Xiphydria longicollis - Maple Swordtail

Not recorded until 1984, but with over 20 records at time of review including an apparent increase in the most recent few years, largely clustered in the south-east but extending west to Gloucestershire. It seems reasonable to conclude that a natural colonisation took place in the late 20th century (Musgrove, 2022).

The Maple Wood-wasp is one of three species in the genus in Britain. Only Xiphydria longicollis and camelus have the abdomen entirely black dorsally. All three species have lateral white spots on the abdomen. In longicollis the antennal second segment is clearly longer than the fourth segment. The hind basitarsus 1.5 times as long as the following three segments combined. In females, the legs are marked with white at the base of the tibiae and tarsi.

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Larvae bore into the wood of ailing or dead Field Maples and Sycamores usually close to old woodland.

Size: 10 - 21mm

GB IUCN Status: Least Concern
GB Rarity Status: None

Distribution: England

Flight period: May? to August?

Plant associations: Acer campestre and Acer pseudoplatanus (Field Maple and Sycamore). Also reported on oaks.


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 Natural England, unpublished

Shaw, M. R. & Liston, A. D. 1985: Xiphydria longicollis (Geoffroy) (Hymenoptera: Xiphydriidae) new to Britain. - Entomologist's Gazette, Faringdon 36: 233-235