Xyelecia

Taxonomy

Family: Xyelidae
Family common name: xyelid sawflies
Subfamily: Macroxyelinae
Tribe: Xyeleciini
Genus: Xyelecia Ross, 1932
Subgenera: none

Background

Most phylogenies position Xyelidae as the most primitive family of all Hymenoptera. The xyelids are usually associated with a primitive plant group, coniferous trees (Ross 1932, Blank and Kramp 2017). The Macroxyelinae subfamily, however, is associated with angiosperms, and is likely the most primitive group of extant sawflies in the world (Smith and Schiff 1998).

Xyelecia adults are about 6–10 mm in length, with distinctive facial markings and a relatively short ovipositor sheath. This genus is fairly rare and not often observed (Smith 1964, Smith 1967).

Diversity

There are only two described extant species worldwide. One occurs in North America (Taeger et al. 2010).

Diagnostic characteristics

May be confused with

Xyelidae can be distinguished from other sawfly families by the long ovipositor and a characteristic elongate third antennal segment that is wider than the remaining flagellum. Xyelecia can be distinguished from Xyela and Pleroneura by the vein Sc and the number of antennal segments. It can be distinguished from Macroxyela and Megaxyela by the location of the Sc2/R junction on the fore wing (Ross 1932, Goulet 1992).

Exotic pest species of concern

none

Host associations

Larvae are recorded feeding on Abies concolor (white fir) (Smith 1967, Smith and Middlekauff 1987).

Life history

The life history of Xyelecia is not well-described. Larval morphology suggests that X. nearctica is a leaf bud feeder, much like related genus Pleroneura, which also feeds on fir trees (Smith 1967b).

Distribution

World: Xyelecia nearctica occurs in North America and X. japonica occurs in Japan (Togashi 1972, Smith 1978, Taeger et al. 2010).

North America: Xyelecia nearctica is mostly recorded from the Pacific Northwest, with multiple collections in California, Oregon, Idaho, and British Columbia (Smith 1964, Smith 1978).

Map data from: GBIF.org (26 June 2019) GBIF Occurrence Download Xyelecia

Details about data used for maps can be found here.

Xyelecia nearctica female lateral habitus; photo by J. Orr, WSDA

Xyelecia nearctica female lateral habitus; photo by J. Orr, WSDA

Xyelecia nearctica female dorsal habitus; photo by J. Orr, WSDA

Xyelecia nearctica female dorsal habitus; photo by J. Orr, WSDA

Xyelecia nearctica female face; photo by J. Orr, WSDA

Xyelecia nearctica female face; photo by J. Orr, WSDA

Xyelecia nearctica male lateral habitus; photo by J. Orr, WSDA

Xyelecia nearctica male lateral habitus; photo by J. Orr, WSDA

Xyelecia nearctica male dorsal habitus; photo by J. Orr, WSDA

Xyelecia nearctica male dorsal habitus; photo by J. Orr, WSDA

Xyelecia nearctica male face; photo by J. Orr, WSDA

Xyelecia nearctica male face; photo by J. Orr, WSDA

Xyelecia nearctica fore wing; photo by J. Orr, WSDA

Xyelecia nearctica fore wing; photo by J. Orr, WSDA

Xyelecia nearctica antenna; photo by J. Orr, WSDA

Xyelecia nearctica antenna; photo by J. Orr, WSDA