Aprosthema tardum

One of three very similar Aprosthema species found in the British Isles. The separation of the three species has been subject to much study and conjecture over the years. This species is bivoltine and shows seasonal dimorphism adding to the confusion. Head shape differs in that the summer generation has a short head with strongly narrowing temples and longer flagellae, whereas the overwintering spring generation has a longer head with parallel or posteriorly broadening temples and shorter flagellae. Vikberg postulates that the head shape corresponds to the muscle requirements needed for emergence from the cocoon. The summer spun cocoon is weakly formed from soft plant material, whereas the overwintering cocoon (spring generation) is stronger and constructed underground.

Aprosthema tardum can be distinguished from Aprosthema fusicorne and melanurum by less erect and more flattened or lateral directed hairs on the mesoscutellum.

Larvae feed on Broad-leaved Everlasting-pea.

Jump to other Argidae

Status: Rare

Distribution: England

Flight period: Bivoltine, May to August

Plant associations: Lathyrus latifolius (Broad-leaved Everlasting-pea) (2)


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.D., Kan, P. and Kan-van Limburg Stirum, B., 2018. The life-history of Aprosthema tardum (Klug, 1814)(Hymenoptera, Tenthredinoidea, Argidae). Beiträge zur Entomologie, 68(1), pp.97-106.

3. 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

4. Vikberg, V. (2004). Seasonal head dimorphism and taxonomy of some European species of Aprosthema (Hymenoptera: Symphyta: Argidae). Beiträge zur Entomologie= Contributions to Entomology, 54(1), 107-125