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Definition of SAWFLY
: any of numerous hymenopterous insects (superfamily Tenthredinoidea and especially family Tenthredinidae) with the female usually having a sawlike ovipositor and with the larva resembling a plant-feeding caterpillar
Any of numerous, widely distributed insect species in five families (superfamily Tenthredinoidea, order Hymenoptera). Typical sawflies (family Tenthredinidae) are often brightly coloured and are commonly found on flowers; the North American pear slug eats pear, cherry, and plum leaves. The larvae of many species in the other four families also damage trees. Argid sawflies (family Argidae) feed on rose bushes and willow, oak, and birch trees. The North American elm sawfly (family Cimbicidae) feeds on elm and willow. The North American conifer sawflies (family Diprionidae) are common, sometimes serious pests of coniferous trees. The pergid sawflies (family Pergidae) consist of a single genus in South America and Australia.