Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Post 424 - National Insect Week - Some facts on Sawflies

A Sawfly from Silton this year
- I think its Tenthredo mesomela
Hey everyone today's post is post 424 and as you'll all know I've recently been on a walk with a great local entomologist called Roger Key. We use a load of different techniques to catch all the bugs but the one I like to use the most is using my eyes! I usually go to a piece of Hogweed and check if there's much on it, then sweep at the plant and get whatever is on the plant. Sometimes you'll get Hover Flies,  smaller flies, May Flies, Beetles and loads of other things, but the ones that I do really like seeing are the Sawflies. These are quite nice insects and you don't always need a net to see them up close, a lot of those I see seem quite happy for me to photograph them.

Well I did a bit of research on these fabulous insects and here are some facts on Sawflies:

This one has a meal!
  • Sawflies all seem to be quite small as the largest one ever (Hoplitolyda duolunica) was discovered to be only 55 millimetres long. Just 2.2 inches!
  • It seems usually that sawflies are only about 0.1 to 0.8 inches in length, so this one was quite exceptional. 
  • Most Sawflies feed on leaves, fruit, pollen and nectar. Only a few species are carnivorous and feed on other insects.
  • There are 9 families of Sawfly and belong to the order 'Hymenoptera' - the same order as ants, bees and wasps!
This is one from last year - also Tenthredo mesomela  I think
  • The name Hymenoptera is related to the wings of insects in this order. They have two pairs, fore wings and hind wings which are hooked together on each side by rows of tiny hooks. There wings are said to be 'married' and the Greek god of marriage was Hymen is where the name comes from
  • Sawflies have been around quite a long time, about 200 million years is the estimate!
  • Some types of Sawfly live in twigs and stems. One particular species, the Pine Sawfly starts its life in pinecones!
  • Sawflies, like Hoverflies, are completely harmless, some will mimic themselves to look like dangerous bees and wasps, but they cannot hurt you.
This one might be Rhogogaster viridis
  • The ovipositor looks like a stinger, but, in effect, it does not bring death, but life, as this is where the eggs are deposited from!
  • The name 'Sawfly' comes from the fact that the ovipositor is shaped like a jackknife! 
  • Most species of Sawfly complete their entire life-cycle in just a year, and the adults live for only a week!

I hope you are enjoying 30 Days Wild and National Insect week as much as I am.

Again, before I end off I'd like to thank the Wildlife Trusts, National Insect Week and the Royal Entomological Society for all the great support you've been giving me and I'm always happy to help you out whenever I can!

Hope you enjoyed,


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