Have you ever seen strange discolored bumps on leaves and wondered what made them?

“All the time!” I hear you say.

Well, I do too, and usually I go away none the wiser. But not today!

No, today that question was answered, unequivocally, when Kimmie saw a very sweet and fresh-looking moth sitting beside a recently vacated gall.

Normally moths don’t hang around to have their pictures taken. Some might even describe them as ‘flighty’, and who can blame them in this ‘bird-eat-moth’ world of ours?

The adult with wings outstretched, recently emerged from the safety of its phyloxera gall, the structure that served as private nursery for this Hickory Shuckworm Moth, Cydia caryana (Fitch, 1856).

Anyway, this moth was clearly an obliging model and as something of an ambassador to its species, Kimmie photographed the pair together, moth and gall, determined to later find out more from the Internet about this pretty little moth and its unusual nursery accommodation.

She’d suspected that this self-grown sapling was in the Hickory family but the leaflets are larger than our adult Pecan’s.

The young adult allowed Kimmie to take multiple images on our Panasonic Lumix GX8 at ISO 400 with our 14-45 mm zoom with mega OIS on. As a Micro-Four-Thirds camera the lens is equivalent to a 28-90 mm zoom on a 35 mm or full-frame sensor camera. The settings were 1/100 sec at F5.6. Lighting was mostly ambient, with slight fill from a third party Flash Point FP550D LED macro ring light.
This close-up of the Pecan Phylloxera gall with ruptured pupal case was enabled with the addition of a 16mm extension tube (MFT) by Photodiox Pro. We learned that the leaf galls start off green but then turn brown and crusty-looking with age. They are packed with little, green, parasitic, aphid-like insects (Phylloxera devastatrix) that emerge in late May and early June.

Where pest species like the Hickory Shuckworm Moth exist, thankfully there are also plenty of predators. Many of our garden birds ( including our Yellow-billed Cuckoo) relish juicy caterpillars and the airways are full of cruising predatory wasps.

Read About Cydia caryana on Butterflies and Moths Website 

Pictures of the galls

A link to grubs to the Pecan Bud Moth; they look similar as adults to the Shuckworm