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180414 Andricus kollari (3)

If you’re a regular around here, you may recall that in August 2017, I posted a mini-series of posts about some of the galls you can find on Oak trees, which included the Oak Marble gall (see the post here). You might also remember that in late October, I was excited to discover a creature had hatched out of one of my galls and I initially thought it was the gall causer, a minute wasp called Andricus kollari. It was not – turns out it was one of the 29 other species of hymenoptera (bees, wasp, ants and sawflies) that can also be found living in an Oak marble gall (more on that here) (and I never did identify it).

Well, this time, maybe, just maybe, I have seen the gall-causing wasp itself, A. kollari. A while ago, while out walking, I found a small Oak sapling that was absolutely covered in marble galls and, when I found one that had no holes in it, I couldn’t resist bringing it home. The tiny wasp you see in these photos recently hatched out of this gall and the size of the hole it made, plus comparisons with online photos, has led me to think that this time I may have seen the gall causer. I couldn’t be one hundred percent certain of my identification without killing the wasp and getting an expert to check it but I didn’t want to do that. And, of course, I could be totally wrong yet again. In the meantime, the wasp has been returned to the area where I found it so, weather permitting, it can continue its life cycle.