Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
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Family Siricidae - Horntails

Large queen wasp - Tremex columba - female Pigeon Horntail? - Tremex columba - female Most likely Hymenoptera, but lots of things throwing me off. - Urocerus albicornis - female Tremex columba - female Tremex columba? - Tremex columba Horntail Wasp - Urocerus flavicornis - female Tremex columba, for record. - Tremex columba - female
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 Siricidae (Horntails)
Explanation of Names
The common name of horntails refers to their abdominal spine
2 subfamilies, with 28 spp. in 5 genera in our area and ~120 spp. in 10 genera worldwide(1)
Size varies tremendously, adults of the same species may vary from 1 to 5 cm
Both sexes have a short abdominal dorsal projection (horn) that gives them their common name. Females also have an ovipositor in a sheath, placed ventrally in the abdomen.
Keys to genera and spp. in(1)
forests of the Northern Hemisphere south to Cuba, n. Central America, India, New Guinea, and n. Africa (2 spp. are known from tropical Africa)(2)
Wood (Tremicinae mostly on hardwoods; Siricinae, on conifers); larvae require a symbiotic fungus to digest wood(2)
Life Cycle
larval development may take 1 to 3 years to complete depending on species and climate(2)
Some are serious pests of trees and spread as larvae with lumber trade.
The most important predators and parasitoids are the ichneumonid wasp Megarhyssa and some nematodes
Horntails do not sting: what looks like a sting is the ovipositor the female uses to lay eggs in wood
Works Cited
1.Siricidae (Hymenoptera: Symphyta: Siricoidea) of the Western Hemisphere
Schiff, N.M., Goulet, H., Smith, D.R., Boudreault, C., Wilson, A.D., and Scheffler, B.E. 2012. Canadian Journal of Arthropod Identification No. 21: 305 pp.
2.Guide to the siricid woodwasps of North America
Schiff N.M., Valley S.A., LaBonte J.R., Smith D.R. 2006. USDA Forest Service, Forest Health Technology Enterprise Team, Morgantown, WV. 101 pp.