Pamphilius histrio - Flamboyant Poplar Spinner

Records of this species are widely scattered in southern Britain north to Yorkshire. Almost all records pre-date 1950, with a few in the 80s and 90s (Musgrove, 2022).

A large, fairly pale Pamphilid. The head is yellow with black markings. The female thorax is richly marked with yellow and the male less so. In both sexes, the venation is yellow in the stigma, basal part and the anterior margin of the forewing, with the rest of the venation being brown. The abdomen is yellow brown above with varying degrees of black on tergites 1 to 3 and apically.

Pamphilius histrio larvae feed singly in leaf rolls primarily on 3 to 5 metre high aspens and white poplar.

Jump to other Pamphiliidae

Size: Male: 10 - 13mm, Female: 11 - 14mm

GB IUCN Status: Critically Endangered
GB Rarity Status: Nationally Rare

Distribution: England, Wales

Flight period: May to July

Plant associations: Populus spp. (poplars) including Populus tremula (Aspen), Populus alba (white poplar).


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.

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 Natural England, unpublished

Viitasaari, M. ed., 2002. Sawflies (Hymenoptera, Symphyta), I: a review of the suborder, the Western Palaearctic taxa of Xyeloidea and Pamphilioidea. Tremex Press.