Andricus operator form operator
Cynips quercus operator
Galls. — Large, compact masses (Fig. 32) of wool containing seed-like larval cells. The clusters are irregular in shape, often oval, 4X5.5 cm., more or less, in dimensions, the hairs at first crisp, succulent, greenish, white, or rose-tinged, some-times deep red, becoming yellowish brown with age, finally weathering bluish gray or black and drying into a shrivelled mass. Within the wool, scattered or in small clusters, are the larval cells, hard and rather thick-walled, oval, about 1.5X3 mm., distributed mostly but not entirely toward the center of the gall. On and involving the young terminal stems, new clusters of leaves, and especially the flower clusters of Quercus coccinea, Q. ilicifolia, Q. marylandica, Q. palustris, Q. rubra, Q. velutina, and likely related oaks.
Range: Ontario, MA, RI, CT, NY, NJ, PA, DC, IL, New Brunswick
The gall of this form is a very abundant early-spring gall in scrub- oak country, appearing with the flowers of the oaks about the middle of May and growing rapidly. It should not be gathered for breeding until after the first of June, for it is succulent when first formed and dries and dies unless nearly mature when gathered. The woolly hairs, Bassett has pointed out, are merely a much modified leaf pubescence. The galls, after the emergence of the adults, become much the worse for weathering and by autumn only fragments of the wool remain upon the trees. The galls often bring great numbers of the insects to maturity; from three galls I obtained 578 adults which emerged from June 9 to June 30. The sexes are produced in about equal numbers. The females, as Bassett discovered, deposit the eggs in the acorns of the scrub-oaks, inserting the ovipositor between the nut and the cup of the very small, young acorns. The gall produced is the form operatola.”
- Alfred Charles Kinsey: (1920) Life histories of American Cynipidae©