black cat

Robin's Pincushion

Wednesday, 15th November 2000, West Yorkshire
Robin's pincushionONE DOG ROSE growing in a laneside hedge, has seven Robin's Pincushion galls dotted on it. These mossy looking galls form when the gall-wasp Diplolepsis (AKA Rhodites or Cynips) rosae lays its eggs in the leaf buds in spring. The larva of the wasp grows in the protection of its own individual cell in the gall and pupates there over the winter, emerging as an adult in the following spring. Up to 60 such cells may be found in one gall.

hawthorn bud gall The gall-wasp is a parasite on the rose, but it doesn't always have it's gall to itself. Another gall-wasp sometimes moves in as a lodger and there are at least three tiny wasps which will parasitise the D. rosae larva. These parasites can in turn become the victims hyperparasites, such as the Chalcid Wasp Harbrocytus bedguaris.

Equally common, on Hawthorn in this same stretch of hedgerow are the rosettes of crumpled leaves caused by the gall midge Dasyneura crataegi (right).

The Beast is Back

black catblack cat A builder friend who in the past has scoffed at reports of an unidentified 'Black Beast' roaming the local countryside now has a 'Black Beast' sighting of his own. One afternoon last month he and his daughter were driving down Middlestown hill when they saw a large black animal confidently taking its time as it crossed the road at a bend in the road between the village and an isolated house half way up the hill. He tells me that it wasn't a large domestic cat and that it wasn't moving like a fox -and besides, it was the wrong colour.

'So was it some kind of dog?'

'It wasn't behaving like a dog,' he insists.

Previous accounts have commented on the 'beast's' confident page

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

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