Pine Sawfly Andy
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larvae eating Scots pine needles, New Forest Hampshire, UK.

European pine sawfly larvae (Neodiprion sertifer).

Pine sawfly larvae can be serious forest pests. The female sawfly inserts the eggs into slits along the edges the pine needles where the eggs lay dormant for the winter. The larvae when hatched feed gregariously together in a cluster stripping the pine branches of its needles. Whenever I find these larvae you only have to stand still and look around to see many of the other pine trees in that area have been affected, although the trees should survive they look badly damaged. The adult larvae have an orange-red head with a yellow-green body with black spots down the side. They resemble moth caterpillars when disturbed the larvae raise there heads and tails together. I remember when handled like other sawfly larvae they excrete a foul-smelling liquid to deter predators. The adult larvae fall to the ground to spin their cocoons on the ground.