for identifying, and growing milkweeds. They also have information on Monarch conservation, biology, and different research projects including their Monarch tagging project.

The National Wildlife Federation’s Monarch Butterfly page is a good source of general Monarch information.

The University of Minnesota hosts Monarch Lab which has general information including great life-cycle information.

“Monarchs (Danaus plexippus) and milkweeds (Asclepias species): The current situation and methods for propagating milkweeds” by Tara Luna and R. Kasten Dumroese. This publication explains the international program underway to conserve populations of Monarchs. It describes the migration of the butterfly and also has information on propagating Milkweed.

Monarch Butterfly Journey North has general information but also tracks the population size and migration of Monarchs

Watch for tagged Monarchs

Watch for tagged Monarchs

Websites for Identifying Members of the Milkweed Community

Bug Guide is a site for “Identification, Images, & Information For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin For the United States & Canada.” The Iowa State University Department of Entomology provides this great resource. This is the first site I look at when I identify an insect.

The Herbarium of the University of Michigan provides the Michigan Flora Homepage with keys, range maps and photos of all flowering plants and ferns known in the wild in Michigan.

This site is dedicated to the conservation and identification of Bumble Bees. They have helpful drawings of the color patterns of different Bumble Bee species.

Author in a stand of Common Milkweed

Author in a stand of Common Milkweed

Books for Identifying Members of the Milkweed Community

Jason Gibbs, Ahsley Bennett, Rufus Isaacs and Joy Landis. 2015. Bees of the Great Lakes Region and Wildflowers to Support Them: A guide for farmers, gardeners and landscapers. Michigan State University Extension Bulletin E3282. (An excellent and inexpensive guide to Michigan’s bees. My review can be found here.)

Jeffrey Hahn. 2009. Insects of the North Woods. Kollath+Stensaas. The entire North Woods series is excellent and useful for the entire state of Michigan. (see Larry Weber’s book cited below)

Mogens C. Nielsen. 1999. Michigan Butterflies & Skippers. Michigan State University Extension Bulletin E-2675.

Ba Rea, Karen  Oberhauser and Michael A. Quinn. 2010. Milkweeds, Monarchs and More: A Field Guide to the Invertebrate Community in the Milkweed Patch (Second Edition). Bas Relief, LLC. This 80 page book is a great guide for the beginner and it would make a good student field guide for classroom use.

Larry Weber. 2013. Spiders of the North Woods. (Second Edition). Kollath+Stensaas.

Paul Williams, Robin Thorp, Leif Richardson and Sheila Colla. 2014. An Identification Guide: Bumble Bees of North America. Princeton University Press.

Copyright 2016 by Donald Drife

Webpage Michigan Nature Guy
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