Hi, I'm new to the forums. I don't live in Leicestershire, i live in Leeds, but as a fresh new amateur entomologist, I have recently found your site to be the most helpful identification site. So I am hoping your forums can be just as helpful :) It may also be worth noting that I have tried almost everywhere at this point to try and get the more seasoned experts to provide their opinion, but I am so far coming up short.
As the title suggests, I'm currently tearing my hair out over the identification of a sawfly caterpillar and have narrowed it down to one of two. Dolerus ferrugatus and Sciapteryx consobrina appear extremely similar, and according to the information on this site, Sciapteryx consobrina is a rare species in the UK. Of course, I would be absolutely thrilled if what i've found is Sciapteryx consobrina. A part of me is trying to be sensible and telling me I will know once it's reared to adulthood. But the little kid in me is just too excited to wait lol
The caterpillar was found amongst low vegetation in my back garden in Leeds, West Yorkshire at approx. 6:30pm on the 1st of July. I collected the caterpillar and have been rearing it since then and watching it grow. When it was first collected, it was a pale green with no other markings, orange/yellow head which has not changed in colour or shade. I can't get an exact size right now as I forgot to measure it last night, but if this is required I can do this when I get home from work. It has been readily feeding on juncus leaves, juncus is a very popular plant in my garden.
The links below are the many photos i've tried to get. If more is needed, please let me know.
There are many species where there is a surprising lack of knowledge, particularly about lifecycles and juvenile life stages. Sawflies is such a group though there are experts around and an excellent Yahoo group exchanging and building knowledge. Have you tried posting the images on the sawfly Yahoo group? This is probably your best chance of getting help. Otherwise you need to be patient knowing you are adding to the collective knowledge! Keep taking photos of all stages. With nature, the more you know the more you realise how little you know.