When an herbivorous insect like an aphid or mite needs a place to feed and reproduce, it sometimes seizes a tiny section of a plant where it creates an abnormal growth or gall. These tissue pockets provide shelter and nutrition for the maker, and although some can be unsightly blemishes on the host, others, like these brightly colored growths of cynipid wasps, are bizarrely beautiful additions to the otherwise green leaves. Photographed by Timothy Boomer, the macro images capture the imperceptible details of the galls, which appear like fairytale-style mushroom houses, prickly sea urchins, and fuzzy, striped domes. See more of the whimsical growths, which generally only cause cosmetic damage to the host plant, on Instagram and Boomer’s site, where you can also purchase prints.
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