oak leaves: the secret worlds of tiny lives

As an ecologist, I’ve had the chance to do a lot of interesting field work and that way learn about all kinds of organisms and their intriguing ways of life. Last autumn, I spent a week surveying insect-induced galls and mines on oak leaves (Quercus robur) in south-western Finland. But what I looked for wasn’t the only thing I found; in fact, I learnt that when you closely observe thousands of oak leaves you may discover a wonderful variety of beautiful and unexpected lifeforms. Here are some examples of what I found:

A bright-yellow insect pupa


This fungus made me think of Medusa…


A tiny but hungry insect larva holding on to its food



Used spider egg sacs


The remains of an insect: it’s rear was stuck to the leaf


A punk insect larva!

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