Urocerus fantoma - Phantom Horntail

Although this species is native to parts of Europe, the evidence does not suggest that Britain forms part of its natural range. There appear to be just two records from Dundee in 1948 and Leamington Spa in 1953. It is considered to have occurred here solely as an introduction, most likely in imported timber (Musgrove, 2022).

The female has an orange-brown abdomen with a black band across tergites 6 and 7. Very similar to Urocerus augur and can only be separated by having a very small inner tooth on the tarsal claw, which is larger in U. augur.

Urocerus fantoma larvae feed in timber of coniferous trees and take 2 to 3 years to develop.

Jump to other Urocerus species

Size: 12 - 40mm

GB IUCN Status: Not Applicable
GB Rarity Status: Not Applicable

Distribution: England, Scotland

Flight period: June to October

Plant associations: Pinaceae (coniferous trees) including Abies spp. (firs), Picea spp. (spruces), Larix spp. (larches).


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

Liston, A. D. 1995: Compendium of European Sawflies. List of species, modern nomenclature, distribution, foodplants, identification literature. - Gottfrieding, Chalastos Forestry : 1-190

Musgrove, A.J. 2022. A review of the status of sawflies of Great Britain - Phase 1: families other than Tenthredinidae. Natural England, unpublished