Tree Graffiti

Graffiti, not of the type that you’d immediately assume; this is more or less nature’s graffiti that I came across in the High Country this Easter. What was surprising is that this graffiti was evident on just one tree and it was covered with an almost endless variety of scribbles.

Tree Graffiti - Nunniong Plains Victoria

Tree Graffiti – Nunniong Plains Victoria

Tree Graffiti - Nunniong Plains Victoria

Tree Graffiti – Nunniong Plains Victoria

Tree Graffiti - Nunniong Plains Victoria

Tree Graffiti – Nunniong Plains Victoria

Tree Graffiti - Nunniong Plains Victoria

Tree Graffiti – Nunniong Plains Victoria

Tree Graffiti - Nunniong Plains Victoria

Tree Graffiti – Nunniong Plains Victoria

Tree Graffiti - Nunniong Plains Victoria

Tree Graffiti – Nunniong Plains Victoria

Tree Graffiti - Nunniong Plains Victoria

Tree Graffiti – Nunniong Plains Victoria

Tree Graffiti - Nunniong Plains Victoria

Tree Graffiti – Nunniong Plains Victoria

By the way, the graffiti, or squiggles, are made by the larvae of the Scribbly Gum Moth (Ogmograptis scribula). The moth lays the eggs between the layers of old and new bark and, as the larvae burrow into the new bark, they reveal these distinctive marks after the old bark falls away. The narrow parts of the tracks show the larvae at their youngest and the thickest parts are where they eventually pupate into the fully formed moth (a very tiny one at that).

As a further note, the Scribbly Gum Moth is apparently native to the ACT, NSW and Qld, so perhaps an errant moth or two had found their way to the Nunniong Plains and landed on what looked like a familiar tree. As very little is known of the Scribbly Gum Moth, one can only guess at what may have happened.