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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/A Sawfly Of Some Sort?


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Hi Eric,

I took these photos last Sunday while on a hike in the Santa Cruz Mountains in the San Francisco Bay area (the Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve).  The insect in question was sitting quietly on a leaf maybe a foot above the ground and didn't react much to my presence.  It was about 4 pm.

I think it's a sawfly of some sort but I haven't been able to find a picture that resembles it much online or get more specific than that.  (Another person suggested that it was a California horntail, but the photos I could find seem very different in color and shape).  

I'd appreciate hearing your opinion!


Thank you for including the outstanding images with your question!

This is a web-spinning sawfly of some sort, family Pamphiliidae:

You can click the "browse" tab on the above link and see if you might find a match among the images, but this is a large family of insects that are mostly overlooked, so not all species are covered in Bugguide.

If you feel like sharing these images, please e-mail me at Bugeric24ATyahooDOTcom.  I would like to do a blog post about these insects, but have few images of my own, let alone quality ones.

Thanks for sharing your observations!


Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Eric R. Eaton


I answer insect and spider identification questions ONLY. Attach images if possible. No "what bit me?", "what do I feed this bug in captivity?", or science fair project questions please. NO TECHNICAL QUESTIONS ABOUT INSECT PHYSIOLOGY.


Principal author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America. Professional entomologist employed previously at University of Massachusetts, Chase Studio, Inc., and Cincinnati Zoo; contract work for West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, Smithsonian Institution, and Portland (Oregon) State University.

Author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Missouri Conservationist magazine, Ranger Rick, Birds & Blooms, Timeline (journal of the Ohio Historical Society). I have contributed to several books as well.

Oregon State University, undergraduate major in entomology, did not receive degree.

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One of the top 50 experts in all categories for, 2009.

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Principal author of the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Smithsonian Institution (contract), Cincinnati Zoo (employer), Portland State University (contract), Chase Studio, Inc (employer), Arkansas Museum of Discovery (guest speaker). Currently seeking speaking engagements, leadership roles at nature festivals, workshops, and ecotours.

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