Standish, 13 September 2012

A naturalist never need go 20 yards beyond their front door to find subjects of wonder.

Today, in my garden I wasted plenty of time enjoying the insects on the ivy bush that is currently in full bloom, with flies, hoverflies, bees, and butterflies such as Red Admiral and Comma.

Comma on ivy

The leaves on one of the hawthorn bushes in the hedge were curling tightly under at the edge. Checking in Redfern and Shirley’s book British Plant Galls the likely culprit seemed to be the mite Phyllocoptes goniothorax. There were thick discoloured hairs inside the roll, but no longer any mites present.  This is said to be very common, but I’d never knowingly seen it before.

Undersurface of hawthorn leaf showing rolled edge gall caused by Phyllocoptes goniothorax
Cross section through gall

Thanks to the county recorder for galls, Robert Homan, who confirmed the identification.

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