Pamphilius vafer - Deceptive Spinner
Similar to P. albopictus and pale forms of P. varius. Historically widely distributed with records from Cornwall north to the Dornoch Firth. Still widely recorded in the 1980s and 1990s but just a few records more recently (Musgrove, 2022).
Females have a yellow head with large black patterns. The thorax is black with yellow markings including on the mesoscutum, mesoscutellum and metascutellum. Abdomen is orange-brown above with only tergites 1 and 2 and the lateral margins marked with black. Venation brown and with a brownish yellow stigma.
Males have a head that is anteriorly yellow and posteriorly black with yellow stripes from the eye to the back of the head. The thorax is mostly black with the mesoscutellum and sometimes metascutellum yellow. Abdomen and venation as per the female.
Pamphilius vafer larvae feed in leaf rolls or twists on common alder and grey alder (on the continent). Pre-pupae have been known to rest for four winters before emerging.
Size: 8 - 11mm
GB IUCN Status: Endangered
GB Rarity Status: Nationally Scarce
Distribution: England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland
Flight period: May to June
Plant associations: Alnus spp. (alders) including Alnus glutinosa (Alder), Alnus incana (Grey Alder).
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. 2022. A review of the status of sawflies of Great Britain - Phase 1: families other than Tenthredinidae. Natural England, unpublished
Viitasaari M., 2002. Sawflies (Hymenoptera, Symphyta), I: a review of the suborder, the Western Palaearctic taxa of Xyeloidea and Pamphilioidea. Vol. 1. Helsinki: Tremex Press.