Hackberry Stargall Psyllid – Pachypsylla venusta
Hackberry petiole gall (Stargall) Psyllid (Pachypsylla venusta)
Latin Name: Pachypsylla venusta
Common Name: Hackberry petiole gall psyllid
- Adult petiole gall psyllids are huge for psyllids (5.0 to 6.0 mm to folded wing tip) and look like little cicadas.
- They have tawny markings and are dark in hue. The dorsum of the thorax is striped longitudinally.
- The full-grown nymph has a green thorax with four light reddish-brown longitudinal bands and a green head with brown markings. Nymphs’ wing pads are brown.
- The abdomen is green with brownish transverse bands.
Hackberry (Celtis spp.) and sugarberry; Celtis laevigata Wild are the host plant.
The petiole gall psyllid may be found over the whole range of its four hackberry hosts — in North America.
Damage insect caused by Pachypsylla venusta:
The petiole gall psyllid is usually not sufficiently prevalent to cause severe damage to its host, but gall riddled leaves are unsightly throughout late fall and winter.
Description about Gall makers:
Gall makers arrive in silence, like old buccaneers, but without eye patches or shoulder parrots. They also confiscate their rewards quickly and effectively, putting them to work doing their bidding with eye-catching results. Gall-producing insects include a variety of wasps, flies, and a few aphids and mites. Instead of transporting its loot to a secluded cove, the gall maker chemically hijacks a leaf bud or other spot on a tree to construct a casing of plant tissue that protects and nurtures the gall maker’s growing children. Over half of these fascinating critters are attracted to oak trees. Galls can develop on the leaves, bark, flowers, buds, or roots of plants. Most growths, except some twig and stem galls, do not affect healthy trees.
Life History and Habits:
In the spring, the last instar nymphs release from the galls and molt to the adult stage when the host trees’ new leaves appears. The final instar nymph’s apex is equipped with highly sclerotized teeth, which it utilizes to wiggle its way out of the woody gall by wiggling the tip of the abdomen.