PERGIDAE , SYMPHYTA , HYMENOPTERA
(Photo: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)
These are not true Caterpillars, but are the larvae of a Sawfly (which is really a wasp, or more accurately a Symphytan). When young, these larvae are gregarious sitting side by side as they skeletonise a host plant leaf. They feed on :
Other Sawfly species have different foodplants.
The larvae of Pterygophorus cinctus have very strong jaws. One group we captured gnawed through a plastic container in which we had housed them, leaving a little pile of plastic powder by their exit hole. They grow to a length of about 4 cms.
They pupate in a naked pupa without any covering or cocoon in the leaf litter.
An adult insect (it is misnamed as a 'fly') has pretty orange and black bands on its body. Its wingspan is about 2 cms. The species has been found in
Further reading :
Johann Christoph Friedrich Klug,
Die Blattwespen nach ihren Gattungen und Arten zusammengestellt,
Sitzungsberichte der Gesellschaft Naturforschender Freunde zu Berlin,
Volume 6 (1814) p. 278.
(updated 23 January 2012)