Abia candens - Scarce Scabious Cluhorn

A broad distribution, although more local than Abia sericea within its range (Musgrove, 2022). Abia candens is similar to Abia sericea. The antennae in both sexes are dark on the apical and basal segments with middle segments yellow. In Abia sericea the antennae are usually all yellow and never with segment three bicolorous.

Larvae feed on members of the Dipsacaceae family which includes scabious species. Eggs are deposited into pockets cut along the edge of the leaf blade. Each pocket may be expanded to accommodate an additional egg. Eggs develop for two weeks. The larvae develop over a three to four week period. A cocoon is made below ground. Abia candens larvae lack a row of black dots on the dorsal midline and have an entirely pale suprapedal lobe.

Jump to other Cimbicidae

Size: approx. 10mm

GB IUCN Status: Least Concern
GB Rarity Status: None

Distribution: England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland

Flight period: May to August

Plant associations: Dipsacaceae including Succisa pratensis (Devil's-bit Scabious), Knautia arvensis (Field Scabious).


Benson, R.B., 1952. Handbooks for the Identification of British Insects. Hymenoptera, Symphyta, Vol 6, Section 2(a-c), Royal Entomological Society, London

Kangas, E. 1960: Über die Biologie und die Larve von Abia candens. Kon. (Hym., Cimbicidae). - Annales Entomologici Fennici, Helsinki 26: 51-56

Hackston, M (2014). Family Cimbicidae: Key to the British species. https://sites.google.com/site/mikesinsectkeyshymenoptera/Home/hymenoptera/symphyta/superfamily-tenthredinoidea/family-cimbicidae [Accessed 25Apr2019]

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.; Späth, J. 2006: On the Biology of Abia nitens (Linné, 1758): a Thermophile Sawfly with a Diurnal Larval Feeding-Pattern (Hymenoptera: Symphyta: Cimbicidae). pp. 129-138.

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 Natural England, unpublished

Savina, H. and Liston, A., 2009. European Abia species feeding on Dipsacaceae, with description of the larva of A. fulgens Zaddach, 1863 (Hymenoptera, Symphyta, Cimbicidae). Bulletin de la Société entomologique de France, 114(3), pp.265-276.