Monthly Mystery #1: Pine Needle Bananas

I’m continually impressed by the collective knowledge of the readers of this blog–identifying mystery plants, recognizing the face of a walkingstick nymph, and so on. So I’ve decided to start a monthly feature wherein I post a nagging natural history mystery and see if anyone knows anything about it.  Some of these I’ll have more to say about than others; this month’s will be a quick one because I have ten reports to write by the end of the month.

When Noah and I were traveling four years ago in search of things to photograph for our book, we stopped at Yosemite National Park briefly to find Sierra wormlions.  While we were in the valley, in one area we found a bunch of these 3-mm banana-shaped things stuck to pine needles.  In photos, they look like they could be larvae, but they were hard and stationary and in person they gave the impression of eggs.  There were often several in an evenly-spaced row, and all had tips that curved away from the substrate as shown below.


So, any thoughts on these?

We found them on July 26, in case anyone feels motivated to try and find more of them.

About Charley Eiseman

I am a freelance naturalist, endlessly fascinated by the interconnections of all the living and nonliving things around me. I am the lead author of Tracks & Sign of Insects and Other Invertebrates (Stackpole Books, 2010), and continue to collect photographs and information on this subject. These days I am especially drawn to galls, leaf mines, and other plant-insect interactions.
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7 Responses to Monthly Mystery #1: Pine Needle Bananas

  1. says:

    I don’t know who they are, but they look tasty to me, maybe with lemon juice and cocktail sauce.

    Thanks so much for your work. I am a fan.

    Wendy Willard

  2. Pingback: Monthly Mystery #2: Oak Skeletonizers | BugTracks

  3. Bill Murphy says:

    These appear to be fly pupae, some family at the ‘more highly evolved’ end of the Diptera, like Agromyzidae. The ‘bent up at the ends’ shape is similar to that in the group I study, the snail-killing flies.

    • Interesting. I don’t believe any agromyzids are known to feed on Pinaceae, but some kind of fly pupa does seem to be most likely. If I ever find these again I will be sure to collect a few.

  4. Pingback: First Grasshopperlets of Spring | BugTracks

  5. Pingback: Pine Needle Bananas – Mystery Solved! | BugTracks

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