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The "scribbles" on scribbly gums are an icon of the Australian bush but until recently very little was known about the cause of these distinctive scribbles. The scribbles appear on the trunks of about 20 species of eucalypt trees. At least 12 species of moth larvae are responsible for the scribbles. The scribbles are caused by moth larvae feeding on photosynthetic tissue just below the epidermal cells in the tree trunk.When the cork cambium starts to produce cork to shed the outer bark it produces scar tissue in response to the feeding of the caterpillar. When it leaves the tree to spin a cocoon at its base, the bark cracks off and exposes the iconic scribbles beneath. As you can see the bark is just starting to peel revealing the markings.
Fascinating to me is that the genus of moth Ogmograptis is part of a southern group of Bucculatricidae once living on the supercontinent Gondwana. So they have had plenty of time to perfect their drawing.
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July 21st, 2014
Viewed 31 Times - Last Visitor from Hvidovre, Denmark - Denmark on 10/23/2014 at 4:54 AM
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