Abia aenea - Cryptic Clubhorn

Abia aenea is very similar to Abia lonicerae and is widespread across southern England and Wales north to Yorkshire (Musgrove, 2022). Both species share the same habitat and foodplants, but the larvae have subtle differences. Adults cannot usually be determined from images, but specimens can be determined by antennal shape and the microsculpture of the mesepisternum. The female of this species has more slender antennae, with the fourth antennomere (the one after the long segment) being about three times as long as broad, (viewed side on) and both sexes have dense microsculpture between the punctures on the mesepisternum.

Larvae feed on honeysuckles and other members of the Caprifoliaceae. Larvae of this species have been reared from eggs deposited on Leycesteria formosa in a garden. They are very similar in appearance to Abia lonicerae larvae but lack a black mark posterior to the spiracle (postspiracular lobe) on each abdominal segment. This mark is present in Abia lonicerae. Note: do not confuse with the black mark present on the suprapedal lobe at the top of each abdominal leg which is present in both species.

Jump to other Cimbicidae

Size: approx. 12mm

GB IUCN Status: Least Concern
GB Rarity Status: Nationally Scarce

Distribution: England

Flight period: April to June

Plant associations: Caprifoliaceae including Lonicera fragrantissima (Winter-flowering Honeysuckle), Symphoricarpos albus (Snowberry), Leycesteria formosa (Himalayan Honeysuckle).


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Liston A, Knight G, Sheppard D, Broad G, Livermore L (2014) Checklist of British and Irish Hymenoptera - Sawflies, ‘Symphyta’. Biodiversity Data Journal 2: e1168. https://doi.org/10.3897/BDJ.2.e1168

Liston, A.D., Savina, H., Nagy, Z.T., Sonet, G. and Boeve, J.L., 2014. Taxonomy, phylogeny and host plants of some Abia sawflies (Hymenoptera, Cimbicidae). Zootaxa, 3821(1), pp.125-132.

Musgrove, A.J. 2022. A review of the status of sawflies of Great Britain - Phase 1: families other than Tenthredinidae. Natural England, unpublished

Taeger, A., 1998. Bestimmungsschlüssel der Keulhornblattwespen Deutschlands (Hymenoptera: Cimbicidae). Pflanzenwespen Deutschlands (Hymenoptera, Symphyta). Kommentierte Bestandsaufnahme. Goecke & Evers, Keltern, pp.193-205.