The Art of Dead Trees

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Do you feel disgusted by this image? Confused? Unhappy? Neutral?

Well, I for one, view this as a piece of art created by the Emerald Ash Borer larvae.

They chew through the bark, carving maze-like tunnels through the wood, heading for the inner phloem, cambium, and outer xylem. Then, they tunnel back for the outer layer of the trunk, and develop into pupae, and emerge as adults the following spring.

Once out of their chambers, they go to feed on the ash leaves in the trees canopy, and a week later, they mate. The female usually lives for around six weeks after emerging, and can lay from around 40-70 eggs, but on unique circumstances when they live for longer, they may lay more than 200 eggs. 

This species of insect has become a problem for South-western Ontario, after arriving in this new land aboard an Asian cargo ship. Once spreading, the invasive species started to kill off millions of the ash trees around the Michigan area. As it had no native predators in this environment, the insect has been a murderer on the loose with no police to chase him down.

In its native Asian territory, one of the Emerald Ash Borer’s predator is a few species of parasitoid wasps that specialize with the beetle’s very own larvae and eggs. As they play a part in restricting the population in Asia, three of their species have been newly introduced to North America, in hopes of tying down the invasive beetle. The native species of wasps also have shown an interest in parasitize the beetle, and are raising the hope of adaption, or integrating the new species into the ecosystem.

With hope, the artists can join our net of species, and join into our environment, and become a species that later generations see as their countries own.

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1 Comment

  1. Thinking about millions of ash trees got ruined, it does feel chilling while looking at the “art” work done by this little bug. However, cruel as it is, nature is just playing its survival work. Good to know people is working on solution of getting its “balance” back to nature!


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