Sirex melanopoda

Taxonomy

Family: Siricidae
Subfamily: Siricinae
Genus: Sirex Linnaeus, 1760
Species: Sirex melanopoda Benson, 1965
Common names: none

Background

Sirex melanopoda is a rare species known from India (Smith 1978).

Diagnostic characteristics

See Sirex for genus-level diagnostic characteristics.

Females:

Males:

  • Head, body, and legs completely metallic blue-black (Benson 1965)
  • abdomen tergites 3 to apex slightly purple-tinted (Benson 1965)
  • fore wing slightly yellowish hyaline (Benson 1965)

May be confused with

Both sexes of S. melanopoda can be distinguished from S. torvus by the entirely black legs. The male is distinguished by the entirely dark abdomen (Benson 1965).

Morphological and geographical variation

none recorded

Host associations

Sirex species feed on trees of Pinaceae and Cupressaceae. Sirex melanopoda is known from Abies pindrow (west Himalayan fir) (Smith 1978).

Life history

Female Sirex harbor symbiotic basidiomycete fungus in abdominal glands called mycangia. During oviposition, the site is inoculated with the fungus (Amylostereum spp.), which begins to decompose the surrounding wood. Larvae feed on the fungus, and in the process bore galleries through the wood (Schiff et al. 2012).

Larvae are creamy white and grub-like in appearance with a dark head capsule. As with adults, larvae possess a short dorsal horn on the posterior end of the body. The larvae bore galleries into wood, feeding until pupation and subsequent emergence. Throughout this process, the larvae use their horn to pack the tunnel behind them with sawdust. Emergence holes are perfectly circular. The fungal symbiont is carried in specialized organs in female larvae that develop into the mycangia after metamorphosis (Schiff et al. 2012).

Distribution

World: Sirex melanopoda is recorded in the Jammu and Kashmir, Uttaranchal and Punjab states of India (Benson 1965, Smith 1978, Saini et al. 2006).

North America: Not recorded.

No specific locality data was available for mapping the range of this species at the time of publication.

Specimens of this species not available for imaging.