Tenthredinidae is the largest family of sawflies, with well over 7,500 species worldwide, divided into 430 genera. Larvae are typically herbivores and feed on the foliage of trees and shrubs, with occasional exceptions that are leaf miners, stem borers, or gall makers. The larvae of externally feeding species resemble small caterpillars. As with all hymenopterans, common sawflies undergo complete metamorphosis.
The family has no easily seen diagnostic features, though the combination of five to nine antennal flagellomeres plus a clear separation of the first abdominal tergum from the metapleuron can reliably separate them. These sawflies are often black or brown, and from 3–20 mm long. Like other sawflies, they lack the slender "wasp-waist", or petiole, between the thorax and abdomen, characteristic of many hymenopterans . The mesosoma (or thorax) and the metasoma (abdomen) are instead broadly joined. The Tenthredinidae are also often somewhat dorsoventrally flattened, which will distinguish them at least from the slender cephids (which, together with the common sawflies, comprise many of the Nearctic species of Symphyta).
Females use their saw-like ovipositors to cut slits through barks of twigs, into which translucent eggs are wedged, which damages the trees. They are common in meadows, and in forest glades near rapid streams. Adults eat little, while larvae feed on foliage of streamside trees and shrubs, especially willow.
A number of species and genera have been described from the fossil record such as Eriocampa tulameenensis and Pseudosiobla campbelli of British Columbia.
The Tenthredinidae are divided into seven subfamilies. Of the 430 genera, nine contain greater than 50 species.
Selandriinae including Dolerinae (75)
Of these subfamilies, Tenthredininae and Allantinae are sister groups, and in turn form a sister group to the Nematinae.