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Chemical communication in sawflies and its use in forest protection

Most sawflies (Symphyta) are plant feeders and many species are pest insects in agriculture or forestry. Every year the larvae of diprionids (conifer or pine sawflies) defoliate large areas of conifer forests in Europe, Asia and North America. The most important effect of pine sawfly defoliation is reduced growth of the trees. In some areas chemical insecticides are used to reduce populations and damage. The general biology and distribution of these species are usually well known, whereas the chemical ecology of sawflies is less known, with exception of the family Diprionidae.

Within this project we attempt to characterize pheromones of different sawfly species, and so far emphasis has been on diprionid species. We also investigate the possibility to use pheromones for monitoring and control of sawflies. Until now the following diprionid species have been studied within the project: Diprion jingyuanensis, D. pini, D. similis, Gilpinia frutetorum, G. pallida, G. socia, Macrodiprion nemoralis, Microdiprion pallipes, Neodiprion dailingensis, N. sertifer. Preliminary investigations have also been done on the birch sawfly, Arge pullata (Argidae) and on Cephalcia species (Pamphiliidae).

Recent publications

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Neodiprion serifer larvae on Norway Spruce
Neodiprion sertifer larvae on Norway Spruce. Photo: Olle Anderbrant.

People involved



  • Swedish Research Councils (NFR, SJFR)
  • Carl Trygger Foundation
  • The European Union through the project "Pine sawfly pheromones for sustainable management of European forests" (PHERODIP)