Tenthredo vespa - Vespine Sawfly

Recorded locally across much of England, particularly the eastern half. There is an old Welsh record near Cardiff from 1928 and Benson (1952) notes the range as occurring sparingly north to Orkney, although there have been no recent Scottish records (Musgrove, 2023).

A black and yellow species with black antennae. In the female the two basal antennal segments are often reddish-yellow in colour, whereas in the male they are often black. The head and thorax are densely punctured. The tegulae are at least reddish yellow at the edges. Yellow apical bands on the tergites do not broaden laterally. The fore wing has a clearly defined dark patch from the stigma to the apex. The femora are dark and the tibia are reddish.

Tenthredo vespa larvae feed on a broad range of shrubs and trees.

Jump to other species of Tenthredo

Size: 11 - 12mm

GB IUCN Status: Least Concern
GB Rarity Status: None

Distribution: England, Scotland, Wales

Flight period: May to September

Plant associations: Viburnum (wayfarer, guelder rose), Fraxinus (ash), Jasminum (jasmine), Lonicera (honeysuckle), Ligustrum (wild privet), Symphoricarpus (snowberry) and Acer plantanoides (sycamore). Hippophae rhamnoides (Sea-buckthorn) in Finland.


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 Natural England, unpublished

Vikberg, V. & Itämies, J. 1999: Buckthorn (Hippophaë rhamnoides L., Eleagnaceae), a new important food plant for the larva of Tenthredo vespa Retzius in Finland (Hymenoptera, Tenthredinidae). - Entomologica Fennica, Helsinki 10(4): 201-208