Sawfly Larvae

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GregL's picture
Sawfly Larvae

I just thought I would post about some interesting stuff I have observed around here.

Last year we had a plague of "spitfires", sawfly larvae that attack our yellow box (Eucalyptus melliodora) trees. They were so bad they defoliated a lot of trees last summer, though the trees recovered. It meant no yellow box flowers this year so no yellow box honey, an important crop for beekeepers, some of the best honey you can get.

Spitfires are larvae that congregate together and exude toxic chemicals that will make your bare skin sting if you rub against them. Anyway, we get a lot of trouble with pear and cherry slug, Caliroa cerasi, in our orchard. This year some of the pear, plum and cherry trees were badly affected. Recently when picking cherries I noticed a stink bug with it's mouthparts sucking from a pear slug. Turns out the pear slugs are also a type of sawfly larvae, and the predatory stink bugs of the pentatomidae; podopinae are native stink bugs which were attracted by the spitfires but stayed around to eat some pear slugs and have brought the infestation under control. I think it is an interesting example of how complex and unpredictable our ecosystems are.

Woko's picture

A wonderful example indeed, Greg. And one to stand in awe of. 

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