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Species Neoptilia tora

Unknown cobalt blue larvae - Neoptilia tora Unknown cobalt blue larvae - Neoptilia tora Possible cimbex larvae on abutilon - Neoptilia tora Cimbex americana - Neoptilia tora Neoptilia tora Smith - Neoptilia tora - female Neoptilia tora Smith - Neoptilia tora - female Neoptilia tora Smith - Neoptilia tora - female Neoptilia tora Smith - Neoptilia tora
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Hymenoptera (Ants, Bees, Wasps and Sawflies)
No Taxon ("Symphyta" - Sawflies, Horntails, and Wood Wasps)
Family Argidae (Argid Sawflies)
Subfamily Sterictiphorinae
Genus Neoptilia
Species tora (Neoptilia tora)
Other Common Names
Purple Sawfly (larvae)
Mallow Sawfly
Explanation of Names
Neoptilia tora Smith 1971
2 Nearctic spp. (plus two more in Mexico) (1)
adults: 6.2-7.0 mm (1)(2)

The youngest larvae are green, not purple.
Adult males have forked antennae, photo
c. to s. TX / Coahuila, Mex (Múzquiz) - Map
known TX Coutnies: Bexar, Blanco, Caldwell, Guadalupe, Kerr, San Patricio, Travis, and Starr, also from Choke Canyon State Park. (1)(BG data)(Flickr data)
larvae: Apr-Nov (BG data)(Flickr data)
adults: May-Sept (1)(2)
Larvae host on various mallows (Malvaceae), including
Velvet-leaf Mallow (Allowissadula holosericea), and Indian Mallow (Abutilon fruticosum) (Bugh 2010),(BG data)
Life Cycle
larvae and pupae are communal

brown mass on left is a collection of pupae that most of the adults in the unit tray emerged from.
Type Locality: Maxwell, Caldwell Co., Texas, June 2, 1930 (Maxwell is just e. of San Marcos, TX), also one paratype from San Antonio, Bexar Co., Sept. 19, 1968
Since this sp. was formally described in 1971, the Smithsonian collection acquired a couple of larvae (in alcohol) and one reared adult spmn from Roma, Starr Co., TX in 1975. (Note, the larvae loose their purple color in alcohol.) (D.R. Smith, pers comm. to MAQ, 2015)
This 1975 southmost TX record suggests the sp. isn't endemic to c. TX, however, there are *a lot* of very active bug photographers across so. TX and I don't know of any other reports of purple larvae that far south...
See Also
Neoptilia tora larva distinctive, adults have black abdomens
Neoptilia malvacearum larvae are yellow to orange, adults have orange abdomens (1)
Print References
Bugh, V. 2010. Riddle of the Purple Sawfly Larvae. Heard it through the pipevine. Pg. 2. (Full PDF)
Smith D.R. 1971. Nearctic sawflies of the genera Neoptilia Ashmead, Schizocerella Forsius, Aprosthema Konow, and Sphacophilus Provancher (Hymenoptera: Argidae). Transactions of the American Entomological Society 97: 537-594. (JSTOR) (1)
Internet References
Type Info - Smithsonian