While examining goldenrod for head galls, I noticed one of the heads which had rolled up leaves. These weren't the tight clustered leaves of the goldenrod head gall shown last week. They remained green and flexible.
|Aphids in rolled leaves|
A few of the leaves also had green larvae nestled in the frass. When I removed two of the larvae, each had an aphid attached which I could pull away with my fingernail. I sent the pictures to Chris Barnhart who identified them as syrphid fly larvae which feed on aphids.
|Syrphid fly larva with an aphid.|
"Larvae of predaceous species feed on aphids and other soft-bodied insects and play an important role in suppressing populations of phytophagous insects. Larvae move along plant surfaces, lifting their heads to grope for prey, seizing them and sucking them dry and discarding the skins. A single syrphid larva can consume hundreds of aphids in a month." UCDavis.edu
All of this simply demonstrates that there is a lot more life in a goldenrod than initially meets the eye.