Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wednesday Wild Flower: It rhymes with hurtica

Urtica dioica
The very first 'wildflower' transplanted to the Home Bug Garden was a bit of root that fell out of a soil core. Rather than let the unknown root die, my wife brought it back and stuck it in a new bed along the walkway in the side yard. Next spring some interesting looking leaves sprouted and we anxiously awaited flowers so we'd have some idea of what we had. However, while weeding the bed, I was able to identify the new plant by the unpleasant stinging sensation in my hands.
Yes, nettle has flowers
Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) isn't an unattractive plant, but it's flowers don't seem to inspire the lyrical joy of many other wildflowers. After brushing against our rapidly going bundle of nematocysts one too many times I donned the leather gloves and grubbed it out.
Milbert's Tortoiseshell caterpillars feed on Nettle
If I'd planted it in the back of the garden rather than next to a sidewalk, I may have let it thrive. Actually, I'm a bit sorry I didn't move it to the back of the garden. After all, it is an important food for many caterpillars that turn into attractive butterflies. The young shoots are edible, and reputedly make a tasty pot herb. Also, a friend of ours made wine from the flowers - and the taste was interesting (although after a couple of tastes, the rest went into a stew). Well, maybe some day we will try a patch.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Winter Interest in the Home Bug Garden

Cattails and rushes adding interest to a winter landscape
As the Home Bug Garden has become re-enwhitened over the last few weeks, and the illusion of a short, mild winter went the way of other illusions, the 'winter interest' in the Garden has again come to be appreciated. In general, it can be difficult to distinguish between winter interest and lazy gardening, but in a naturalistic garden one does want to look, well, natural.
'Winter interest' is also known as dead plants
Snow is a very good insulator (think igloo). If a thick enough layer of insulating snow (10-20 cm) develops then, no matter what the temperature of the air, the temperature under the snow stabilizes near freezing - warm enough for the decomposers in the soil to continue to work all winter. The vegetation under the snow becomes the food of the subniveal (under-snow) fungi, bacteria, arthropods, and worms. Although we don't see it, a significant portion of the carbon budget in boreal systems is processed under the snow during what looks like a period of dormancy.
Winter interest on its way to decomposition
But what sticks out above the snow gives some structure to the garden and some interest to all those who live above the layer of snow (I suppose that would be the 'supraniveal' fauna). This afternoon I noticed some of our winter interest falling, stalk by stalk. A White-tailed Jackrabbit was working through the remains of last year's Rough Oxeye (Heliopsis helianthoides). Well, better that than the cherries (unfortunately hares love cherry twigs). When the snow melts, all the little rabbit pellets that were once 'winter interest' will join the decomposer system too. I suppose that is better than a spring clean-up and lugging to the compost bin.
Large wings and small feet meet in the snow

Monday, February 27, 2012

Myco Monday: Cladonia diversity in minature

Six species of Cladonia reindeer lichen
This image is of a small clump of reindeer lichens (Cladonia spp.) on a log in an open spot of aspen parkland. We thought there were several kinds of lichens, but when we showed the picture to a specialist, she recognized 6 tentative species (chemical tests are needed to be certain):
Cladonia gracilis ssp turbinata – smooth cupped, no soredia, brown tips (apothecia and pycnidia), little squamules (leaf-like structures) coming off of stalks
Cladonia botrytes – pale brown apothecia, upper right hand corner
Cladonia mitis – branching species, (subgenus Cladina)
Cladonia cristalla or bellidiflora – smooth  slightly branched specimen with red apothecia
Cladonia crispata var crispata – upper right hand corner by botrytes with wide open cup, can see directly down into podetium/stalk
Cladonia coniocraea – sorediate unbranched podetia in lower part of picture

That's quite a bit of diversity for a few square centimetres of forest floor.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Adventures in Spider Misidentification: Pisaurina, not

Not a Nursery Web Spider
For over three years we have been under the misapprehension that this spider belonged to the family Pisauridae and probably the genus Pisaurina. These 'Nursery Web Spiders' don't make a habit of hanging around nurseries, which I think even arachnophiles may be glad to hear. Instead, their name comes from the small tent-like web they spin when their babies are about to hatch. Before then, they carry the silken ball of eggs with their mouthparts.
Spider eyes tell tales of taxonomic interest
However, today we learned how to use the the Data tab at BugGuide and discovered that no pisaurids were reported from Alberta. This made us a bit suspicious. Also, BugGuide has a very nice diagram of what Pisaurina eyes should look like and this spider does not have the right arrangement. However, the eye arrangement does resemble that of the Slender Crab Spiders (Philodromidae: Tibellus spp.), several of which are known from Alberta.
Philodromus we think
Tibellus currently rests in the family Philodromidae. Actually 'rest' is the wrong word for a Running Crab Spider. Philo-dromus seems to be from the Greek meaning they love to race. Apparently, they like aphids too.
Hot chilli pepper aphid for lunch
We think we see a similarity in the arrangement of the eyes in between what we now think a Tibellus and what we think is a Philodromus rufus (but remember the name of this series). Also, philodromids are supposed to have legs II significantly longer than legs I - and both of these spider do have that character. So, perhaps we are improving in our spider taxonomy. Well, just in case, we've asked the specialists at BugGuide for help this time.
Philodromus looking more floraphillic here, but also more crab spidery

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Not Yet Native of the Week: Gladiolus imbricatus

A gladiolus for Zone 3

As my mythical long-time readers would know, I have been wont to ruminate on the native/alien dichotomy over the years. I’ve chewed the cud long enough that I have pre-digested the problem to my own satisfaction, swallowed my solution, and am ready to spread the results over my gardens and see what happens.
Gladiolus imbricatus
 Yes, native plants can be very nice and tend to be good for native insects and birds, but they alone do not a garden make and some are definitely mistakes (e.g. Jewelweed, Wild Strawberry). Yes, some horticultural creations are monstrosities, and any exotic plant has the potential to escape and grow where we’d rather it didn’t, but if you exercise reasonable caution (e.g. bird and wind dispersed seeds are bad), they do make for a much nicer and no less bug-friendly garden. Also, and I know some might find this controversial, some naturalized former exotics probably fit into their new systems rather well and increase the functionality (e.g. diversity, resistance to disturbance, recovery from disturbance) of the ecosystem.
Bombus vagans or perplexus and European Gladiolus
 Of course, if you define your ecosystems as if they were fixed and immutable and, in North America at least, created before European colonization, then you would probably take umbrage at any plant growing outside its proper place. I don’t share that particular belief system, but I do worry about letting loose something that may damage the environment. This was brought home to me the other day while reading a somewhat obstreperous review of Doug Tallamy’s book Bringing Nature Home (see Books in the Bug Garden sidebar) and the comment flurry at Gardening Gone Wild.
Leaf-cutting Bee enjoying a glad
 One thing that I realized was that I haven’t really done well by the Home Bug Garden exotics. So, herein I start a new series “Not Yet Native of the Week” wherein the pros and cons of plants not yet (or newly) part of the Alberta flora are considered. First up is the flower that enshrouded the ‘big-lipped bee’ in the most recent Pollinator of the Week, the only gladiolus that seems to be able to tolerate Zone 3 winters: Gladiolus imbricatus L. – variously called called the European, Red, or Turkish Marsh Gladiolus. Anyone who has grown the large hybrid gladioli (which need Zone 8 or better to ‘perennialize’) may be surprised to learn that there is a species that can survive our winters, but it is true. A friend gave me a handful of corms in 2006 and I’ve had a small patch ever since.
A denizen of wet meadows and marshes
 The fact that the leaf-cutting and bumble bees like the flowers is good, but also leads to seed pods which I regularly deadhead. This doesn’t stimulate more flowers, but does ensure that tiny gladioli don’t start sprouting here and there. Is that actually possible here in Zone 3?
A pleasant addition to an artificial meadow masking some squash and tomatoes
 Several gladioli are naturalized in North America, but G. imbricatus is not among them and none are listed as noxious weeds. If one casts their net somewhat wider, though, you find that this is not true in other parts of the World. Australia has several gladioli that have invaded roadsides and more intact native habitats and are considered important environmental weeds. I well remember coming across wild gladioli along the trails in Kings Park in Perth – and the disappointment on learning that these spectacular 'wild' flowers were weeds.

Where Gladiolus imbricatus is considered native (SE Europe and Turkey), it can be either a weed of cultivation or a rare meadow plant deserving protection. And, of most interest to us Zone 3ers, in Finland it is listed as a ‘casual alien’. So, I think I will continue to deadhead my gladioli and not plant them where they might escape into a wet meadow or marsh, but I certainly won’t grub them out.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday Bug: Malevolent Red-eye

Ceresa basalis balefully considering Nature
Last May an exciting paper appeared in the highly regarded journal Nature that suggested that the bizarre 'helmets' that adorn tree-hoppers (Membracidae) may have been co-opted from the prothoracic wings of ancient insects - structures found only on fossils hundreds of million years old. Gene expression and morphology were combined in support of the hypothesis and, given that membracids often look like monsters from space, this paper caused quite a stir.
Ceresa basalis in a different colour
Alas, last month two nearly simultaneously published papers thoroughly debunked the re-evolution of ancient wings hypothesis (see below). Oh well, that's science: don't get too attached even to the most exciting hypotheses. Still, the treehoppers had their 15 minutes of fame (or rather 6 months).

Unfortunately, here in Alberta we don't seem to get any of the really spectacular treehoppers, but if you google you can see lots of striking pictures (great collection here). Instead, we have a rather understated and malevolent-looking Ceresa basalis Walker, 1851. This tree-hopping bug is a minor pest in orchards because it uses its saw-like ovipositor to lay eggs in the twigs of fruit trees killing shoots that might have borne fruit. 

The genus Ceresa was coined by Amyot and Serville in 1843, possibly in honour of Ceres the Roman Goddess of Agriculture (and presumably where we get our word 'cereal'). Some taxonomists disagree and use the genus Stictocephala Stål, 1869, which seems to mean 'punctured head'. Perhaps someone will one day coin a new genus Stictohypothesis.

Kazunori, Yoshizawa. 2012. The treehopper's helmet is not homologous with wings (Hemiptera: Membracidae). Systematic Entomology 37(1): 2-6   DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-3113.2011.00606.x

Miko, Istvan; Friedrich, Frank; Yoder, Matthew J; Hines, Heather M; Deitz, Lewis L; Bertone, Matthew A; Seltmann, Katja C; Wallace, Matthew S; Deans, & Andrew R. 2012. On dorsal prothoracic appendages in treehoppers (Hemiptera: Membracidae) and the nature of morphological evidence. PloS One 7(1): e30137

Prud’homme B, Minervino C, Hocine M, Cande JD, Aouane A, et al. 2011. Body plan innovation in treehoppers through the evolution of an extra wing-likeappendage. Nature 473: 83–86. doi:10.1038/nature09977

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wild Flower Wednesday: Wild Strawberry

Fragrant and tasty - Wild Strawberry
What could be more natural than the desire to add one of Alberta's more common, delicately attractive, and tasty native ground covers to a home garden? Admittedly, Wild Strawberry rarely produces fruit, but the white flowers have plenty of charm, the trefoil leaves are attractive, and the runners are red. They also spread freely and vigorously across garden beds and mulch, crowding out less competitive plants.
Ascending toothed margins, short terminal tooth, and an upper leaf surface without hairs give you Fragaria virginiana.
Alberta actually has two species of wild strawberries: the common Wild Strawberry (Fragaria virginiana) and the more restricted Woodland Strawberry (Fragaria vesca). The latter has leaves where the teeth on the margins diverge, a longer terminal tooth, and a hairy upper surface. I'm not sure if Woodland Strawberry is less aggressive, but Wild Strawberry is not a good choice for the garden. I've been aggressively weeding my sprawling horde for over two years and am barely keeping ahead.
Hybrid Commercial Strawberry
The hybrid commercial strawberry - which is said to have resulted from crosses between Wild Strawberry and the West Coast Beach Strawberry (Fragaria chiloensis) - has leaves that look a bit like Woodland Strawberry. Moreover, commercial strawberries are just as attractive as their wild relatives and put most of their energy into producing fruit, and much less into producing runners.
Small Sweat Bee enjoying Pink Panda
If you like the look of strawberries in your garden, but don't so much like strawberries, then Pink Panda (Fragaria ‘Frel’ x Potentilla) is a good alternative. The pink flowers are highly attractive to pollinators, start blooming early and last all summer, but set very few fruit. We've had them slowly spreading through the Home Bug Garden almost as long as Wild Strawberry, but rarely need to weed them. They make a nice ground cover.
Fragaria Pretty-in-Rose
If you like your ground covers a bit more gaudy, then Fragaria Pretty-in-Rose may be a good choice. I'm not sure what they crossed a strawberry with to get this particular shade of reddish pink, but our 2010 plantings survived last winter and produce moderate numbers of large, tasty, but strange-looking fruit last summer. I'm hoping they pull through with this winter's sparse snow cover.
Fruit of Pretty-in-Rose

Monday, February 20, 2012

Myco Monday: Myxomycete Maybe

Fuzzy myxomycete aka slime mould

'Fungus' is from the Latin for a mushroom, but traditionally the word has been used for any kind of organism that shares some structural similarities with the true fungi (Eumycota). This includes several groups that are now known to be bizarre communal amoebae and not at all related to fungi: the Slime Mo(u)lds. Various slime moulds slither around as acellular amoebae, threads, or slug-like masses of slime engulfing bacteria, yeasts, and other small bits of organic matter. One species, Dictyostelium discoideum, even carries around its own bacteria and 'farms' them.

 When food or moisture becomes limiting, the slimy amoeboid forms turn into what look like mini-mushrooms with a stalk and 'frutification' containing spores. Many are strikingly attractive and all bizarrely interesting. We think these pictures are of the sporulating bodies of a plasmodial slime mould (Class Myxomycetes), possibly in the genus Physarum. One thing that makes us not sure is that none of the pictures that we've seen are as furry as ours. But may it may be that a true fungus has been growing over the slime mould.
Marbled Feather-hair Springtail 
What is for certain is that a very handsome springtail, Ptenothrix marmorata (Packard, 1873), is munching on the furry bladders. The species name, marmorata, means 'Marbled', which is certainly apropos, and the genus name means 'Feather-hair', presumably referring to ornate body setae.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Friday Bug: Whiteflies

Greenhouse Whiteflies having a grand old time on a Pelargonium leaf

On offer for this week’s Friday Bug is a sort of antithesis to last week’s Ebony Bug: the nefarious Whitefly. I think these pictures show the Greehouse Whitefly Trialeurodes vaporariorum (Westwood, 1856) and it is not a good sign when you find them on a plant. Whiteflies (family Alyerodidae) are tiny even as adults (~a millimeter and a half long), and the young are flat, scale-like blobs, and so are easy to miss until your houseplant turns into a sticky mess. Even fungus gnats are large compared to whiteflies, but if you see tiny powdery white motes fluttering around your plant, be prepared for an outbreak.
Tiny + powdery white wings = Whitefly
The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station has a nice webpage where they review control options for a variety of pests of Pelargonium (aka geranium) including several biocontrol agents that are effective against Greenhouse Whitefly. These probably work much better in a large greenhouse, than in a home. I find that insecticidal soap is all I need for home and my small backyard greenhouse. You do have to keep after them, though, and don’t wait until the population is too large.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Pollinator of the Week: Megachile

Megachile the 'big lip' of bees
I hope that I am impressing someone with my ability to identify a bee seen only as a bum protruding from a flower. This should be especially impressive too, since the bee I'm claiming this is, a species of Megachile, belongs to a family defined by its  'big lip'. In old Greek 'mega' means something impressively large and 'chillo' means 'lip'. I could be wrong here, because 'chilli' also means a thousand (must be where we get our 'kilogram', kilometre'). But after working my way through the chapter in Charles Michener's massive Bees of the World (2nd Edition, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007), I know these bees have 'a rectangular labrum that is longer than broad' - aka a big lip.
Snapdragon & Megachile with scopa
The reason that I can be fairly certain of the genus is because unlike many of the bees we are familiar with, species of Megachile do not use their legs to carry pollen, but the undersides of their metasoma (=+/- abdomen). Notice the dense brush of long yellowish hairs above (and also the large mandibles). This field of pollen-collecting hairs is called a 'scopa' (not to be confused with the card game popular in Italy, nor with 'scope' which is what the spellchecker insists on).
Megachile with full scopa over Eurybia conspicua
The abdominal scopa is, perhaps, better seen in my point-and-shoot moment of blurry glory above. The camera obviously preferred the flowers to the bee, but the picture is still illustrative. The common name of these bees, however, is not 'Yellow-bellied Bees', but Leaf-cutter Bees. Consider the large mandibles visible in the snapdragon pollinating bee above - very useful for cutting our circular bits of leaf or petal. These bees nest in burrows in wood and line their nests with plant material. I'm sure some people take offence at this behaviour and pay outrageous sums to have their gardens sprayed to save their roses from a trivial bee tax. In my garden Leaf-cutter Bees seem to prefer my peas, but I still have more than I can eat every year, so I do not begrudge them a safe haven for their young.
Megachile, I think, possibly a male
In fact, I have several of Splendor Awaits experimental bee homes. The only bees that made use of them last summer were Megachile species. A few wasps also seem to be interested, but I guess many of the bees in my backyard nest in the ground and patches of bare soil would do more to encourage them.
Adrian's bee hotels stuffed with leaf circles & baby bees

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wild Flower Wednesday: Twinflower

Two pairs of Twinflowers: Linnaea borealis
Personally, I tend towards liking the smaller things in life. If given the choice between a dinner-plate dahlia and a tiny and delicate wildflower, I'd choose the latter every time. I guess it's good I didn't try to earn my living as a gardener. That would be especially true here, because I have not done very well by this tiny beauty.
Twinflower thriving under aspen
Twinflower is a relative of honeysuckles and snowberries, both of which may feature in some future Wednesday Wildflower. They are interesting plants, but pale in comparison to their tiny cousin. My particular HBG experiment came via an accidental severing of a Twinflower while taking a soil sample. I couldn't bear to toss it out, so I've tried to nurture it along. Maybe the soil isn't acid enough, or maybe some essential mycorrhiza didn't make the transition, but my plant barely made it through the last two winters. It's not happy. I'd suggest trying a nursery bred plant if your are interested, and if you can find one.
Thrips like Twinflower too
I'm not alone in liking Twinflower. It is claimed that the great systematist Linnaeus also loved the plant, and apparently coerced a colleague into naming it after him. Wikipedia has what seems to be an informative write-up - and a great picture of Linnaeus mugging with the flower. The subtle attractions of the Linnaea continue into modern times and I especially like this doubly twinned vignette.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Myco Monday: Scaly Pholiota

Probably Pholiota squarrosa
We think this is a cluster of Scaly Pholiota (Pholiota squarrosa) sprouting from the base of an aspen. We think this mostly because we have a mycologist friend who said that's what he thinks it is and because it more or less seems to be doing what Scaly Photiola is supposed to do. When younger (e.g. here) the 'scaly' bit of the name is easier to understand, but these are mature, possibly over mature, mushrooms and probably well on their way to becoming fungus gnats.

According to David Aurora "Pholiota is the largest genus of brown-spored, wood-inhabiting agarics" and with over 200 species, some poisonous, some apparently not, it's probably not the kind of mushroom you'd want to take to dinner. Leave these for the flies, beetles, and microphotographers.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Adventures in Spider Misidentification: Tegeneria not

Mystery Basement Spider
Although we have a caveat in the sidebar (HBG Names & Claims) about the ids on this blog and our openness to suggested corrections, we've had few alternative hypotheses offered. Ted MacRae and Matthias Buck helped on occasion, but I can't think of any others offhand. Such an absence of feedback can lead to a sense of complacency and a mistaken feeling that one knows what one is doing.
Tegenaria not!
Last December I had a post on what was afoot in the basement wherein I featured a picture of what I thought was an immature Barn/Sink/Basement Funnel Weaver Spider Tegenaria domestica. I arrived at this conclusion because I knew we've had the spider in its funnel webs in the basement for years and after consulting the information on BugGuide, I decided it was close enough and what else could it be anyway? But fortunately, last week John Sloan discovered the HBG and was good enough to tell me that I was probably wrong.
Not an upside-down Funnel Weaver
To John, the legs didn't look right but were reminiscent (e.g. here) of a family of spiders not known to be in Alberta: the Pimoidae. This spider family is on the West Coast and our guest room in the basement has hosted many visits by West Coast relatives and scientists - so colonization by suitcase is well within the realm of possibilities. I think the match looks good, both the habitus of the spider and the upside-down habit in the web, but as John pointed out Pimoidae is close to the Linyphiidae - a family of mostly tiny spiders that is very diverse in Alberta.
Pimoa or Linyphiidae: Lepthyphantes cf nebulosus
Our Mystery Basement Spiders are only about 4-5 mm long (chelicerae to spinnerets) at the moment and probably just juveniles. We'll be hoping that some make it to adults so that we can send them to John for a more authoritative identification. But wait - there is more! John has offered several other corrections to past posts and I have updated those posts and will be sharing more Adventures in Spider Misidentification with you in the future. Everyone is invited to join in and help (mis)identify a spider.

UPDATE: Thanks to Alberta Bugs, Robin Leech, and ultimately and authoritatively, Don Buckle - we have a winner: definitely Linyphiidae and most likely Megalepthyphantes (Lepthyphantes) nebulosus - a spider that likes people (synanthrope).

Friday, February 10, 2012

Friday Bug: Ebony Bug Corimelaena

Ebony Bug on goldenrod
Time flies quickly when you are bug blogging. Here it is another Friday and time for a bug post. In the interests of brevity, I offer you an Ebony Bug, Corimelaena sp. (family Thyreocoridae). And brief it is - about 3 mm long. Looking somewhat more like a beetle than a bug, and reputed to feed on flowers, seeds, and fruits of many plants, this is still a welcome addition to the garden. They are common enough in the summer, but never associated with any noticeable damage - the perfect garden herbivore.

For some reason not at all obvious to me, Ebony Bugs used to be called Negro Bugs (and still are in most texts). I've been trying to decide how I would feel if there were a family of pale bugs with red noses that were called 'Caucasian Bugs'. I've decided it would be strange, but people are strange and I'd probably just scratch my head and go about my business. But then, I do like bugs and not everyone feels that way.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wild Flower Wednesday: Alberta's Provincial Flower

Longhorn Beetle  Clytus ruricola  probably doing a fair job of pollinating an Alberta Wild Rose
What better way to re-start Wildflower Wednesday than with the official Provincial Flower of Alberta: Prickly Wild Rose Rosa acicularis (aka Arctic Flame)? Well, there are roads reputed to be paved with such good intentions. I've assumed our wild roses were acicularis, but a little bit of research shows that there are actually 4 species of wild rose reported from Alberta.
Flower colour varies within a species and in age of bloom, but this bumble bee is a good pollinator: Bombus ternarius
 The USDA lists Rosa acicularis, arkansana, blanda, and woodsii in Alberta. Unfortunately, the USDA maps show distributions only by state/province. If the species is there in said political entity, then the whole province gets coloured-in. Finer details like ‘does it grow on my land’ are obscure. Still, painful experience assures me we don’t have Smooth Wild Rose (R. blanda) – it has few thorns. Also, the above ground canes of insidious thorns persist, so it seems unlikely we have Prairie Rose (arkansana), which dies back each winter.
Looking more globular than pear-shaped,
these hips are probably Rosa woodsii
That leaves us with the Provincial Flower, Prickly Wild Rose, and the other, just as prickly, Wild Rose (Rosa woodsii). For most characters, these species overlap – and in fact they hybridize - so intermediate forms may be common where they overlap in distribution (aka where I live). The easiest way to tell these species apart is by the distribution of prickles and glandular hairs in relation to the stipules, but this is getting pretty technical and not possible to resolve from photographs. I will say that I did key out one plant to acicularis, but most of the pictures I have on hand seem more likely woodsii. I probably have a mix of both species.
Added bonus - prickly leaf galls caused by
minute gall wasp Diplolepis bicolor
Seems like I will need to wait until next summer to do a more thorough analysis of what wild roses our lands are supporting, including the one started from a cutting that is now occupying a good portion of the backend of the Home Bug Garden. Until then, take my word for it – both are excellent for pollinators and both host a diversity of other interesting insects. One great example, is a tiny wasp (Diplolepis bicolour) that causes Prickly Rose Gall on the leaves. And these galls, in turn, host other insects. You can barely discern one to the left in the picture below - another tiny wasp artfully inserting its eggs into the gall - probably so its larvae can eat the wasp that made the gall.
Tiny chalcidoid wasp putting its eggs into a Prickly Rose Gall
Colourful fungi like the rose rusts (Phragmidium spp.) also make use of our wild roses. As long as they leave our domestic roses alone, I don't think I mind the rusts eating the wild roses.
Aecial stage of rose rust on Wild Rose (probably R. woodsii)