Xiphydria camelus - Alder Swordtail

Recorded widely as far north as Speyside (Musgrove, 2022). The Alder Wood-wasp is one of three species in the genus in Britain. Xiphydria camelus and longicollis have the abdomen entirely black dorsally. All three species have lateral white spots on the abdomen. In camelus the antennal second segment is clearly shorter than the fourth segment. The hind basitarsus about the same length as the following three segments combined.
Larvae bore into the wood of ailing alders and birches in wetland habitats.

For a detailed look at the life history of this species there is a video available on YouTube.

Jump to other Xiphydria species

Size: 10 - 21mm

GB IUCN Status: Least Concern
GB Rarity Status: None

Distribution: England, Scotland, Wales

Flight period: May to August

Plant associations: Alnus spp., Betula spp. (alders and birches)


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

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 Natural England, unpublished