European Spruce Sawfly, we believe

Subject: Larva ID
Location: Chimney Tops Capstone
October 13, 2016 1:35 pm
Hello there! Today I was wondering if I could have and ID conformation given to a larva. This larva has been posted to BugGuide (it is my image) and we are currently undecided on an ID. At first I thought it could be a caterpillar, but I am more convinced that it is Gilpinia hercyniae. The thing is, we are not sure about the range of this sawfly larva. It seems to be that G. hercyniae is an uncommon insect, and i have yet to find records of it in TN. Just wanted to see what you guys thought about it. Thanks for your time! Link to the BG page
It was found on 8/24/16 in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park at the Chimney Tops Capstone , in Sevier County, Tennessee.
~35° 37.725’N 83° 28.682’W
~4,700 feet above sea level
Signature: Cicada Lover

Possibly European Spruce Sawfly
Possibly European Spruce Sawfly

Dear Cicada Lover,
We agree with you that this appears like it might be a European Spruce Sawfly larva as pictured on BugGuide.  Have you any other images?  It would be great if you had an image where we are able to count the prolegs.  According to Natural Resources Canada:  “Native to Europe, the European spruce sawfly was first reported in Canada in 1922 and in the United States in 1929, but did not really attract the attention of foresters until 1930, when it caused severe damage to spruce stands in Quebec’s Gaspé peninsula. The infestation spread rapidly throughout northeastern North America. The discovery of this infestation led to the development of a national forest insect inventory network consisting of the states in the northeastern U.S.   Sawfly populations began to decline in 1938 with the emergence of a viral disease that affects the larvae, returning to endemic levels in 1945, where it has since remained throughout Canada. Its current Canadian range extends from the Atlantic provinces to Manitoba.”  Tennessee is further south than any reported BugGuide sightings.  Please let us know if you learn anything new from the BugGuide posting.

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