This is gonna sound dumb, but my kids (ages 7 and 9) love to tease me about a magical place called “Kid City”, where children rule the land, every meal is dessert, and no grown-ups are allowed. This week I started referring to my yard, and really State College more generally, as “Gall City”, as I am finding numerous species for our newly-funded cynipid project. In Gall City, cecidologists rule the land, everything is botanically derived, and kids are encouraged to learn about plant-insect interactions. (Sadly, this has been my best counter so far to their taunts.)
This really is the right time of year to go gall hunting. The woolly catkin galls I collected a couple weeks ago are now yielding adults. I’ve also added dozens of galls of at least 6 or 7 other cynipid species to the rearing queue in our newly-christened Gall Room. More on that later, but it’s well past time to grow our tiny collection!
This week’s sort session focused on accessioning unprocessed galls and their causative insects. Many of the wasps above were prepared and accessioned as the first representatives of this species in the Frost Museum collection:
We also added galls collected a long time ago, like these Amphibolips acuminata galls I collected in New Jersey many months ago:
Stay tuned for so much more on gall wasps! In the meantime I will very much enjoy my new life in Gall City.