Species: Turnip Sawfly (Athalia rosae)

Family: Sawflies (TENTHREDINIDAE)

Category: Insects (Other)

Location: Widespread

A. Insects (Other)

More extensive information on insects can be found in a separate blog post.

B. Sawflies (TENTHREDINIDAE)

The Tenthredinidae family of sawflies, of which the Turnip Sawfly is a member, has over seven and a half thousand species. This family belongs to the 'super-family' of Tenthredinoidea sawflies which number perhaps eight and a half thousand.

Sawflies are mostly herbivores (rather than carnivores), often black or brown and between 3mm and 2cms in length.

Female Sawflies have ovipositers (egg-laying appendages) that are saw-like, enabling them to cut slits in bark and twigs through which they lay their eggs. From this, they have gained their English family name.

C. Turnip Sawfly (Athalia rosae)

The Turnip Sawfly over-winters in its larval form below ground in southern England before emerging in summer as a flying adult about 7 or 8 millimetres in length. They are nectar-drinking insects, seen in the photograph here on one of the many white umbellifer flowers in the Cemetery.

Identifying this sawfly from the many others found in Sussex is relatively easy as there are two distinguishing features: black and orange 'socks' on its legs, and a chequerboard design of four shapes behind its head, two black ones left and right, two orange ones front and back.

Images

Turnip Sawfly

Turnip Sawflies are nectar-drinking insects, seen in the photograph here on one of the many white umbellifer flowers in the Cemetery.

Turnip Sawfly

The Turnip Sawfly over-winters in its larval form below ground in southern England.

Identifying this sawfly from the many others found in Sussex is relatively easy as there are two distinguishing features: black and orange 'socks' on its legs, and a chequerboard design of four shapes behind its head, two black ones left and right, two orange ones front and back.

Turnip Sawfly

The 'socks' and the shoulder markings distinguish this sawfly as being the Turnip Sawfly, photographed in the Cemetery in September 2022.

(Photo credit: Stuart MA Ball.)