/saw"fluy'/, n., pl. sawflies.
any of numerous hymenopterous insects of the family Tenthredinidae, the female of which has a sawlike ovipositor for inserting the eggs in the tissues of a host plant.
[1765-75; SAW1 + FLY2]

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Any of numerous, widely distributed insect species in five families (superfamily Tenthredinoidea, order Hymenoptera).

Typical sawflies (family Tenthredinidae) are often brightly coloured and are commonly found on flowers; the North American pear slug eats pear, cherry, and plum leaves. The larvae of many species in the other four families also damage trees. Argid sawflies (family Argidae) feed on rose bushes and willow, oak, and birch trees. The North American elm sawfly (family Cimbicidae) feeds on elm and willow. The North American conifer sawflies (family Diprionidae) are common, sometimes serious pests of coniferous trees. The pergid sawflies (family Pergidae) consist of a single genus in South America and Australia.

Sawfly (Cimbex)

William E. Ferguson

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 any of a large group of widely distributed insects that are thought to be the most primitive group within the order Hymenoptera. Adults are wasplike in appearance, although they do not have a constricted “waist” between the thorax and abdomen. Larvae are caterpillar-like and can be distinguished from lepidopterous caterpillars in that all body segments following the three having true legs have a pair of fleshy prolegs (lepidopterous caterpillars have several segments without prolegs). The superfamily consists of five families: Argidae, argid sawflies; Pergidae, pergid sawflies; Cimbicidae, cimbicid sawflies; Diprionidae, conifer sawflies; and Tenthredinidae, typical sawflies.

      Argid sawflies (Argidae) are stout-bodied insects; they number more than 400 species and are distributed worldwide. The larvae of many species feed on rose bushes, willow, oak, and birch trees.

      The preferred food plants of pergid sawflies (Pergidae), which occur mainly in South America and Australia, are oak, hickory, and eucalyptus. The family consists of a single genus, Acordulecera.

      Cimbicid sawflies (Cimbicidae) are large, robust insects easily recognized by their club-shaped antennae. The most common North American species is the elm sawfly (Cimbex americana), a dark blue insect about 2.5 cm (1 inch) long. The larvae feed on elm and willow. In Europe the larvae of Clavellaria amerinae feed on willow and poplar.

      Conifer sawflies (Diprionidae) are medium-sized insects. The family includes several serious pests of coniferous trees. Diprionids are common throughout most of North America except in the Middle West.

      The typical sawflies (Tenthredinidae) number about 4,000 species and exhibit considerable diversity in structure and habit. They are often brightly coloured and are commonly found on flowers. Many are poor fliers. The leaves of pear, cherry, and plum trees are eaten by the destructive North American species Caliroa cerasi, commonly called the pear slug. The larch sawfly (Pristiphora erichsonii) is sometimes highly destructive to larch trees in the United States and Canada. The elm leaf miner (Fenusa ulmi) is sometimes a serious pest of elm trees.

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Universalium. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Sawfly — Saw fly , n. (Zo[ o]l.) Any one of numerous species of hymenopterous insects belonging to the family {Tenthredinid[ae]}. The female usually has an ovipositor containing a pair of sawlike organs with which she makes incisions in the leaves or… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • sawfly — [sô′flī΄] n. pl. sawflies any of various four winged hymenopteran insects (esp. families Tenthredinidae and Cimbicidae): the abdomen of the female is provided with a pair of sawlike organs that cut into plants, the eggs being then deposited in… …   English World dictionary

  • Sawfly — Symphyta redirects here. For the moth genus, see Symphyta (genus).Taxobox name = Sawflies fossil range=Triassic Recent image width = 250px regnum = Animalia phylum = Arthropoda classis = Insecta ordo = Hymenoptera subordo = Symphyta subdivision… …   Wikipedia

  • sawfly — noun Date: 1773 any of numerous hymenopterous insects (superfamily Tenthredinoidea and especially family Tenthredinidae) with the female usually having a sawlike ovipositor and with the larva resembling a plant feeding caterpillar …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • sawfly — noun Any of various flying insects of the suborder Symphyta whose ovipositor is long and often serrated and is used to cut into plants to lay eggs …   Wiktionary

  • sawfly — n. insect whose female has a saw like egg laying organ …   English contemporary dictionary

  • sawfly — noun (plural sawflies) an insect related to the wasps, with a sawlike tube used in laying eggs in plant tissues. [Suborder Symphyta: many species.] …   English new terms dictionary

  • sawfly — saw•fly [[t]ˈsɔˌflaɪ[/t]] n. pl. flies ent any of numerous insects of the family Tenthredinidae, the female of which has a sawlike ovipositor for inserting the eggs in the tissues of a host plant • Etymology: 1765–75 …   From formal English to slang

  • sawfly — /ˈsɔflaɪ/ (say sawfluy) noun (plural sawflies) any of the hymenopterous insects constituting the family Tenthredinidae, the females of which are characterised by a pair of saw like organs for cutting slits in plants to hold their eggs …  

  • sawfly — n. (pl. flies) any insect of the superfamily Tenthredinidae, with a serrated ovipositor, the larvae of which are injurious to plants …   Useful english dictionary

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