Empria alpina - Mountain Avens Dawn-treader

Discovered as new to science in 1932 in Perthshire, there were no further records until one in 2012 from a Malaise trap in the mountains west of Loch Ness. Both records were from low montane scrub. There is insufficient knowledge of this species to date to categorise it as anything other than Data Deficient.

This is an arctic-alpine species and confined to the northern uplands. Eyes smaller than all other Empria species: in dorsal view as long as the head behind the eye. Mostly a black insect with brownish-white on the labrum, margin of the pronotum and the edge of the tegulae. The margin of the clypeus is also often off-white. Pairs of pale patches are present on tergites 2 to 7 in the female and tergites 2 to 5 or 6 in the male. The ratio of the length of the flagellum, along with genitalia characteristics, are important for identification in this group. See Prous et al, 2011.

Empria alpina larvae feed on Mountain Avens and are associated with low montane scrub.

Jump to other Empria species

Size: 5.5 - 6mm

GB IUCN Status: Data Deficient
GB Rarity Status: Nationally Rare

Distribution: Scotland, Ireland

Flight period: June

Plant associations: Dryas octopetala (mountain avens)


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 Natural England, unpublished

Prous, Marko & Heidemaa, Mikk & Soon, Villu. (2011). Empria longicornis species group: Taxonomic revision with notes on phylogeny and ecology (Hymenoptera, Tenthredinidae). Zootaxa. 2756. 1-39. 10.11646/zootaxa.2756.1.1.