Random Insect: Common sawfly

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Common sawfly (Hymenoptera: Tenthredinidae: Dolerus nitens) photographed 03/31/2013 near Palmyra, Michigan.

Spring temperatures have been slow to arrive this year, and although it’s been relatively cold we did reach almost 60F the other day. In the warm afternoon sun I found this common sawfly (Hymenoptera: Tenthredinidae: Dolerus nitens) resting on my wife’s car. This particular species is known to emerge very early in the spring, making it one of the few I have seen so far this season.

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Common sawfly (Hymenoptera: Tenthredinidae: Dolerus nitens) photographed 03/31/2013 near Palmyra, Michigan.

Sawflies are differentiated from bees and wasps in part by their characteristic “fat” waists. In bees and wasps, the first abdominal segment joins the thorax in a narrow segment. In sawflies, the first abdominal segment is relatively wide:

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Common sawfly (Hymenoptera: Tenthredinidae: Dolerus nitens) photographed 03/31/2013 near Palmyra, Michigan.

Although sawflies are named for the large, saw-like ovipositors possessed by females, these wasp-like insects are unable to sting. Almost all species feed on plant material, and the caterpillar larvae can often be seen feeding on their particular host plants.

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Common sawfly (Hymenoptera: Tenthredinidae: Dolerus nitens) photographed 03/31/2013 near Palmyra, Michigan.

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About Jeremy Sell

Science and nature nerd.
This entry was posted in Entomology, Random Insect and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Random Insect: Common sawfly

  1. bethignaut says:

    I like beginning spring – we’re barely into the 40’s here in Minneapolis – thinking about the very little things that, when it’s warm and the garden is abuzz with life, I would overlook.
    Thanks for starting out my day with this reminder.

    Like

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