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Common Sawfly Larva

Allantinae sp


Common Sawfly Larva feeding on leaf.


On plant leaf along hiking trail in Forest of Nisene Marks State Park, Aptos, CA


The Tenthredinidae are the largest family of sawflies, with well over 6000 species worldwide. Larvae are typically herbivores and feed on the foliage of trees and shrubs, with occasional exceptions that are leaf miners, stem borers, or gall makers. The larvae of externally feeding species resemble small caterpillars. They go through complete metamorphosis. The family has no easily seen diagnostic features, though the combination of five to 9 antennal flagellomeres plus a clear separation of the first abdominal tergum from the metapleuron can reliably separate them. These sawflies are often black or brown, and from 3-20 mm long. Like other sawflies, they lack the slender "wasp-waist", or petiole, between the thorax and abdomen, characteristic of many hymenopterans . The mesosoma (or thorax) and the metasoma (abdomen) are instead broadly joined. The Tenthredinidae are also often somewhat dorsoventrally flattened, which will distinguish them at least from the slender cephids (which, together with the common sawflies, comprise many of the Nearctic species of Symphyta). Females use their saw-like ovipositors to cut slits through barks of twigs, into which translucent eggs are wedged, which damages the trees. They are common in meadows, and in forest glades near rapid streams. Adults eat little, while larvae feed on foliage of streamside trees and shrubs, especially willow. Wikipedia

Species ID Suggestions

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misako 8 years ago

I'm not certain jones4, but I believe they do come in different colors.

misako 8 years ago

Thank you Mona Pirih.

Mona Pirih
Mona Pirih 8 years ago

Lovely color..

misako 8 years ago

Thank you for the ID suggestions AnnaWhipkey and Aaron_G!

misako 8 years ago

Thank you RiekoS and outsidegirl0.

AnnaWhipkey 8 years ago

looks like this larva from BugGuide

outsidegirl0 8 years ago

wow,i have never seen a blue caterpillar before!!!!!!! awsome pic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Aaron_G 8 years ago

This reminds me of a sawfly larva. Check into that if you don't get any better leads.

RiekoS 8 years ago

Beautiful blue!

misako 8 years ago

Thanks Yuko and Noel!

YukoChartraw 8 years ago

Wow! This is probably the prettiest caterpillar I've seen! What beautiful blue color and pattern!

Noel Buensuceso
Noel Buensuceso 8 years ago

Beautiful spot!

Spotted by

The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park, USA

Spotted on May 18, 2013
Submitted on May 27, 2013

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