Currently viewing the category: "Horntails, Wood Wasps and Sawflies"

Subject:  Caterpillar identification request
Geographic location of the bug:  Redmond, WA
Date: 06/28/2019
Time: 06:00 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Found this on a local street.Any idea what type of caterpillar this is? Thanks!
How you want your letter signed:  Don

Elm Sawfly larva

Dear Don,
Though it resembles a Caterpillar, the Elm Sawfly larva,
Cimbex americana, is actually a member of the insect order that includes Wasps and Bees.

Thank you so much! Really appreciate your knowledge!

Subject:  I am trying to care for this little friend and I have no idea what he is..
Geographic location of the bug:  New Hampshire
Date: 06/07/2019
Time: 08:25 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I thought he was an inchworm but.. when I Google ‘inchworm’, I cant find any like him. Please help, it would be super appreciated!!
How you want your letter signed:  Not sure what this means.. whichever way you’d like, I guess

Sawfly Larva

This is NOT an Inchworm, nor is it another species of Caterpillar.  This is the larva of a Sawfly, a non-stinging relative of Bees and Wasps.  It closely resembles the Roseslug, Endelomyia aethiops, pictured on Ecological Landscape Alliance where it states:  “During the months of May and June in the Northeast you may have noticed leaf discoloration in the form of blotches on your rose leaves (Figure 1). If you inspect the leaves closely you will see the culprit! It is a small, narrow bodied larva called the roseslug sawfly, an introduced pest from Europe. The larvae have pale green colored bodies and light tan-orange colored heads.”  Here is a BugGuide image.  The best way to care for this Sawfly larva is to feed it leaves from the plant upon which it was found.

Sawfly Larva

Subject:  Any ideas
Geographic location of the bug:  Western Washington
Date: 05/07/2019
Time: 07:49 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This bug was located by my daughter at her grandparents. I’ve never seen it and neither have they and they’ve lived there for 18 plus years. We became very curious to what it may be but can’t find it through our research.
How you want your letter signed:  Curious Father

Elm Sawfly

Dear Curious Father,
This is an Elm Sawfly, a non-stinging member of the Order Hymenoptera, a group that includes Bees and Wasps.  According to the University of Wisconsin-Madison Master Gardener Program:  “The adults of sawflies tend to be inconspicuous, and look somewhat like wasps, but do not sting. They feed on pollen and nectar, so may be seen on flowers as well as their larval host plants. They are not very active, making only short flights in sunny weather, and resting on leaves otherwise. Many sawfly species are parthenogenetic; since they do not need to mate to reproduce, males are very rare even in species where males are known to occur.”

Thank you so much for the reply. My daughter will be excited to learn what she found. You rock.

Subject:  A bee like bug I can’t identify
Geographic location of the bug:  Washington state
Date: 10/16/2018
Time: 07:22 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I am a 5th grade science teacher who has her students collect and identify bugs as part of our insect unit.  This is the second time in three years this insect has shown up and I have not been able to figure out what it is with any of the North American guides we use. (Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, and others specifically dealing with the Pacific Northwest).  The bug pictured is about 1 inch long with a wingspan of 2 inches.  I hope you can help me identify it.  Not knowing is driving me crazy!
How you want your letter signed:  Rebecca Swier, Ebenezer Christian School

Elm Sawfly

Dear Rebecca,
Perhaps if this individual had a head, identification might have been easier for you.  This is an Elm Sawfly,
Cimbex americana, and here is a BugGuide image for reference.  Sawflies are non-stinging members of the order Hymenoptera, a group that includes wasps and bees.  They have larvae that look like caterpillars

Subject:  Not sure what this is
Geographic location of the bug:  Fishhawk Falls, Oregon
Date: 08/26/2018
Time: 07:42 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi, I’m a photographer.  I spotted this little guy the other day and thought it was some kind of caterpillar but, it doesn’t match anything I’ve seen in the area.  as far as I know Its a larva to some bug .  Thank you for your time.
How you want your letter signed:  FilthyPerfection

Sawfly Larva

Dear FilthyPerfection,
Though it looks like a caterpillar, this is actually a Sawfly larva, and Sawflies are non-stinging relatives of bees and wasps.  Based on this BugGuide image and this BugGuide image, we are confident it is
Trichiosoma triangulum.  According to BugGuide:  “Larvae feed on leaves of alders (Alnus), ash (Fraxinus), poplars (Populus), willows (Salix), cherries (Prunus).”

Subject:  Caterpillar ID
Geographic location of the bug:  North Georgia, USA
Date: 08/11/2018
Time: 12:01 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Please help ID this caterpillar. I know it’s not monarch. It is boring into wood.
How you want your letter signed:  Dave Paulison

Carpenter Moth Caterpillar

Dear Dave,
We are feeling very confident this is a Carpenter Moth Caterpillar in the family Cossidae because of its resemblance to this South African relative, tentatively identified as
Macrocassus toluminus, though there are no matching images posted to BugGuide where it states:  “Larvae are wood-boring.”  But for the color, it also looks very much like both this posting from our archives and a this posting in our archives which we now believe are also Carpenter Moth larvae in the family Cossidae, but we are uncertain of the species.  Breeding Butterflies has an interesting article on the European Goat Moth, Cossus cossus, another species in the family, and the site states:  “The larvae of this moth do not feed on the leaves of the host plant – instead they bore tunnels though the wood, and live internally inside their host trees. Because of this habit, they are considered a harmful species; most caterpillars defoliate plants by consuming all their leaves. While definitely not beneficial for the health of the host plant, most plants and trees are able to recover from being defoliated. Burrowing directly through the trunks of trees is another story however, and is generally not the type of damage that trees can recover from. Because of this, a few larvae have the potential to kill even larger trees. And because their host plants include trees of economic value such as apple, cherry, walnut or olive, most farmers do not consider them welcome guests.”  We hope we can eventually provide a species identification for all three of our postings that all originate from Georgia and Florida.

Carpenter Moth Caterpillar

Correction:  Sawfly Larva
Thanks to Cesar Crash from Insetologia in a comment with a link to Oregon State University, we concur that this appears to be a Dogwood Sawfly Larva, Macremphytus lovetii.  The site states:  “The larvae leave the dogwood to pupate and will burrow into soft wood, and possibly soil, so house siding near a plant may be pitted with pupating chambers. Further damage may occur to structures from woodpeckers seeking to feed on the overwintering insects.”  Though BugGuide does not report the species from Georgia, it is reported from many eastern states, including North Carolina.