Tenthredo olivacea - Olivaceous Sawfly

Recorded widely across much of mainland Britain, as well as Orkney, but more numerous in the north where it can reach altitudes of over 600 m (Musgrove, 2023).

A Tenthredo species that looks  similar to the Rhogogaster genus. It can be distinguished by having a head and mesonotum coriaceous and evenly covered in short stiff black hairs. In Rhogogaster species these are shining with sparse pale hairs. The green colour on Tenthredo olivacea is a more drab olive rather than the vibrant green of Rhogogaster though it would be unwise to make a determination on this basis alone. The stigma and costa is green. The black markings on the upper head have the appearance of a capital "H" taking in the two broad parallel side stripes that extend to the back of the head and a central transverse band taking in the hind ocelli.

Larvae feed on a range of herbaceous plants including buttercups, plantains, speedwells and chickweeds. Mature larvae are dorsally uniformly velvety black with white warts, brownish
yellow below spiracular line and with a black head.

Jump to other species of Tenthredo

Size: 9 - 12mm

GB IUCN Status: Least Concern
GB Rarity Status: None

Distribution: England, Scotland, Wales

Flight period: May to July

Plant associations: Ranunculus (buttercups), Plantago (plantains), Veronica (speedwells), Myosotis (chickweeds)


Benes, K. 1987: Larval morphology and ecology of three species of the genus Tenthredo (Hymenoptera, Tenthredinidae). - Acta entomologica bohemoslovaca, Praha 84: 441-451

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

Fekete, K. (2018) Beginner’s guide to identifying British Tenthredo, Natural History Museum, London. http://www.nhm.ac.uk/content/dam/nhmwww/take-part/identification-trainers/sawflies-guide-id-trainees.pdf [Accessed 26Apr2019]

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. 2023. A review of the status of sawflies of Great Britain - Phase 2: The Athaliidae and the Tenthredinidae (excluding Nematinae). Natural England, unpublished