Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Mystery on Oak Ridge

This weekend, days before Halloween, I walked our woods--catching up on many areas I don't regularly see.
My eyes were focused on the ground, where fallen leaves now obscure every last bit of dirt. Hickories and oaks make up most of our woods, with a few maples thrown in for occasional color. Even in a colorless landscape, their different shapes and textures are beautiful.
One tree seemed to be the only of its kind--maybe a chestnut oak? Whatever it is, something seems to have made a meal of it.

Rounded holes, the size of a small pea, are in almost every leaf.
The green leaves above show them, too--as light filtered through this odd patterning.


I'd seen caterpillars feeding on different oaks earlier in the summer--but their ravenous eating devoured entire leaves, not small nibbles. And, what sort of creature takes a bite out of the middle, when the edge would seem to be an easier mark? It's like taking a bite out of the center of a pizza!
Hmmm.

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7 comments:

RuthieJ said...

Hi Nina,
I have the exact same thing in my oak leaves this year! I did a post about it a while back, but no one else seemed to know what it was from either.

nina said...

Hmmmmmmm.
The mystery continues.
The plot thickens.

Q said...

Excellent mystery...
My Oaks are intact...
Regional bug?
Sherry

cestoady said...

This is clearly the work of the OAK LEAF GOBLIN that prefers oaks because the leaves are generally on the trees around Halloween, when the OLGoblins reach their greatest numbers.

They also prefer to make holes so the leaf remains whole. In this way, the tree then becomes a holy GOBLIN tree.

nina said...

Interesting--never heard of this phenomenon before.

cestoady said...

I stand to be corrected.

It is not Goblins (that's a relief) that are causing the holes but a fly, of all things. The culprit is the Oak Leaf Shothole (honest !!) Leaf Miner. The little fly with the big name starts life between the two layers of the leaf, where it mines ( like a sort of leaf termite) and creates the hole as the leaf grows. If you want the scientific name of the fly and all sorts of facinating details of this SHOTHOLE MINER, go to:http://bugs.osu.edu/~bugdoc/Shetlar/factsheet/ornamental/
> FSoakshotholelm.htm

RuthieJ said...

The mystery is solved! Now I know what's eating holes in my oak leaves in Minnesota too. Thanks Cestoady