Sawfly - Tenthredininae subfamily
Order Hymenoptera - Ants, Bees, Wasps and Sawflies
Symphyta - Sawflies, Horntails, and Wood Wasps
/ Family Tenthredinidae
Females of this subfamily will often dine on smaller bugs in search of protein for building their eggs.
Bees & Wasps Index | Bees & Wasps Main | Stinging Hymenoptera
I watched this yellow female sawfly capture and eat a small beetle. My camera clock showed the entire process lasted 8 minutes; all that was left of the beetle was bits 'n' pieces.

Live adult sawfly photographed at West Chicago Prairie, DuPage County, Illinois. Size: 10mm. One of the ways sawflies differ from other hymenopterans is that they do not have a narrow waist. The "saw" in sawfly refers to the saw-edged ovipositor (fig. 2) these insects use to cut slits into foliage wherein they lay eggs.


This little gal was very thorough at dissecting her meal
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.
sawfly ovipositor
Figure 2. Sawfly ovipositor, Dolerus nitens

Cleaning antennae
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Order Hymenoptera: Bees, Wasps, & Ants
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 - of which 18,000 live in North America. Hymenopterans inhabit a wide variety of habitats, and show an incredible diversity in size, behavior, structure and color.
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