Something growing on my Oak tree (not acorns)

Hi everyone, I'm a new member, and this is my first post, so excuse me if I break any "rules". :)
My husband was out in the front yard earlier today and came in to tell me that something was growing on one of our two Oak trees. They don't look *ANYTHING* like acorns, and I don't believe the trees are old enough to grow acorns anyway.
As far as I can tell, the trees are probably somewhere between 10-15 years old...I doubt they are any older... They were transplanted from the forest about between 5-8 years ago by our home's original owner. I'm not exactly sure of the time frame, but we've been here 4 years, so I'm going from there...
Anyhow, if someone could take a look at the picture I've uploaded to my photobucket site and see if they look familiar to you, and if so, what are they??? They seem to be actually growing on the tree, and look, as my husband so elegantly put it, like "little green alien eggs".
Here's the link
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a106/scrappychic77/IMG_3362.jpg
Christine
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It looks like a praying Mathis cocoon? I have lots of oaks and find them on the ground this time of year after something climbs out of it. I was told it was a Mathis cocoon but not really sure. I could see an escape hole in each one and when I pulled it apart it was filled with a web like substance. Elaine

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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com says... :) Hi everyone, :) I'm a new member, and this is my first post, so excuse me if I break any :) "rules". :) :) :) My husband was out in the front yard earlier today and came in to tell me :) that something was growing on one of our two Oak trees. They don't look :) *ANYTHING* like acorns, and I don't believe the trees are old enough to grow :) acorns anyway. :) :) As far as I can tell, the trees are probably somewhere between 10-15 years :) old...I doubt they are any older... They were transplanted from the forest :) about between 5-8 years ago by our home's original owner. I'm not exactly :) sure of the time frame, but we've been here 4 years, so I'm going from :) there... :) :) Anyhow, if someone could take a look at the picture I've uploaded to my :) photobucket site and see if they look familiar to you, and if so, what are :) they??? They seem to be actually growing on the tree, and look, as my :) husband so elegantly put it, like "little green alien eggs". :) :) Here's the link :)
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a106/scrappychic77/IMG_3362.jpg :) :) Christine :) :) :)
It's a type of gall. Usually they are made by tiny wasps that sting the plant tissue or various flies that injects liquid into the plant tissue which causes the gall to develop. The larval stage of the insects feed of the material inside the gall and later emerge. Though galls can be made also from beetles , moths, aphids and thrips on different plants along with bacteria, viruses , mites and fungi.
--
Lar

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Christine D wrote:

These are galls, sometimes called "oak apples".
They are caused when an insect lays an egg inside the fresh, young tissues of the tree. The larva that hatches causes an irritation that causes the tissues to swell. The larva then eats out some (not always all) of the excess tissues.
When the larva matures and forms an adult insect, it bores its way out of the gall. The galls you show in the image will eventually turn black and fall from the tree. They will be very light in weight with a corky internal texture.
These galls are generally quite harmless to the tree, although cleaning them up from driveways and lawns can be a bother. Other galls (but not these spherical ones) can be symptoms of disease, which can cause serious damage to a plant.
During colonial times, these galls were gathered and boiled to extract tannic acid for making ink and dyes and for tanning leather.
--
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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Well many thanks David and Lar you have solved this mystery I have always wondered about. I really didn't think it was the praying mantis as someone told me but I could tell it was something inside eating it's way out. Elaine

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Yes, a big thank you to all of you. I was kind of freaked out when I first read Elaine's message but my husband tried calming me down by letting me know he's pretty sure that it's not a Preying Mantis, since he's almost positive we don't have them around here. (Eastern Canada)
Still, the idea of insects hatching inside my Oak tree kind of gives me the heebie jeebies. There are around 8 or 9 galls total on one oak, and none on the other two so far, and I have a HUGE insect phobia, so needless to say I won't be going anywhere near that tree until they're all gone! *lol*
Again, thanks for looking and for all the info on what these are! Christine

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On Wed, 07 Jun 2006 17:29:00 GMT, "Christine D"

Hi Christine,
There are well over 600 known types of Galls/Insects that attack Oak trees. The Oak Apple is just one of the better known ones. There are plenty more, most likely on your tree right now that you just haven't noticed...
Remember they are interested in the Oak tree, not you ;-)
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On Tue, 6 Jun 2006 22:14:37 -0400, "Elaine"

Hi Elaine,
The Preying Mantis egg mass looks like brown foam and is usually stuck to things like your garage door, siding, posts... See this link for some photos:
http://whatsthatbug.com/mantis.html
--
Leon Fisk
Grand Rapids MI/Zone 5b
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Hi Leon and thanks for the link. I have always been fascinated by the praying/preying mantis.When my neighbor was in the Navy at Key West he had one for a "pet" that lived on a plant in the apartment they were in. (Don't freak out now Christine.) It was harmless to humans but kept the fly and roach population at bay! They also fed it hamburger meat on occasion. Elaine
wrote:

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elaine snipped-for-privacy@bellsouth.net says... :) Well many thanks David and Lar you have solved this mystery I have always :) wondered about. I really didn't think it was the praying mantis as someone :) told me but I could tell it was something inside eating it's way out. :) :)
Here are a couple of mantis egg casings
http://www.whatsthatbug.com/images/mantis_eggs_larry.jpg
http://www.purviance.com/photos/images/bugs/mantisEggs_031012.jpg
Looking like an asp may keep birds from ripping open the casings to eat the young..
--
Lar

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