home recording

introduction


Identifying sawflies is still a very complicated business and, in the majority of cases, very close examination of specimens (and even internal structures) is the only way to be absolutely sure of their identity. Trying to match insects with photographs will invariably lead to mistakes and should not really be attempted (although the species marked green in the identification part of the species pages are distinctive in the arrangement of wing veins, shape of antennae and  more-or-less colour in adults). As we learn more about them the need to take specimens will hopefully decrease, but for the time being at least adults should be identified using the annotated versions of R. B. Benson’s identification handbooks (1951-58) and other resources below together with a x45 lens, macro camera or ideally a microscope. The images on this site are best used for roughly checking the results you get from the identification keys.


As with most insects, immature stages are poorly known. This is particularly noticeable with sawflies as they so resemble the caterpillars of moths and butterflies - the only really well understood immature insects in Britain. Some can readily be identified (the larvae marked green in the identification part of the species pages are distinctive in appearance and host plant), others are included in some identification keys but these can still lead to incorrect names. Studying life histories of sawflies is valuable in increasing our knowledge of immature stages and sawfly biology in general - especially where these come from the eggs of an identified adult.