Nesoselandria morio

Recorded widely across all of mainland Britain (Musgrove, 2023).

Similar in appearance to the much more frequently encountered Aneugmenus padi. This species is smaller at only around 5mm and the legs are a deeper yellow to orange colour (bright yellow in padi). The remainder of the insect is black. The head is shiny and lacks sculpture or puncturation.

In captive breeding experiments, although the eggs were laid on scarlet pimpernel, speedwells, forget-me-nots, etc., the emerging larvae did not feed on any vascular plants. Vikberg and Nuortiva report that Nesoselandria morio larvae feed on mosses, usually ones with broad lamellae. The larvae are grey, warty, and with a black head in early instars, the head becoming brown in the prepupal stage.

Jump to information on the genus Nesoselandria

Size: approx. 4 - 5mm

GB IUCN Status: Least Concern
GB Rarity Status: None

Distribution: England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland

Flight period: May to September

Plant associations: Mosses with broad lamellae.

Plant associations: Mosses with broad lamellae.

Class Bryopsida, Order Bryales: Plagiomnium spp., Pseudobryum spp. (thyme-moss)(3)
Class Bryopsida, Order Dicranales: Dicranum spp., Ceratodon spp. (fork-moss and redshank)(3)
Class Bryopsida, Order Hedwigiales: Hedwigia spp. (Hoar-moss)(3)
Class Bryopsida, Order Hypnales: Plagiothecium spp. (Silk-moss)(3)
Class Polytrichopsida, Order Polytrichales: Polytrichum spp. (Haircap)(3)


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

2. 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 Natural England, unpublished

3. Vikberg, V & Nuorteva, M. (1997) On the rearing of Nesoselandria morio(Fabricius) and Birka cinereipes(Klug) (Hymenoptera, Tenthredinidae), with descriptions of their larvae. Entomologica Fennica. 8. 27-38.