Monday, February 11, 2008

Manioc plant

The image you see is that of the leaves of the manioc plant, the one that produces the potatoes-like roots used by Indians for thousands of years for making manioc meal, tapioca and the other by-products so important in the everyday nutrition of most Brazilians, even today. This manioc plant is at Bosque Santa Lucia, where we have a few plants just to show what manioc looks like. When I took the picture, my objective was to show the wart-like protrusions on the leaves. To be honest about it, I thought they had something to do with ants, but after three days of research on the internet, I discover that they are created by small flies, which lay their eggs on the upper leaf surfaces. The larvae cause abnormal cell growth forming galls. Although I found a few references in this regard, I didn't find one image! I'm sure there must be one or more in the scientific reports on the subject, but just in case, I present this one.

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