Sawflies - Symphyta

Sawflies are one half of the taxonomic order Hymenoptera. The Sawfly branch is called Symphyta, the other branch is called Apocrita and includes ants, bees and wasps. What distinguishes sawflies from all the rest is their lack of a 'wasp waist'. The name sawfly comes from the female's ovipositor, with which she uses like a saw or drill to deposit her eggs inside plants.

The largest family of sawflies, with hundreds of species in France. Many of them are garden pests with communally living larvae that can strip a plant in days. The adults have 9 segmented antennae. Below is a Tenthredinidae larva, possibly Dolerus sp, photographed in damp 'improved' pasture in the Brenne, May (identified by Gilles Jardinier on le monde des insectes forum).

References and Further Reading:

Insects of Britain and Western Europe by Michael Chinery will give you a tiny selection of typical sawflies. It's a good starting point, but never rely on it alone for an identification.

A post on the Curled Rose Sawfly Allantus cinctus Tenthredinidae on our daily blog Days on the Claise.

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