Sciapteryx costalis soror - Shady Sister

Recorded widely but very sparsely throughout Britain north to Orkney (Musgrove, 2023).

One of two Sciapteryx species in Britain, soror is tentatively considered as a Western European subspecies of Sciapteryx costalis. Soror differs from other costalis subspecies by having a white transverse stripe beneath the antennal sockets. This species is distinctive and recognisable from the rectangle of orange spots created by the orange tegulae and wing base and largely orange stigmae. The abdomen is black with white stripes.

Sciapteryx soror larvae are unknown but other subspecies of costalis have been reared from Meadow Buttercup and Creeping Buttercup.

Most often found on grassland, especially chalk grassland.

Jump to other Sciapteryx species

Size: 6-10mm

GB IUCN Status: Least Concern
GB Rarity Status: None

Distribution: England, Scotland, Wales

Flight period: April to May

Plant associations: Likely to be  Ranunculus spp. including Meadow Buttercup (Ranunculus acris) and Creeping Buttercup (Ranunculus repens).


Benson, R. B. 1943: British Sciapteryx costalis F. belong to the atlantic subspecies soror Konow (Hym., Symphyta). - The Entomologist's Monthly Magazine, Fourth Series, London 79(4): 138

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

Blank, S. M.; Taeger, A. 1998: Comments on the taxonomy of Symphyta (Hymenoptera) (Preliminary studies for a catalogue of Symphyta, part 4). (In English, abstract in German) - : pp. 141-174. In: Taeger, A.; Blank, S. M.(eds) 1998: Pflanzenwespen Deutschlands (Hymenoptera, Symphyta). Kommentierte Bestandsaufnahme. - Goecke & Evers, Keltern: 1-364 + [3] pp.

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 Natural England, unpublished