Athalia rosae - Turnip Tigress

Recorded commonly north to central Scotland, with sporadic records further north. A well-known pest in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, it then became rare in much of north-west Europe, before increasing again from the mid 20th century (Musgrove, 2023).  Athalia rosae is resident in Britain but also migrates in large numbers from the near continent.

The largest of the Athalia species and the only one with a chequerboard pattern on the scutum, the front and back lobes being orange and the lateral lobes being mainly black. All tibia are black at the apex. 

Females can oviposit large numbers of ova in a short time. Larvae feed on a wide range of cruciferous plants eating from holes in the leaf blade rather than at the margins.

Jump to other Athalia species

Size: 6-8mm

GB IUCN Status: Least Concern
GB Rarity Status: None

Distribution: England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland

Flight period: April to October

Plant associations: Cruciferae including Raphanus (Radishes), Rorippa amphibia (Great Yellow-cress), Sinapis alba (White Mustard), Sisymbrium officinale (Hedge Mustard)


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

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

Musgrove, A.J. 2023. A review of the status of sawflies of Great Britain - Phase 2: The Athaliidae and the Tenthredinidae (excluding Nematinae). Natural England, unpublished