|Poison Ivy Sawfly - Arge humeralis|
Order Hymenoptera - Ants, Bees, Wasps and Sawflies / Family Argidae
This species is a leaf miner of the poison ivy plant, Rhus radicans.
Insects & Spiders | Bees & Wasps Index | Bees & Wasps Main | Stinging Hymenoptera
This species is a leaf miner of the poison ivy plant, Rhus radicans. It is also a convincing mimic of these wasps. Unlike many hymenopterans, sawflies do not have stingers - their ovipositors developed into the eponymous sawlike device
There are 59 species of Argid sawflies in North America. They are most easily recognized as stout-bodied insects with three-segmented antennae; the third segment being very long. Many argid sawflies are black or dark colored, but a few have bright orange or red mimicking the coloration of the Braconid parasitic wasps.
Sawflies get their name from the saw-like nature of their ovipositor. This female is using her saw to slit open blades of grass wherein she lays her eggs. It took me many attempts before I was able to capture this process. It is virtually impossible to tell what is going on while these creatures are laying eggs, it's so quick, and the structures involved are so small.
Hymenoptera (Latin for membrane wing) is a vast assemblage of insects second only to Coleoptera (beetles) in the number of described species. Hymenoptera number some 115,000 species vs. 350,000 in Coleoptera. 18,000 of these species call North America north of Mexico home. Hymenopterans inhabit a wide variety of habitats, and show an incredible diversity in size, behavior, structure and color.
Insects & Spiders | Bees & Wasps Index | Bees & Wasps Main | Beetles Index