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I didn't know what to make of this spotting so I contacted the Queensland Museum and asked for help to identify it. It's a bizarre and creepy looking thing, and enough to make any trypophobe squirm. Anyway, this is the museum's response........ Dear Neil, the object is a gall. These are strange growths created when an insect establishes itself inside plant tissue and enforces unusual, and distinctive growth patterns in the plant to accommodate the insect's requirements. The shape and form of the gall is specific to different insects. See the following link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apiomorpha... We have had an expert examine your photos, and her reply is inserted below........ It is 'Apiomorpha rosaeformis', an uncommon species found along eastern Australia. The adult female scale insect lives in the small, tubular gall attached to the eucalypt leaf, and her sons form the "insect nest" of smaller tube galls to form a compound gall on the outside of their mother's gall. The males stay in their individual galls until they pupate into adults, emerge from their galls and look for other females to mate with before they die about 24-48 h later. The galls look fairly old, and I cannot see evidence of any males still in any of the tube galls in the images.
Toohey Forest is a eucalyptus woodland reserve of approximately 655 hectares. The forest is situated within an urban area on the south side of Brisbane, within the city limits. This spotting was along the Nathan Ridge Track, and I found this object directly beneath a small group of melaleuca trees (paperbarks) and surrounding eucalypt natives.
Apiomorpha is a genus of scale insect that induces galls on species of Eucalyptus. It's unknown to me if there is any species preference, but no doubt the relationship between insect and tree is very one-sided. Some general information on gall-inducing insects - http://oneminutebugs.com.au/?p=366 Lyn Cook (Apiomorpha) - http://www.lyncook.org/Lyn_Cook/Apiomorp... (Apiomorpha rosaeformis) - http://scalenet.info/catalogue/Apiomorph... Galls of Victoria - https://natureshare.org.au/collections/g...
Spotted on Jun 30, 2019
Submitted on Jun 30, 2019
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