common sawfly

(Macrophya epinota)

Conservation Status
common sawfly (Macrophya epinota)
Photo by Alfredo Colon
  IUCN Red List

not listed


not listed


not listed


Macrophya epinota is a black, small to medium-sized, common sawfly. Females average (10.2 mm) in length, much larger than males, which average 5 16 (7.5 mm) in length.

The female averages (10.2 mm) in length. The head is smooth, shiny, and black, with white mouthparts. There are two large compound eyes on the sides of the head and three small simple eyes (ocelli) on the top of the head. Behind the ocelli there are two white, narrowly triangular spots (postocellar spots) on each side of the head that sometimes join together. The antennae have 9 segments. They are thread-like, cylindrical, and entirely black.

The plate covering the thorax (pronotum) is black and shiny with white markings. There is a white stripe wrapping around the forward (dorsal) edge of each side of the pronotum. The forward (anterior) portion of the stripe is narrow, the lateral portion is narrow to wide. The triangular plate between the wing bases (scutellum) is partly white.

The thorax and abdomen are broadly connected. The abdomen is entirely black above, mostly black below with a broad, white, longitudinal stripe down the middle.

The third and largest leg segment (femur) on the front leg may be entirely white or white in front and black in back. On the middle leg it is always white in front and black in back. The fourth segment (tibia) of the front leg has two spurs at the tip. The tibia of the front and middle legs are white in front and black in back. The last five segments (tarsi) together correspond to the foot of the insect. The terminal segment is black. The remaining segments are white with a narrow black tip. The hind legs are black with white markings, including a narrow band at the tip of the femur, and a broad band in the middle of the tibia. The tarsi are colored similar to the front and middle legs.

The wings are clear and evenly tinged dark brown.

The male is much smaller, averaging 5 16 (7.5 mm) in length. On the head, the postocellar spots are separated, never joined. There is a narrow white stripe on the edge of the forward half of the side of the pronotum, and a narrowly separated pair of white spots on the scutellum. There is a pair of large white spots at the base of the abdomen. On the front leg, the femur is always white in front and black in back. The dark areas of the tarsi are brownish, not black. It is otherwise similar to the female.




Male: 5 16



Similar Species












Life Cycle




Larva Food


elderberry (Sambucus)


Adult Food




Distribution Map



24, 30.







Hymenoptera (ants, bees, wasps, and sawflies)  


Symphyta (horntails, sawflies)  


Tenthredinoidea (sawflies)  


Tenthredinidae (common sawflies)  


  Tribe Macrophyini  





Allantus epinotus

Macrophya epinotus

Tenthredo epinotus


Common Names


No species in this genus that occurs in Minnesota has a common name, nor does the genus itself. The common name for the family Tenthredinidae is common sawflies, and it is applied here for convenience.









On insects and arachnids, the third, largest, most robust segment of the leg, coming immediately before the tibia. On humans, the thigh bone.



Simple eye; an eye with a single lens. Plural: ocelli.



The saddle-shaped, exoskeletal plate on the upper side of the first segment of the thorax of an insect.



The exoskeletal plate covering the rearward (posterior) part of the middle segment of the thorax in some insects. In Coleoptera, Hemiptera, and Homoptera, the dorsal, often triangular plate behind the pronotum and between the bases of the front wings. In Diptera, the exoskeletal plate between the abdomen and the thorax.



The last two to five subdivisions of an insect’s leg, attached to the tibia; the foot. Plural: tarsi.



The fourth segment of an insect leg, after the femur and before the tarsus (foot).






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Alfredo Colon

    common sawfly (Macrophya epinota)   common sawfly (Macrophya epinota)  








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  Alfredo Colon

Location: Woodbury, Minnesota

common sawfly (Macrophya epinota)  






Created: 8/19/2019

Last Updated:

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