This study compares the population genetic structure of two obligate parthenogenetic sawfly species, Aneugmenus padi (L.) Zhelochovtsev and Eurhadinoceraea ventralis (Panzer) Enslin (Hymenoptera: Tenthredinidae). Allozymes were used to detect genetic differences in larvae collected at different sites in six European countries. For A. padi, scoring six polymorphic enzymes revealed the existence of five dominant, widely distributed clones and several more with only very few individuals occurring locally. The clonal diversity and identity differed across collection sites, with up to at maximum eight clones coexisting at a single locality. In contrast, in E. ventralis, individuals from different localities were all monomorphic for at least six different enzymes and are therefore assumed to belong to the same clone. Differences in population genetic structure of these sawfly species can be related to the differing distributions of their host plants: the fern, Pteridium aquilinum, the host of A. padi, has been an invasive species for more than two hundred years. Spread of clones of A. padi is likely to have closely followed the complex invasive pattern of spread of the plant. Larvae of E. ventralis were collected from local, horticultural plantings of Clematis spp. of recent origin probably with gardeners having traded plants infested with the sawfly. (C) 2004 The Linnean Society of London.