Tenthredopsis litterata (Geoffroy, 1785)

Tenthredopsis litterata

As with all Tenthredopsis species Tenthredopsis litterata is variable in colour. The description given here follows Blank and Ritzau 1998 but it should be noted that British specimens may differ in colour from continental counterparts. This is the largest of the six British and Irish species.

In the female the hypopygium with a very large appendage, dark and sclerotised in the centre and with broad, skin-like, pale side parts. It is incised apically to a quarter to one-third of its length.

Males of this species can be distinguished by the penis valves which have very long needle-like projections visible from above without dissection. Females have a distinctive hypogydium with a deep u-shaped excision and coloured whiteish with an inverted black "Y".
Larvae feed on grasses.

Size: 11 - 12mm

Status: Common

Distribution: England, Scotland, Wales

Flight period: May to July

Plant associations: Gramineae including Dactylis glomerata (grasses including cock's-foot)


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

Haris, A. and Gyurkovics, H. (2014) The genus Tenthredopsis Costa, 1859 in Hungary (Hymenoptera: Symphyta). Natura Somogyiensis, 24 pp. 99-124.

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