Cephus spinipes - Angled Stem-sawfly

Common, occurring throughout much of England north to southern Cumbria. More sparsely distributed in Wales and south-west England, and no records from Scotland to date (Musgrove, 2022).

Very similar to Cephus pygmeus. Cephus spinipes has bifid claws where the inner tooth is erect and a little distant from the end tooth, whereas in pygmeus the inner tooth is more parallel to the end tooth. The sawsheath in females is angled relative to the oblong plate. Also, female spinipes have more extensive yellow on the hind tibia from the base. Adults visit yellow flowers such as composites (dandelion, etc.) and buttercups.

Larvae feed inside grass stems.

Jump to other Cephidae

Size: 7 - 9mm.

GB IUCN Status: Least Concern
GB Rarity Status: None

Distribution: England, Wales

Flight period: May to July

Plant associations: Grasses including Phleum pratense (Timothy-grass).


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. https://doi.org/10.3897/BDJ.2.e1168

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 Natural England, unpublished