Empria

Taxonomy

Family: Tenthredinidae
Family common name: common sawflies
Subfamily: Allantinae
Tribe: Empriini
Genus: Empria Lepeletier & Serville, 1828
Subgenera: none

Background

The Tenthredinidae are the most species-rich family and are found throughout the world, in all continents but Antarctica. They are known as the “common sawflies.” They can generally be recognized by a cylindrical body and long, segmented antennae. Otherwise, they come in a variety of colors, sizes, and forms (Goulet 1992).

Sawflies in the Allantinae subfamily are mostly black and shining, sometimes with other colors. They have agricultural importance as some species are pests on cultivated and ornamental plants (Smith 1979a). They can be distinguished from other subfamilies by wing venation (Smith 2003a).

Empria are medium-sized, about 6–8 mm in length. All North American species are mostly black with pairs of light-colored spots on the dorsum of the abdomen (Smith 1979a). They are commonly misidentified because there are few diagnostic characters to distinguish them from other Allantinae (Prous et al. 2011).

Diversity

There are 51 described extant species worldwide. Twelve occur in North America (Smith 2003a, Taeger et al. 2010).

A Nearctic key to species is included in Smith 1979a.

Diagnostic characteristics

Subfamily characters

Genus characters​

May be confused with

Empria can be confused with similar species in the subfamily Allantinae or tribe Empriini. It can be distinguished by paired white spots on the abdomen, angled crossvein, and the lack of a tarsal claw basal lobe (Smith 2003a).

Exotic pest species of concern

none

Host associations

In North America, Empria feeds on Rosa (rose), Fragaria (strawberry), Potentilla (cinquefoil), Rubus (blackberry), Betula (birch), Corylus (hazel), Alnus (alder), and Salix (willow) (Smith 2003a).

Life history

The female Empria lays eggs into the leaf tissue along a vein, sometimes in the leaf petiole. Larvae are light gray green, sometimes with longitudinal stripes, slightly flattened like a slug, dull, and finely textured. The young larvae feed singly on the underside of the leaf. At maturity they drop to the ground and build cells with dirt and sand, where they overwinter. Adults emerge in the spring. Described species of Empria are univoltine (Smith 1979a).

Empria obscurata and E. maculata are commonly referred to as the early strawberry slug and late strawberry slug, respectively. They feed on the foliage of cultivated strawberry plants and can be a minor pest (Smith 1979a).

Distribution

World: This genus is known from North America, Europe east through Russia, and in China, Korea, and Japan (Smith 1979a, Prous et al. 2011).

North America: Empria is widespread and recorded throughout North America, as far north as Alaska and the Yukon Territory, and as far south as Veracruz, Mexico (Smith 1979a, Smith 2003a).

Map data from: GBIF.org (29 October 2019) GBIF Occurrence Download Empria

Details about data used for maps can be found here.

Empria ignota female lateral habitus; photo by J. Orr, WSDA

Empria ignota female lateral habitus; photo by J. Orr, WSDA

Empria multicolor female dorsal habitus; photo by J. Orr, WSDA

Empria multicolor female dorsal habitus; photo by J. Orr, WSDA

Empria multicolor female face; photo by Q. Baine, WSDA

Empria multicolor female face; photo by Q. Baine, WSDA

Empria maculata male lateral habitus; photo by J. Orr, WSDA

Empria maculata male lateral habitus; photo by J. Orr, WSDA

Empria multicolor male dorsal habitus; photo by J. Orr, WSDA

Empria multicolor male dorsal habitus; photo by J. Orr, WSDA

Empria multicolor male face; photo by Q. Baine, WSDA

Empria multicolor male face; photo by Q. Baine, WSDA

Empria multicolor wings; photo by P. Jones, WSDA

Empria multicolor wings; photo by P. Jones, WSDA