California jumping gall wasp

(Neuroterus saltatorius)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not listed

 

No Image Available

NatureServe

not listed

Minnesota

not listed

Occurrence

Uncommon in Minnesota

Flight/Season

Two generations per year: March (first generation, asexual) and mid-April to mid-May (second generation, sexual)

Habitat/Hosts

White oak, swamp white oak, and bur oak

Size

Total Length: 132 (0.75 mm)

 
 
Identification

California jumping gall wasp is a very small cynipid wasp. It is native to western United States including the states of California, Oregon, Washington, and west Texas. It has spread north into British Columbia. It has been reported in several eastern states, where it is believed to have been introduced, including Missouri, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. It was reported in Minnesota in 2000. It is still uncommon in the state, but where it appears it may do so in large numbers. It produces abnormal growths (galls) on the leaves of trees in the white oak group. In Minnesota, this includes white oak, swamp white oak, and bur oak.

The adult wasp is very small, 132 (0.75 mm) long. It appears hump-backed. The head is brownish-black. The antennae have 13 segments. The thorax is brown, the abdomen black, the legs reddish-brown, and the wings clear. It is not possible to identify adults in the field due to their small size and similarity to numerous other species. Cynipid wasps are best identified by the galls they produce.

Galls appear on the underside of a leaf in early spring. They mature before the leaves are fully grown. A single leaf may have hundreds or even thousands of galls. Each gall is spherical, white, and 132 (1.0 mm) in diameter.

 
Similar
Species

 

 
Larval Food

White oak, swamp white oak, and bur oak

 
Adult Food

Adult wasps do not feed.

 
Life Cycle

Asexual female adults emerge in March. They lay eggs on the underside of host plant leaves. Sexual male and female adults emerge from mid-April to mid-May. Second generation galls drop to the ground in June. They jump up to an inch high due to movement of the larvae inside. They continue to jump around “for some time.” The larva pupates in the fall and overwinters in the gall.

 
Behavior

It does not sting.

 
Distribution Distribution Map  

Sources: 27, 30, 82, 83, Minnesota Forest Health Annual Report - 2000.

 
Comments

 

 
Taxonomy

Order:

Hymenoptera (ants, bees, wasps, and sawflies)

 

Suborder:

Apocrita (ants, bees, true wasps)

 

Infraorder:

Parasitoida

 

Superfamily:

Cynipoidea (gall wasps)

 

Family:

Cynipidae (gall wasps)

 

Subfamily:

Cynipinae

 

Tribe:

Cynipini

 

Genus:

Neuroterus

 

This species was formerly named Cynips saltatorius.

 
Synonyms

Cynips saltatorius

 
Common
Names

California jumping gall wasp

jumping oak gall

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Gall

An abnormal growth on a plant produced in response to an insect larva, mite, bacteria, or fungus.

 

 

 

 

 

       
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Other Videos
 
  Jumping Oak Gall (Cynipidae: Neuroterus saltatorius) on Oak Leaf
Carl Barrentine
 
   
 
About

Jun 17, 2011

This leaf gall results from the larvae of a Cynipid Gall Wasp (Neuroterus saltatorius). Photographed at Fisher, Minnesota (17 June 2011).

   
       
  The Jumping Gall Wasp (scientific name: Neuroterus Saltatorius Edwards)
William Pedersen
 
   
 
About

Jul 22, 2020

Each gall contains a single wasp larva that feeds on the inner lining of the gall. The galls drop to the ground when they have matured. The activity of the larva inside the gall actually makes the gall jump around on the ground after they have fallen from the tree. The insect overwinters inside the gall. In the spring, the females emerge and lay their eggs in newly opened leaf buds. The galls form in response to chemicals in the larva’s saliva. The galls only form on species of white oak.

   
       

 

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Created: 8/29/2020

Last Updated:

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