Dolerus liogaster - Smooth Griever

Benson (1952) treated liogaster and schmidti as a single species. They were split by Heidemaa (2004), with the characters used to separate the two species being very subtle, although it was also suggested that liogaster flies somewhat later than schmidti on average. The relative frequency of these two species is unknown and hence the status can only be described as Data Deficient. The range remains unclear, although confirmed records of liogaster sensu stricto are said to have been confirmed from England, Scotland and Wales (Liston et al. 2014). Whilst Benson (1952) described liogaster sensu lato as rare, the species-pair has since been recorded widely across all of mainland Britain. The combined records suggest a decline in recent years (Musgrove, 2023).

A black bodied insect. Both sexes have entirely red hind femora with tibiae that are almost, or entirely, black. In the similar Dolerus gonager and puncticollis, the red occurs towards the apex of the femora and part of the tibia. Puncturation of the thorax and the sawsheath are very similar to D. puncticollis. This species cannot easily be distinguished from Dolerus schmidti with which it was previously confused. Phenology and genitalia are determining factors.

Associated with woodland. Larvae feed on grasses.

Jump to other Dolerus species

Size: 8-9mm

GB IUCN Status: Data Deficient
GB Rarity Status: Unclear

Distribution: England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland

Flight period: March to May (peaking early to late June)

Plant associations: Gramineae (grasses)


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

Haris, A., 2000. Study on the Palaearctic Dolerus Panzer, 1801 species (Hymenoptera: Tenthredinidae). Folia entomologica hungarica, 61, pp.95-148.

Heidemaa, M. & Saarma, U. 2005: Phylogenetic relationships in Dolerus gibbosus species group and Dolerus varispinus complex (Hymenoptera: Tenthredinidae) as inferred from molecular and morphological data, with revisory notes on D. varispinus complex. Unpublished manuscript

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 Natural England, unpublished