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Look out for poplar sawfly, not known to be established in New Zealand

Adult and young larva
Young larva
Grown larva
Feeding damage

18 February 2019

Recently, a single poplar sawfly, Cladius grandis (Tenthredinidae), larva was detected in a gypsy moth trap in Dunedin. If you believe you have found poplar sawfly please call MPI on 0800 80 99 66.

What does a poplar sawfly look like?

Adults: 6-9mm; overall reddish yellow, head and part of thorax black; wings yellowish hyaline strongly iridescent, venation reddish yellow.

Larvae: up to 16mm; overall yellow with two lateral rows of black spots (dorsal much larger than ventral) and whitish hairs; head blackish and brownish except some yellow spots on the frontal part.


Host plants include species from Family Salicaceae: Populus alba, P. balsamifera, P. canadensis, P. dilatata, P. monilifera, P. nigra, P. tremula, P. pyramidalis, Salix caprea (pussy willow). 

Where to look? 

  • eggs are deposited in a row in the leaf petiole, check for lines of elongate raised scars
  • leaves bearing eggs are likely to show signs of feeding by the first instar larvae
  • larvae feed gregariously and lie side by side on the underside of the leaf 

Biosecurity Surveillance & Incursion Investigation Plant Health
Diagnostic & Surveillance Directorate


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