Pamphilius sylvarum - Oak Spinner

Very much a southern species, including Wales and south-west England, as far north as Derbyshire (Musgrove, 2022).

The legs are pale with a black stripe on the femora. Overall, the female is a richly patterned, yellowish-brown insect. The head and thorax are straw coloured with black markings. The abdomen is black. The abdomen is black with pale lateral margins and apex. Venation straw coloured.

The male head is black and heavily punctured with a small yellow stripe behind the eye. The thorax and abdomen are also black and the venation is darker than in the female.

Although this species is rare, males are known to occur in numbers on occasion.

Pamphilius sylvarum larvae feed in leaf rolls on young oaks.

Jump to other Pamphiliidae

Size: 9 - 10mm

GB IUCN Status: Endangered
GB Rarity Status: None

Distribution: England, Wales

Flight period: May to June

Plant associations: Quercus spp. (oaks).


Benson, R.B., 1940. Sawflies of the Berkhamsted District: With a List of the Sawflies of Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire, and a Survey of the British Species (Hymenoptera Symphyta). Transactions of the Hertfordshire Natural History Society and Field Club, 21(3) pp.177-231

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.

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