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extrafloral nectaries? - Callirhytis quercusgemmaria

extrafloral nectaries? - Callirhytis quercusgemmaria
Appalachian Trail, Swain County, North Carolina, USA
May 7, 2010
found these ants protecting and presumably getting nectar from these weird little watermelon-like structures on the branch of a young oak. i've never seen anything like it, so i thought i'd see if anyone else has.

Moved from Gall Wasps.

Moved from Unsolved bug-related mysteries.
I think Ken's got it. I'm pretty sure I've seen these illustrated before; I'll revisit this at some point, but they must be cynipid galls.

Moved from ID Request.

Galls, maybe?
Certain kinds of galls evidently secrete nectar, attracting ants which then help to protect the galls and their inhabitants. Some interesting info here.

A possibility to consider, at any rate.