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Gall Mite: Aceraria echii

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Gall Mite: Aceraria echii

We found a number of viper's bugloss plants with deformed stems and leaves whilst out walking on the Purbeck cliffs and were rather intrigued by them. After some research on the internet I discovered the deformities are caused by a tiny gall mite, Aceraria echii.

The mite is, as the name implies, very small. It is shaped like the horn of a cow and has two hooks by which it attaches itself to the plant to extract nutrients. There can be countless numbers on a single plant and they produce between them what I think is a rather attractive effect! As the viper's bugloss is a perennial this invasion of small mites does not really have a major impact on the plant.

I find it amazing that one species of mite is totally dependant on a single species of plant for its survival. It would not be in the mites interest to severely damage a colony of its host plant yet other species of Aceraria gall mite are used as a biological control on some agricultural weeds, especially bindweed.


 

If you would like to see the complete series that this post is part of click here ---->
This nature note was written by ----> Peter Orchard
This nature nore was written ----> 2 years 4 months ago

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