apiary creatures

Honeysuckle sawfly: a colorful, nectar-sipping, stingless plant wasp

Cimbicid sawfly, genus Abia. Photo by Rusty Burlew.

Above is a Cimbicid sawfly, in the genus Abia. This northwest species with a golden sheen is called a honeysuckle sawfly.

Although I posted of photo of this insect way back in April, I didn’t get an identification until today. Thanks to Eric R. Eaton (http://bugeric.blogspot.com), author of the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, this critter is actually a type of wasp in the family Cimbicidae and the genus Abia that is known as a “sawfly.”

Further research reveals that this particular specimen is known as a “honeysuckle sawfly” because the larvae feed on honeysuckle foliage and then spin silken cocoons in which they pupate. The adult sawflies feed on nectar and do not sting.

Worldwide there are 130 species of sawflies in 6 genera. They do not have “wasp waists”–instead, the area where the abdomen and thorax attach is wide. The insects are large—in the range of 18-25 mm long—and the antennae are slightly clubbed. The herbivorous larvae are eruciform, which means caterpillar-shaped.

Honey Bee Suite


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