Gilpinia virens - Red-tailed Pine Combhorn

Just six records, all from a limited area of southern England and only known from recently-established pine plantations and not the native Caledonian forest. It is unknown as to whether arrival was through natural dispersal or human-mediated translocation. Following a pre-1913 larval record, the other five are quite recent (1997-2007) and form a tight cluster at the corners of Surrey, Berkshire and Hampshire. Whilst the species might have gone overlooked between 1913 and 1997, an alternative interpretation might be of two separate introduction events (Musgrove, 2022).

The female's inner apical spur of the hind tibia is shaped like a scale. Apex of the sawsheath in dorsal view is much broader than the apical breadth of the hind tibia. The underside of the thorax is dark and the head has a dark band reaching from eye to eye. The stigma and costa are yellow. Antennae 18 segmented.

The male pronotum is broadly margined with yellow. The apical 3 tergites are almost entirely red as well as the whole of the underside.

Larvae of Gilpinia virens are solitary feeders on pines, especially Scots Pine.

Jump to other Diprionidae genera and species

Size: 7 - 9mm

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

Distribution: England

Flight period: May to July

Plant associations: Pinus spp., especially sylvestris (Scots pine)


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

Hanski, I., 1987. Pine sawfly population dynamics: patterns, processes, problems. Oikos, pp.327-335.

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 Natural England, unpublished