Caliroa cerasi (Linnaeus, 1758)
Pear or Cherry Slug
TENTHREDINIDAE ,   SYMPHYTA ,   HYMENOPTERA
  
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com )
and
Stella Crossley


(Photo: courtesy of Merlin Crossley, Melbourne, Victoria)

These are not true Caterpillars or slugs, but are the larvae of a Sawfly (which is a Wasp, or more accurately a Symphytan). They are black with a white line, and with a yellow head and tail. They appear to have no legs, and slither about on their food plant, which can be many species from the plant family ROSACEAE :

  • Serviceberry ( Amelanchier species ),
  • Flowering Quince ( Chaenomeles species ), and
  • Cotoneaster ( Cotoneaster species ),
  • Hawthorn ( Crataegus species ),
  • Quince ( Cydonia oblonga ),
  • Cherry ( Prunus avium ),
  • Plum ( Prunus domestica ),
  • Pear ( Pyrus communis ), and
  • Mountain Ash ( Sorbus species ).

    They grow to a length of about 1 cm. They pupate in a cell in the soil.

    The adult is a little black insect, with a wingspan of about 1 cm.


    (Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    The female slits the leaf of a host plant between the upper and lower surfaces and lays the eggs inside the leaf.

    The species is found worldwide, for example :

  • Brazil,
  • Canada,
  • Finland,
  • Germany,
  • Italy,
  • New Zealand,
  • Slovenia,
  • South Africa, and
  • USA.

    as well as in Australia in

  • Victoria,
  • Tasmania, and
  • Western Australia.

    Control has been attempted using :

  • entomopathogenic fungi,
  • Neem Oil,
  • carbaryl (Sevin)
  • Rotenone,
  • various Ichneumonid wasps,
  • water jets, and
  • wood ashes.


    Further reading :

    Carl Linnaeus,
    Insecta Hymenoptera,
    Systema Naturae,
    Edition 10, Volume 1 (1760), Class 5, Part 3, p. 557, No. 14.


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    (updated 3 January 2010, 15 May 2013, 10 March 2014)