Acantholyda erythrocephala

Acantholyda erythrocephala, the red-headed pine sawfly, also called the pine false webworm, is an easy to recognise species. The female is a glossy black insect with a blueish reflection and a striking red, or orange-yellow head. The male is similarly coloured but only the face and fore-tibiae are orange-yellow.

Females lay eggs in rows on the previous year's pine needles and the larvae spin silk tubes from which they feed. Once mature, the larvae fall to the ground and overwinter as a prepupa in the leaf litter.

Jump to other Pamphiliidae

Size: 10 - 12mm

Status: Widespread

Distribution: England, Scotland

Flight period: April to June

Plant associations: Pinus spp. (pines) incl...

Pinus sylvestris (Scots pine) preferred. (3)
Pinus nigra (Austrian pine) (3)
Pinus strobus (Weymouth pine) (3)
Pinus cembra (Arolla pine) (3)


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

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

3. Viitasaari, M. ed., 2002. Sawflies (Hymenoptera, Symphyta), I: a review of the suborder, the Western Palaearctic taxa of Xyeloidea and Pamphilioidea (Vol. 1). Tremex Press.