Friday, November 5, 2010

Creature Feature - Tree Cattle

Since Halloween has just passed, I thought it appropriate this month to feature a web-spinner that can cover trees with their webs.
No, not spiders... these insects are called Psocids (pronounced SO-sids), or Tree Cattle.  They are scavengers that feed on lichens, fungi, and other bits of organic matter.  Although their webbing can be extensive, they cause no harm to the tree.  The webbing is simply a protective cover for them to hide under.  They can form webs on any tree.  The above photo is on Ceiba.  The nymphs feed as a group and even when disturbed they will move together as a group.
It is this herd behavior that gives them the "Tree Cattle" moniker.  The adults are about 1/4 inch in length at full size.
The First Friday Creature Feature is hosted right here on the first Friday of every month.  You're invited to join in!  Here's how:
1. Write a post featuring some creature that lives in your garden.
2. Within your post, include a link to my Creature Feature post so people know where to find the creatures.
3. Add your link below and leave a comment.
Thanks for participating and feel free to join in again next month!


africanaussie said...

Oh I had these once on my holly tree - I called the extension service and they put my mind at rest. When they were finsihed their work they moved on! amazing creatures!

Barbie said...

HEhe - Tree fleas! Looks more like a bed bug with stripes. *shudder*

Andrea said...

We have Ceiba here, but i haven't seen these, they look freightful. Incredibly looking creatures.

Toni - Signature Gardens said...

They look like little zebras! That is one wicked looking tree!! I saw one like that when I was in Israel a couple years ago and never could find out what it was, even though I asked as many folks as I could. Now I need to go out in my garden and find a creature to feature so I can post!! said...

Incredible, that such tiny creatures can create such finely woven cover. I thought it was fine meshed berry netting at first. Neat post.

Toni - Signature Gardens said...

Just posted my first Creature Feature. I need help with identifying a caterpillar. Can you help?

fer said...

very nice spiderweb how big is it?

AaronVFT said...

So they don't harm the tree? Good to see these good bugs once in a while. The aphids are killing me (and my plants).

Grower Jim said...

Toni: Thanks for linking up! I'll take a look.

fer: This web extended about 10 foot up the trunk of the tree!

AaronVFT: The tree doesn't even know they're there!

ProfessorRoush said...

I posted regarding a Wheel Bug I found last week sunning itself out on the Prairie. Thanks for making a CreatureFeature so others can see it!


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