Wildlife of the Week – Sawfly

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You might notice around the site or at home some trees that have had some of their leaves completely nibbled away.  While there are lots of bugs and beasties that can be responsible for this, some of the main culprits are sawfly caterpillars.

Sawflies, like many insects, start from eggs that hatch into caterpillars, and then spin cocoons before they become adults.  They are related to bees, wasps and ants, although if you see an adult sawfly you might notice that it doesn’t have a narrow waist.

They are called sawflies because the females have an egg-laying part (an ovipositor) that is like a tiny saw. The female use this to cut slits in stems and leaves where she lays batches of eggs.

The eggs hatch into very hungry caterpillars who feast on the leaves of the plant they have hatched on. The caterpillars are similar to butterfly and moth caterpillars, but if you look closely at one, you can see that they have at least 6 pairs of legs, while moths and butterflies never have more than 5.


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