Subject: please help me identify this bug.
Location: south australia
August 6, 2014 12:08 am
Hey. I was walking home with my friend today and we walked pasted a shrub or a ungrow tree and there was this black bug on it with white spikes. I’m not sure exactly whether it was a spider or an insect but when I wobbled the branch it kind of moved like an octopus. It almost the end of winter and temperature was about 17-20 degrees celsius if the climate helps. The picture I am showing might not be completely clear or from the best angle so I apologise. Hopefully you can identify this bug. Cheers.
Signature: molly

Steel Blue Sawfly Larvae

Steel Blue Sawfly Larvae

Dear Molly,
When taking images of bugs, it is best to focus on the subject and not the background.  You mistook this aggregation of larvae for a single creature, when it is actually a grouping.  We could tell the branch was some type of Eucalyptus, so we searched for both caterpillars and sawflies that feed on Eucalyptus, and we quickly located an image of Steel Blue Sawflies on the Australian Native Plants Society site, but sadly, only a common name was provided.  The site states:  “Another chewing pest that can appear in large numbers are steel-blue sawfly larvae. They do most of the damage to a tree’s foliage during the night and in daylight hours they gather into groups around small branches. If they are accessible at these times they can be removed by cutting off the branches where they cluster together.”
  Armed with that common name, we next located an image on the Australian Museum site where we learned a genus name Perga and the information that “The Steel-blue Sawfly can sometimes cause extensive damage to trees.”  Our third stop was the Museum Victoria site where the Steel Blue Sawfly was Bug of the Month in July 2012.  There we reinforced the common name Spitfire for a Sawfly Larva and we got the species name Perga dorsalis.

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Location: South Australia

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