Life in a Gall

eBook - June 2012 - eRetailers Google Books Kobo

Introduces the Australian native insects that induce galls on plants and the plant species that host them.

What are plant galls and how are they caused? This book introduces the Australian native insects that induce galls on plants and the plant species that host them. It explores the ways the insects have adapted to living part of their lives in the confined spaces of galls, and describes the strategies employed by different insect groups to find a suitable site to induce a gall, obtain food, mate and escape the gall. + Full description

Life in a Gall also looks at the predators, parasitoids, inquilines, kleptoparasites and micro-organisms that prey on gall-inducing insects and the ways the insects defend themselves from these enemies. It covers the problems gall-inducing insects can cause for agriculture, forestry and horticulture, and gives examples of several pest species. On the positive side, the book describes the essential services gall-inducing insects provide by pollinating figs, controlling invasive weeds and contributing to indigenous food.

The final chapter provides tips for people who want to collect and study galls, and shows that answering many of the questions still surrounding gall-inducing insects is not restricted to professional scientists but can be achieved by diligent amateurs too.

- Short description


No longer available in a print edition.


"This fine book provides a concise and approachable introduction to the intimate world of galls-"
Graham Stone, The Quarterly Review of Biology, pp.253, September 2013

"The obvious love of the author for this fascinating group of insects and plants shines throughout the book and makes for an enjoyable insight into the world of Australian galls and the insects that cause their production."
R. Andrew Hayes, Austral Ecology, 2013

"There is so much to learn about galls and I recommend this booklet. Enjoy life in a gall...."
Otto Mueller, WA Naturalist, pp.3, March 2013

"The technical nature of this book is nicely balanced with more general information, making it accessible to a wide audience including working ecologists and consultants, entomologists, botanists, scientists and interested amateurs."
Liz Brown, Australasian Plant Conservation, Vol. 21, pp. 32, Sept – Nov 2012

"Life in a Gall is an easy to read book that will satisfy the curiosity when you want to know more than that they are just caused by insects.

The language is simple and scientific terms have been kept to a minimum, new concepts are introduced in simple terms with the scientific term in brackets. An extensive glossary is also supplied."
RG Richardson, Plant Protection Quarterly, pp. 116, Vol.27(3) 2012

"Blanche provides a concise, nontechnical description of galls and gall inducers that should be readable by almost anyone. It is well written and free from errors. The text is supported by a glossary and an index.

A real strength of the book is the photography; it is extremely well illustrated."
John L. Capinera, Florida Entomologist, Volume 95(4), December 2012

"This book is both highly readable and scientifically informative, with its appeal enhanced by the numerous excellent colour photographs (many of them contributed by recognised experts in the insect groups depicted) and clear diagrams that adorn each page.

It is also very well produced. I have no hesitation in recommending the book as a significant summary and introduction to the variety of gall insects in Australia, and of wide interest to naturalists of many persuasions."
TR New, The Victorian Naturalist, pp. 215-216, Vol 129 (6), December 2012

"I can highly recommend this book. You will learn heaps, as I did. It is a short book but it is crammed with useful and interesting information. After reading it, you'll find yourself noticing galls everywhere, and you might even find yourself observing a few and wanting them develop. Life in all its variations and intricacies is just amazing, and galls are full of life, and they are now interesting too. I'm now hanging out for the ID book for Victorian galls!"
Russell Best, Growing Australian, September 2012, pp. 13

"Learn how gall-inducing insects can be beneficial. Marvel at the life cycle of the fig wasp. Be amazed by the schoolkids who discovered a new species of gall wasp and named it after Shrek."
Denis Crawford, Gardening Australia Magazine, p. 88, September 2012


ePDF | June 2012
ISBN: 9780643106444
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Available from eRetailers

ePUB | June 2012
ISBN: 9780643106451
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Available from eRetailers


  • Offers a unique understanding of Australian plant galls and the little-known insects that induce them.
  • Provides tips for people who want to collect and study galls


Preface and acknowledgements
Gall-inducing insects and their host plants
Remarkable adaptations
Enemies of gall-inducing insects
Problems caused by gall-inducing insects
Benefits associated with gall-inducing insects
Studying galls and their insects
Further reading
Glossary of scientific terms


Rosalind Blanche wrote her PhD thesis on the ecology of gall-inducing insects on Australian native plants. After graduating from Macquarie University in 1996, she worked as a research ecologist in Darwin, NT, first with CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems and later at Charles Darwin University. She then moved to the Atherton Tablelands, far north Queensland, to carry out research for CSIRO Entomology. Since semi-retirement she has held positions with the Queensland Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries, worked on a Conservation International/CSIRO collaborative project and written two large reports for the Savanna Co-operative Research Centre. She has been an associate editor of the journal Austral Ecology since 2000.