Second day of the NCC Bioblitz - Insects

Remember all those woody plants that you found yesterday - when you were taking photographs of the leaves and branches, you may have already found some observations of insects - today's highlighted organisms in the NCC bioblitz .

As insects are a favored food for many other organisms, they have developed some fascinating strategies to keep from being eaten. One thing they do is to live inside plants. As you might expect, the plants are somewhat inconvenienced by these interlopers and do their best to make them feel unwelcome. The insects in turn develop defenses against the plants defenses in a tit for tat evolutionary process that ends up creating close associations between some insects and the plants that they inhabit.

Leaf miner larvae live between the two layers of a plant leaf until they are ready to transform into an adult. The shape and location of the leaf mine together with the id of the plant are usually enough to identify which species you have observed. Here's some that have been observed in Manitoba to date.

Gall maker larvae secrete chemical triggers that cause the plant cells to grow in unusual ways creating both ample food and defense for themselves until they become adults. Galls can be quite sturdy structure that can even persist through the winter, allowing the insect to overwinter inside. The shape and location of the gall together with the id of the plant is often all that is needed to identify the insect. Here's some that have been observed in Manitoba to date.

And the bonus of observing leaf miners and galls is that they cannot fly away - you have plenty of time to zoom in and get that great closeup.

There are two traditional projects that track observations of these groups. Traditional projects require you to add your observation manually to be included. Adding your gall or leaf miner observation to these projects helps the specialist identifier community find your observations.

Have fun :)

Publicado por marykrieger marykrieger, 30 de julho de 2021, 02:37 PM

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