Gall Wasp

Oak Spangle Galls.jpg

"I always smile when I pass the gall wasps in their case on Nature's Library. Alfred Kinsey started his scientific career studying them before moving on to making the first academic study of human sexuality. He came up with the Kinsey Scale in 1948, with people at either extreme being heterosexual or homosexual, as well as group X for those with no sexual attraction... and group X, that's me!"

Bryony  (Visitor Team)

Gall wasps; tiny are solitary wasps who inject their eggs into plant tissues, causing growths on leaves or “galls” that provide food and protection for their larvae.The oak marble gall wasp (Andricus kollari) is one of the two most common species of gall wasps in Britain. It is an introduced species that was deliberately brought to the UK  in order to produce ink, which is taken from wasp galls.

American scientist Alfred Kinsey is best known for his ground-breaking work on human sexuality, but for most of his academic life, he studied entomology and botany; for twenty years he researched these tiny gall wasps. 

While analysing his gall wasp collection, Kinsey developed methods he would refine in his study of human sexuality.  Although he was a professor of entomology at Indiana University, he began teaching the “marriage course” in 1938. He spent the remainder of his life producing a series of ground-breaking, and often controversial, publications. He was famously non-judgemental about the behaviours reported by participants in his study. He developed a scale measuring sexual orientation, now known as the Kinsey Scale, which ranges from 0 to 6, where 0 is exclusively heterosexual and 6 is exclusively homosexual. A rating of X for "no socio-sexual contacts or reactions" was later added.

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