Harpiphorus lepidus - Elegant Oakcutter

Recorded locally in England and Wales north to York. Relatively few records overall, although many are from recent decades (Musgrove, 2023).

A small but striking species. In life, the eyes are metallic greenish-gold. Apparently variable in terms of the colour, either a green and black or yellow and black species. In the specimen seen, the colour was a vibrant dayglo yellow and black. The front edge of the fore wing including the stigma, costa, subcosta and wing membrane yellow with the remainder of the wing infuscated.

Harpiphorus lepidus larvae feed on the upper surface of oak leaves.

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Size: 4 - 5mm

GB IUCN Status: Least Concern
GB Rarity Status: None

Distribution: England, Wales, Ireland

Flight period: May to June

Plant associations: Quercus spp. (oak)


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 Natural England, unpublished