The Citizens' Voice - - WildLife -

Knock, knock, yes some­one is home, snug in this goldenrod gall ball. A gall is an ab­nor­mal out­growths of plant tis­sue caused by par­a­sites, in­sects or mites.

A fruit fly causes this par­tic­u­lar gall. Each gall con­tains a sin­gle plump larva, which over­win­ters in­side the gall.

The quar­ter-inch-long larva slows its metabolism and uti­lizes glyc­erol as an an­tifreeze. If undis­turbed by preda­tors, the larva tun­nels to just short of the sur­face, goes back to the cham­ber to form a pupa, and emerges in a few weeks as an adult fly able to pop through the thin-walled port­hole, clearly vis­i­ble in the photo.

Af­ter all this, the adult goldenrod gall flies do not eat and last only about 10 days, liv­ing only to mate and pro­duce a new gen­er­a­tion of gall-caus­ing young.

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