Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
First described in 1771 by Carolus Linnaeus
as Ichneumon macrurus
Explanation of Names
macrurus is from Greek makros (μακρος)- "long" + oura (ουρα)- tail
It parasitizes Pigeon tremex, Tremex columba
Townes, who was knowledgeable of Latin and Greek, interpreted the name macrurus as a noun, which is implied by his his use of the new combination Megarhyssa macrurus in his 1944/45 catalog as well as in his 1960 treatment of the North American species of Megarhyssa. This is consistent with the above explanation of the name. Unfortunately, some recent papers have unjustifiably begun citing the combination as Megarhyssa macrura, apparently following the unjustified use of that combination in the Taxapad database. I (RWC) see no reasonable argument for treating the name as anything other than a noun, but even if it could be argued that Linnaeus might have intended the name as adjectival (which I doubt), it seems to me that Townes treatment of the name as a noun has first revisor status.