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Insect and Spider Identification: Is this an insect nest?

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Forum: Insect and Spider IdentificationReplies: 13, Views: 195
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udovede
Hasbrouck Heights, NJ

November 13, 2012
11:36 AM

Post #9332176

This mysterious thing is in a tree in my backyard. Itís about 4Ē long and itís the only one in the tree.

Any idea what it is? A hive? Fungus? Alien pod?

Thanks for your help!

Thumbnail by udovede
Click the image for an enlarged view.

themoonhowl

themoonhowl
Prairieville, LA
(Zone 9a)

November 14, 2012
10:47 AM

Post #9333076

Any chance of a closer view? Wasps make hives in that shape, and some are very intricate, but that looks more structured than any of the pictures I have seen. Some species of birds make similar shaped nests and are more into "weaving" in the fashion of your pic. The bottom of the object in your picture seems to be "sprouting" bits of whatever material it is made of.
udovede
Hasbrouck Heights, NJ

November 14, 2012
5:26 PM

Post #9333394

Thank you! I'll get more pictures from different angles. I think the bottom "fringe" is actually pine needles forced downwards.

themoonhowl

themoonhowl
Prairieville, LA
(Zone 9a)

November 14, 2012
6:32 PM

Post #9333450

It will be interesting to see just what it is.

kwanjin

kwanjin
West Valley City, UT
(Zone 7a)

November 14, 2012
10:02 PM

Post #9333569

I'm curious, too.
udovede
Hasbrouck Heights, NJ

November 15, 2012
6:19 AM

Post #9333700

Here are some pics I took this morning. It's about 7' up in the air so I had to zoom to get closer. Hope they help!

Thanks!

Thumbnail by udovede   Thumbnail by udovede   Thumbnail by udovede      
Click an image for an enlarged view.

themoonhowl

themoonhowl
Prairieville, LA
(Zone 9a)

November 15, 2012
7:30 AM

Post #9333756

The last pic looks like the "nest" is woven around a small branch...the thing that keeps stumping me is the almost perfect symmetry and the color...it really looks like a woven gourd. I have spent a few hours looking at wasp nests and images of "pendulous" bird nests as there are a number of birds in your area that make nests of that sort, just not that "fine"

Here is the contact info for Cornell University dept of Ornithology. They are the "bird folks" and I think if you e-mailed them the pics, they could confirm if this is indeed a bird's nest or not.

http://www.birds.cornell.edu/AllAboutBirds/contact

As for wasps...I found one nest with that circular pattern, but it was made of mud, not grasses.

Hopefully someone will join in with an answer of some new ideas.
udovede
Hasbrouck Heights, NJ

November 15, 2012
8:58 AM

Post #9333848

Thanks for the info. I will certainly contact them!

Even though it looks like it's made of reed or other plant material, it really is more like a solid item embossed with the wicker-like design.

And because it's so small (about 4" long and 2" in width), I have a hard time believing that a bird made it.

I'll let you know what I find out from them.

themoonhowl

themoonhowl
Prairieville, LA
(Zone 9a)

November 15, 2012
9:06 AM

Post #9333855

Please do...it is a true puzzlement and I really hope it can be identified.
udovede
Hasbrouck Heights, NJ

November 16, 2012
11:50 AM

Post #9334731

Thank you, themoonhowl, for your suggestion to contact Cornell! Here is their surprising reply:


I posted your photos here at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to draw on the wide expertise we have here. Not surprisingly, I got back a wide range of responses. The consensus, however, says that this is actually a pine cone. Hereís a link to photos of one pine cone from the UK:

http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3090/2738802481_e5aed43353_z.jpg


Some kinds of conifers have cones with a similar sort of "wicker" pattern to them. Hereís a photo that isnít the same as yours but is definitely a pine cone:

/photos/23619059@N00/2914233638/

vitrsna

vitrsna
Colima
Mexico
(Zone 11)

November 16, 2012
3:24 PM

Post #9334946

Well, if it is a pine cone, wouldn't there be others like it on the tree? It looks like a good sized tree...shouldn't it have more than one pine cone? Or am i missing something here?

themoonhowl

themoonhowl
Prairieville, LA
(Zone 9a)

November 16, 2012
5:31 PM

Post #9335035

I am pleased that they answered your e-mail. The organic search was next...followed by Alien Life Forms...grin

Have you not observed mature cones on that tree in the past.?
Flapdoodle
Minot, ND

November 17, 2012
4:54 PM

Post #9335778

After much thought, all I can come up with is that it could simply be an aberrant cone - see http://en.academic.ru/pictures/enwiki/76/Larch_with_unusual_terminal_branch.JPG for an example of a terminal larch cone.

kwanjin

kwanjin
West Valley City, UT
(Zone 7a)

November 18, 2012
12:11 PM

Post #9336299

Nature never ceases to amaze.

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