Symphyta

'sawflies'

SYMPHYTA is generally referred to as ‘Sawflies’, although the group also contains the rather different Wood-wasps. Sawflies vary considerably in size, colour and habits, but are united in one aspect, the thorax joins the abdomen without any obvious constriction. In other words they are not wasp-waisted. In some species this may be the only obvious visual difference from some solitary wasps. Varieties of Tenthredo may readily be confused with similarly banded wasps. The great majority of sawflies are plant feeders.

Female sawflies have an intricately-shaped saw which can be extended down from the abdomen to slit stems or leaves of plants so that eggs can be laid in the wound. This is the reason that many are responsible for plant diseases in crops such as soft fruit or flowers. In laying their eggs, they transmit viruses to the host plant. Sawfly larvae may be differentiated from butterfly and moth caterpillars by the presence of five or more pro-legs, on the hind part of the body. Most sawflies have little or no visible ovipositor. Wood-wasps have the ovipositor sheath permanently jutting out and can look quite menacing, though they are quite innocent.

The most useful and helpful Sawfly Forum specialises in these insects and is available online through Publications.


SUB-ORDER SYMPHYTA – Sawflies & Woodwasps


SUPER-FAMILY / Family

XYELOIDEA 

      Xyelidae – oviposit in pine cones

 

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MEGALODONTOIDEA

Pamphilidae – on trees

 

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Megalodontidae -


TENTHREDINOIDEA

 Argidae –  feed on umbels, oviposit in woody plants

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Blasticotomidae – in ferns

 

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Cimbicidae –  larvae in pines and honeysuckle

 

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Diprionidae–  huge family with many different habits

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Tenthredinidae - another large family with different forms

 

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SIRICOIDEA

Siricidae - wood-wasps

 

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Xiphidriidae –  on deciduous trees


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CEPHIDOIDEA

Cephidae –  stem-borers in herbaceous plants & grasses

 

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ORUSSOIDEA

Orussidae –  some are parasitoids

 

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