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Photo#38845
Weird thing - Prociphilus tessellatus

Weird thing - Prociphilus tessellatus
Barkhamsted, Litchfield County, Connecticut, USA
Took this during late summer. I thought it was a type of cocoon but it crumbled when I gently touched it. Didn't see anything but powdery stuff inside. Could it be the remains from some parasitic lunch?

Moved

Moved
Moved from Aphids.

Wooly Aphids
I'm relatively certain these are wooly aphids. See comparison shot .

 
Aphids
Is that host plant Witch Hazel? Where I found this has some along the road.

 
Sorry,
I'm terrible with plants. Patrick Coin is good with plants, though.

 
Woolly Aphids
Thanks Lynette and Chuck. It sure does look like the aphid picture. I don't have the leaf in my photo but the grain and color of the branch is similar to the host plant.

 
wooly aphids
Many of these are species specific, but both pictures are of wooly aphids. Some are common on Beech trees, others on members of the Birch family. The leaves in the second picture are too serrate for Witch-hazel. I suspect Alder or Hazelnut.

 
Aphids
Thanks, Dennis. There were a number of sapling trees on the dirt road but I am not too familiar with the kinds. I know there was White Birch and Beech.

 
Could this be all that is left
after a harvester caterpillar gets finished with them?

 
I don't think so.
I think this is what they look like when they are heavily bunched into one area.

 
Sorry, we were refering
to the fact that Dave said he touched it and it all crumbled and there was nothing but powder inside, so we assumed the aphids were gone somewhere.

 
If they are dead....
If these aphids are dead, why are they being attended by acrobat ants (Crematogaster sp) in this image:-) I'm moving the image to the guide page for woolly aphids.

Fungus?
My slightly educated guess is a parasitic fungus that's completely consumed its victim. The only thing is, there must have been quite a lot of body mass to support that thick a growth- maybe a large caterpillar, or multiple critters. ?

Or maybe it's been feeding off of the branch itself, and these are just the fruiting/spore-producing part of a much larger fungal mass inside the plant.

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