Tenthredinidae

Taxonomy

Superfamily: Tenthredinoidea
Family: Tenthredinidae
Family common name: common sawflies
Subfamilies: Allantinae, Blennocampinae, Heterarthrinae, Nematinae, Selandriinae, Tenthredininae

Background

The family Tenthredinidae is the most species-rich family of sawflies; this family makes up about 66% of all sawfly species (Taeger et al. 2010). The family is divided into six subfamilies, each of which has their own diagnostic characteristics. Tenthredinidae sawflies are found throughout the world and are extremely diverse in feeding behaviors, host plants, larval morphology, and habitat (Goulet 1992).

Diversity

Most recently, the family is recorded as including 415 genera and 5721 species worldwide. About 88 genera and 940 species are Nearctic in distribution (Taeger et al. 2018).

North American genera

See the fact sheet index for the 88 North American genera of Tenthredinidae.

Diagnostic characteristics

Host associations

The majority of Tenthredinidae larvae feed on various angiosperms, including many deciduous trees and flowering plants. Unlike other subfamilies, Selandriinae larvae exclusively feed on ferns and grasses (Smith and Middlekauff 1987). A few Tenthredinidae feed as adults, on flower nectar and pollen, or on other insects (Goulet 1996).

May be confused with

Sawflies in this family are similar in form to Diprionidae, Pergidae, and Argidae but can be distinguished by a lack of clearly serrate or pectinate antennae and the number of antennal segments (Goulet 1992).

Life history

Larval morphology and life histories are diverse and difficult to generalize. Most species feed externally on foliage of the host plant, but others are leaf miners, fruit borers, stem borers or gall formers (Smith and Middlekauff 1987, Goulet 1992).

Distribution

World: Tenthredinidae is present on all continents except Antarctica. Except for introductions, they do not occur on most oceanic islands (Goulet 1992).

North America: Representatives of the family occur throughout the continent (Smith and Middlekauff 1987).

Periclista diluta female lateral habitus; photo by J. Orr, WSDA

Periclista diluta female lateral habitus; photo by J. Orr, WSDA

Dolerus sp. male lateral habitus; photo by Q. Baine, WSDA

Dolerus sp. male lateral habitus; photo by Q. Baine, WSDA

Metallus capitalis female lateral habitus; photo by J. Orr, WSDA

Metallus capitalis female lateral habitus; photo by J. Orr, WSDA

Rhogogaster lateraria female lateral habitus; photo by J. Orr, WSDA

Rhogogaster lateraria female lateral habitus; photo by J. Orr, WSDA