Pterygophorus cinctus Klug, 1814
Bottlebrush Sawfly
Don Herbison-Evans
( )
Stella Crossley

Pterygophorus cinctus
(Photo: Don Herbison-Evans, Sydney, New South Wales)

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 :

  • Bottlebrush ( Callistemon, MYRTACEAE ).

    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.

    Pterygophorus cinctus
    (Photo: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    They pupate as a naked pupa in the leaf litter without any covering or cocoon.

    Pterygophorus cinctus
    (Photo: courtesy of Andrew Gemmell, Moonee Ponds, Victoria)

    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

  • Queensland,
  • New South Wales,
  • Victoria, and
  • Tasmania.

    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.

    Australian Not-Caterpillars
    Australian Not-Moths

    (updated 23 January 2012, 14 May 2018)