Macrophya albicincta - Valarian Strider, Valerian Sawfly

Benson (1952) treated alboannulata as conspecific with albicincta, the two being split by Chevin (1975). Liston (1983) confirmed that albicincta was known throughout Britain. In the absence of a comprehensive new reference until recently it has to be assumed that many records of albicincta will have been made with reference to Benson (1952) only, and hence will not safely exclude alboannulata which appears to be common in southern Britain at least (Musgrove, 2023). However, albicincta can also be found in both residential and countryside settings in the south of England (A. Green pers. comm.) 

One of three very similar species. This species is larger than Macrophya ribis and the head around the frons and temples is almost impunctate (in ribis, the head has dense, coarse punctures in these areas). The white on albicincta extends to the edge of the pronotum and the scutellum and also sometimes the first tergite (these are all black in ribis).

Macrophya alboannulata specimens have previously been identified as albicincta but were recognised by Liston and added to the checklist. The two species can be separated by the colouring on the hind trochanter and trochantellus. In albicincta the hind trochanters are predominantly black and the trochantellus usually white with a black spot, whereas in alboannulata the hind trochanters are predominantly marked with white and the trochantellus never has a black spot. In males the labrum of albicincta is at least darkened an the lateral edges to mostly black, whereas in alboannulata the labrum is at most slightly infuscated at the lateral margins.

Larvae feed on elders, common valerian and have been found on red valerian in Britain.

Jump to other Macrophya species

Size: 10 - 11mm

GB IUCN Status: Data Deficient
GB Rarity Status: None

Distribution: England, Scotland, Wales

Flight period: April to July

Plant associations: Sambucus nigra (elder), Valeriana officinalis (common valerian) and Centranthus ruber (red valerian)


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

Chevin, H., 1975. Remarques taxinomiques et biologiques sur les Macrophya (Hym. Tenthredinidae) se developpant sur Sambuccus (Caprifoliaceae). Annales del la Societe entomologique de France.

Liston, A.D., 1982. Distribution and ecology of the sawflies Macrophya alboannulata Costa and Macrophya albicincta (Schrank) in the West Palaearctic (Insecta, Hymenoptera, Tenthredinidae). Faunistische Abhandlungen.

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