Oak leaf galls: Neuroterus numismalis and Cynips quercusfolii, their structure and ultrastructure

Leszek Stanisław Jankiewicz, Barbara Dyki, Aleksandra Machlańska, Franciszek Dubert


Anatomy and surface ultrastructure of the galls induced on oak leaves by the insects – Neuroterus numismalis (Ol.) and Cynips (Diplolepis) quercusfolii L. – were investigated using a scanning electron microscope (SEM) and a light microscope (LM). The observations in SEM and in LM enabled a detailed description of these galls and comparison of their structure with that of the typical oak leaf. In N. numismalis gall, the external distal tissues were classified as similar to phellem (cork), phellogen, and phelloderm, and a lateral marginal tissue as parenchyma with the likely role of a storage tissue. In the young C. quercusfolii gall, the cells of internal, nutritive tissue, on which the larva is grazing, formed globules rising above the surface of larval chamber. Many of them seemed to be destroyed by the larval action. In the gall which attained half of its final size, the tissues near the larval chamber were already partly lignified. The microorganisms (mainly fungi) which live in the oak phyllosphere, occurred also on the galls. We believe that the deep changes in the morphogenetic program of a leaf, which are caused by the gall-forming insects, are impossible without the transfer and the integration of the insect genetic material with that of the host plant. We also postulate that a larva secrets as yet hypothetical substances, which redirect the nutrients transport from the leaf blade towards the gall and support its vital functions.


Quercus robur; leaf surface ultrastructure; plant gall anatomy; plant gall induction

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