Subject: On our burr oak, in Texas.
Location: Arlington, TX
March 27, 2015 10:49 pm
My partner asked me to grab a picture of this and see if I could help him identify it. He’s been seeing these on our burr oak, here in North Texas, since the leaves started budding this week. He’s says there are “lots” of them. He seems to think they have been laying eggs, but I haven’t seen what they have been up to to confirm this impression (and, obviously, he’s not really a Bug Guy).
For the record, it is late March, and the weather has been warming up here for a couple of weeks. (it’s up to the 70’s and low 80’s this coming week, already.)
I have included both the closer detail crop, adjusted for clarity, and the wider shot for some idea of size. They are small, probably… a half-inch? Maybe? Those are very early leaf buds at the end of an almost twig-like branch that this one is sitting on. (Sorry it is not more clear, it was already evening when he asked me to take the photo.)
Thanks! I hope you can help us out!
Signature: Kelly in Texas
We believe this is a Sawfly, a non-stinging relative of wasps and bees. The theory that it might be laying eggs is valid. The larvae of Sawflies are often confused for caterpillars, and if they are numerous, they can defoliate some plants. We are going to continue to research this request and we are also going to try to get an opinion from Eric Eaton. The Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center website mentions “oak leafmining sawfly (Profenusa lucifex)” as an insect that feeds on Burr Oak, and though we could not find the species pictured on BugGuide, members of the genus look similar.
Eric Eaton confirms Sawfly and provides possible species identification
Yes, definitely a sawfly, perhaps Pristiphora chlorea.
Do you know how to do an “advanced search” in Bugguide? That is often how I come up with answers for you. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the challenge of finding you an answer! 🙂