Wednesday, 12 August 2015

What Is It?

Joe, who stays in Glenborrodale, has sent the Diary these pictures of what he thinks is a horntail, a type of sawfly.  It's big, some 2.5" long and, with what looks like a sting in its tail, looks fearsome.

Joe is severely allergic to wasp venom and is very anxious to have the identification confirmed as horntails, like all sawflies, don't have stings.  Can anyone help?

Many thanks to Joe for the pictures.


  1. Joe is correct, it is a female Greater Horntail (Urocerus gigas). The projection at its rear is not a sting but is an ovipositor, which she uses to lay her eggs in the trunks of coniferous trees. Despite their slightly fearsome appearance, these insects are quite harmless being, as you state Jon, of the sawfly family so Joe can handle it without fear.

  2. Hi, looks like you've got a wood wasp, its the right place to find them. don't panic as the large protrusion on the tail is an ovipositor for the laying of eggs, these insects to not sting or bite, live safe.

    The Raptor

  3. Brilliant! Many thanks, Derryck - I knew we could rely on you. Jon

  4. Many thanks, Raptor - confirms the identification. Jon