Gentle ramblings, oft rewarded

There’s always something interesting to be found on any visit to Thorne Moors, the image below is illustrative of that fact.

Walking along a track on the periphery of the western periphery of the moor saw us take a look at a Malus sp. which at first glance appeared to have a coating of ash.  Closer inspection revealed that the cause of the ‘interesting appearance’ was infact Eriosoma lanigerum  or woolly apple aphid a species known also to use pear, hawthorn, mountain ash and elm as well as cotoneasters and pyracanthas.  Woolly aphid is reported to have been accidently introduced into Britain from North America and first reported by Sir Joseph Banks in 1787.

Earwigs, ladybirds and the parasitic wasp Aphelinus mali are important natural enemies of woolly aphid and usually regulate populations to below damaging levels.

 

131216 Eriosoma lanigerum PK Bells Pond

 

Several other apple trees were also hosting the species at the base of their trunks.  A sample taken for examination (and allowing the determination) had dead adults, dead aphids and many dead springtails also present in amongst the material examined.

The phragmites further along the track also hosted quite an infestation of Lipara lucens the cause of the ‘Cigar Gall’.

The real gem though, was on the way back, when we spotted a superb male hen harrier quartering the reed beds, a fitting end to a pleasant stroll!

Thanks to Peter Kendall for sharing the image and the determination.

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