Red Fir Cone Maggot

A previous post (Red Fir 09-29-2014) discussed the red fir (Abies magnifica).

As I mentioned before, red fir cones are rarely seen on the ground. The female cones are borne erect on 1 year old branches in the uppermost crown of the tree. The cone disintegrates on the tree from September to mid-October, scattering seeds to the wind. Squirrels climb red firs, cut the immature cones off the tree, drop the cones to the ground and then retrieve the cones to obtain the seeds. It was a race between the squirrel and me to grab this cone near Medicine Lake (Siskiyou County CA).

I noticed several “worm holes” in the red fir cones. Tearing the cone apart I discovered two larvae or maggots. There are five different genera of insects that cause damage to red fir cones and seeds – cone maggots, cone moths and chalcids (tiny dark-colored wasps). I do not know to which species this larvae belongs. Cone maggots (Earomyia sp.) are very common and can cause significant damage to red fir populations. Could this be a cone maggot??

This post is not going anywhere. I simply found the larvae in a red fir cone interesting.


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