Friday, May 20, 2011

Its a Sawfly, But Not Really

Tenthredo livida is a common sawfly of holartic distribution that is often found in hedgerows and woodlands. The female lays eggs into plant tissue, using saw-like ovipositor to make the inscision. Larvae are polyphagus, feeding on a variety of plats such as hazel, willow and even bracken. The adults will hunt flies and take nectar from plants (1).
Tenthredo livida
Interestingly, calling T. livida a sawfly, or "Symphyta", is now considered incorrect. The Symphyta are a basal grade that leads to the long waisted hymenoptera. Therefore Symphyta is not a monophyletic group, that is within the group not all relatives are included (2). The terms "Symphyta" and saw fly are still used however, in an informal way.
  1. Calmasur and Ozbek, 2006. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington 108 pp. 139-144
  2. Resh and Carde, 2009. Encyclopedia of Insects p. 474

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