elm sawfly larvae
The mature elm sawfly larva is a striking 2 ¼ inch animal that looks like a big, yellow caterpillar with a black stripe down its back. The “saw” in sawfly comes from the female’s egg laying apparatus, which she uses to make a hole in the underside of a leaf (or twig, say some sources) in late spring. They are also known to feed on the foliage of several other tree species. We do not give extermination advice. Females commonly have a yellow banded abdomen. with a creepy-looking head https://bugguide.net/node/view/1700150/bgimage that looks like something that the BugLady saw in an X Files episode. Populations can be somewhat cyclical, and the larvae may be minor forest pests in peak years, but harm is minimized because they’re feeding late in a tree’s growing season. Sawflies are the insects of the suborder Symphyta within the order Hymenoptera alongside ants, bees and wasps. Pupation usually takes place the following spring, although some prepupae pass the second winter before pupating. The larvae eat their host’s leaves, wrapping their rear half around twigs while feeding (and curling up tightly at rest). The larvae spin tough, papery cocoons in the litter or just below the surface of the soil. They are vegetarians as larvae and adults. While feeding, the larvae usually coil their posterior around a leaf or twig. Genus and species: Cimbex americana Leach. Instead, sawfly larvae feed on plant foliage. They are also known to feed on the foliage of several other tree species. The pebbly-textured larvae come in a rainbow of colors: https://bugguide.net/node/view/1724940/bgimage, https://bugguide.net/node/view/1495194/bgimage, https://bugguide.net/node/view/1421517/bgimage, https://bugguide.net/node/view/1525493/bgimage, True to her name, elm is the main host plant, but she also oviposits on willow (another favorite), and incidentally on maple, birch, willow, basswood, cottonwood, poplars, ironwood, plum, alder, boxelder, and apple. There have been a number of previous episodes about sawflies – here are two of them: Sawflies Among Us and Slug Sawfly: A Skeletonizer. As Eric Eaton says in his bugeric blog, “They do not have a stinger. A fleshy structure on the abdomen of some insect larvae that functions as a leg, but lacks the five segments of a true insect leg. Sawfly larvae produce wasp-like insects. Adult elm sawflies also cause damage by cutting gashes in the bark of small limbs with their mandibles in order to feed on tree sap, sometimes resulting in girdling and death of the limbs. With ¾” adults and 2” larvae, the Elm Sawfly (Cimbex americana) is the largest (or “among the largest,” depending on who you read) sawfly in North America. After mating, females cut slits in the undersurfaces of leaves where they deposit eggs. While feeding, the larvae usually coil their posterior around a leaf or twig. Mature larvae drop to the ground and search for pupation sites among the debris at the base of the host tree, where they spin cocoons and overwinter as prepupae (non-feeding larvae). The details, and especially the images, have been verified and only trusted sources have been used. Both have smoky wings, orange antennae, and a white spot at the base of the thorax. We strive to provide accurate information, but we are mostly just amateurs attempting to make sense of a diverse natural world. The (usually) blue-black adults are sexually dimorphic (“two forms”). Arthropod Museum Everything else copyright © 2003-2020 Iowa State University, unless otherwise noted. Cimbicids lack that famous “wasp waist,” have prominently knobbed antennae, and some of the heftier species can be mistaken for hornets. At maturity, the caterpillar-like larva can be two inches (43 millimeters or so) long. Sawfly larvae produce wasp-like insects. Pink coloration is not common, most larvae are green to yellow in color. Adult has glabrous thorax with white/yellow spot above, orange antennae. Elm sawfly larvae cause sporadic defoliation of elms and willows, especially in urban settings. Adults have sturdy jaws that they use to pierce and even girdle the bark of twigs so they can feed on the sap. Their larvae resemble moth or butterfly caterpillars until you compare eyes (sawflies have fewer) or count legs (sawflies have more). The largest North American sawfly. The common name comes from the saw-like appearance of the ovipositor, which the females use to cut into the plants where they lay their eggs. This sawfly website has been developed by Andrew Green to help promote the identification and recording of sawflies across Britain and Ireland. Larvae yellowish-white with black dorsal stripe. However, it is not even closely related to true caterpillars. Fayetteville, AR 72701, Arkansas Arthropods in History and Folklore. It follows on from the success of Stuart Dunlop's Facebook group - British and Irish Sawflies (Symphyta). Larvae hatch in 7–10 days and feed on foliage until late summer or early autumn. Males’ legs are massive, and they may have a red or black abdomen. Sawflies are related to bees and wasps. The BugLady got a few “what’s this dynamite caterpillar?” pictures from a friend toward the end of summer – one of a larva, and one of a pupal case in not-very-good shape. The larvae spin tough, papery cocoons in the litter or just below the surface of the soil. They’re in the large order Hymenoptera (ants, bees, wasps, and sawflies) and in the family Cimbicidae, which includes about 200 species (12 in North America). Larvae have chemical defenses, ejecting fluids from glands near spiracles; often coil hind end around twigs; overwinter in cocoons, and pupate in spring, not considered a forestry problem, but can defoliate shade/ornamental elms and willows (, Hymenoptera (Ants, Bees, Wasps and Sawflies), ("Symphyta" - Sawflies, Horntails, and Wood Wasps), Ants, Bees, Wasps and Sawflies (Hymenoptera), "Symphyta" - Sawflies, Horntails, and Wood Wasps, National Audubon Society Field Guide to Insects and Spiders. Caterpillars mature to become butterflies and moths. We have tried spraying, and picking manually, but recently tried a vacuum cleaner, a shop-vac, with the creavace tool, and it sucked them all off from the branches with no problem! Females have thickened femurs on the second and third pair of legs, and they usually have pale, wrap-around stripes on the abdomen that don’t quite touch at the midline. At rest the larvae roll into a characteristic tight coil. Though they look like caterpillars, these are actually the larvae of Elm Sawflies, Cimbex americana. Family: Cimbicidae Adults appear in early May to mid-June, depending on the latitude. Disclaimer: Dedicated naturalists volunteer their time and resources here to provide this service. The species is native to North America and is found from Newfoundland to Florida, westward to northern Texas, and northward to British Columbia, the Yukon, and Alaska.


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