Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Goldenrod Gall Fly garners fame

A familiar sight in old fields, the golf ball-sized swelling caused by the goldenrod gall fly, Eurosta solidaginis. Female goldenrod flies inject their egg into the goldenrod, triggering an interesting and conspicuous reaction. The afflicted goldenrod plant, sensing the foreigner, is stimulated to wall itself off from the fly larva by producing dense woody tissue. 
If you are armed with a knife, you can slice open the gall and view the delectable grub within. Or, if you are a clever and industrious bird, you can just use your bill to get at the tasty morsel.

The relationship of the Downy Woodpecker to the goldenrod gall fly is an interesting tale, and Ohio's own Warren Uxley spins it so well that his article made the COVER of BirdWatching Magazine (formerly Birder's World)!. I just got my issue, and Warren's wordsmithing is stellar, and his story is punctuated with outstanding photos. Be sure to pick up a copy at your newstand, or SUBSCRIBE HERE.

Warren Uxley works with the Crawford County Park District, an up and coming star amongst Ohio's many productive and creative park districts. Their recent role in protecting Daughmer Savanna deserves major kudos. If you live in the Bucyrus area, or even if you don't, be sure to support Crawford County Parks! Congratulations, Warren!


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