Abia lonicerae - Honeysuckle Clubhorn

Abia lonicerae is very similar to Abia aenea. Despite taxonomic confusion between the two, the acceptable records for lonicerae appear to indicate a broad range north to Lothian (Musgrove, 2022). Both species share the same habitat and foodplants, but the larvae are apparently different in appearance. Adults cannot usually be determined from images but specimens can be determined by antennal shape and the microsculpture of the mesepisternum. The female of lonicerae has more bulbous antennae, with the fourth antennomere being only about twice as long as its widest point, (viewed side on) and both sexes lack dense microsculpture between the punctures on the mesepisternum making the surface much more reflective.

Larvae feed on honeysuckles and other members of the Caprifoliaceae. They are very similar in appearance to Abia aenea larvae but have a black mark posterior to the spiracle (postspiracular lobe) on each abdominal segment. This mark is absent in Abia aenea. 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: None

Distribution: England

Flight period: March to June

Plant associations: Caprifoliaceae including Lonicera spp. (honeysuckles), Symphoricarpos albus (snowberry).


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

Chevin, H., 1998. Biologie et description de la larve de Zaraea lonicerae (L.)(Hymenoptera, Cimbicidae). Cahiers des naturalistes, 54(1), pp.1-4.

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., 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 Natural England, unpublished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.