Solomon's Seal Sawfly
#1
A highly alliterative and highly destructive beast if you have Solomon's Seal in your garden has just shown up in mine, a week or so earlier than is typical.  It is one of our TRY! targets, a sawfly whose larvae turn the lush foliage of the plant to a gaunt skeleton, the Solomon's Seal Sawfly Phymatocera aterrima.  The adult is a very black insect, and needs some skill to identify, though any 10mm black insect lurking around your plant should at least raise suspicions.  The voracious larvae are pale grey, and need no skill.  See the animated .gif attached for the whole story.  Amazingly, the plant seems to cope with this defoliation year after year.

We have very few records in Highland, but I feel sure there are more to be found.  Another thing ideal for days of house arrest!


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#2
(26-05-2020, 07:07 PM)Murdo Macdonald Wrote: A highly alliterative and highly destructive beast if you have Solomon's Seal in your garden has just shown up in mine, a week or so earlier than is typical.  It is one of our TRY! targets, a sawfly whose larvae turn the lush foliage of the plant to a gaunt skeleton, the Solomon's Seal Sawfly Phymatocera aterrima.  The adult is a very black insect, and needs some skill to identify, though any 10mm black insect lurking around your plant should at least raise suspicions.  The voracious larvae are pale grey, and need no skill.  See the animated .gif attached for the whole story.  Amazingly, the plant seems to cope with this defoliation year after year.

We have very few records in Highland, but I feel sure there are more to be found.  Another thing ideal for days of house arrest!
Hi Murdo. I had a single adult female of this in my garden on 2 May - perched on the Solomon's seal.  About three years ago I had two larvae and no real damage. Not sure why they don't like my plants Anyway NH720444.

That should have read 27 May
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#3
If you have the vague feeling as you walk around your garden that a few weeks back there was a luxuriant clump of Solomon's Seal in your border, you might look a bit harder because now it might look like the attached image.  And the well-fed culprit will be sitting somewhere.  If you find it, please let us know!  It will not restore the plant, but it might push back the frontiers of knowledge by a bit.


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