Argidae

Taxonomy

Superfamily: Tenthrediniodea

Family: Argidae
Family Common Name: Argid sawflies
Subfamilies: Zenarginae, Arginae, Atomacerinae, Erigleninae, Dielocerinae, Sterictiphora

Background

The family Argidae is the second most species-rich family of sawflies worldwide and has a widespread distribution (Taeger et al. 2018). The family is divided into six subfamilies, each of which has their own diagnostic characteristics. Argidae sawflies are found throughout the world and have a diverse suite of host plants (Smith 1992). Several species are economic pests, and at least two species have been utilized as biocontrol agents (Smith and Middlekauff 1987). Adults are easily recognized by a small-medium body size, about 3-10 mm, and the unsegmented flagellum (Gouler 1992).

Diversity

Argidae includes 60 genera and 913 species worldwide. About 9 genera and 90 species are Nearctic in distribution (Taeger et al. 2018).

North American genera

Aprosthema

Arge

Atomacera

Neoptilia

Ptenos

Schizocerella

Sphacophilus

Sterictiphora

Zynzus

Diagnostic characteristics

May be confused with

Sawflies in this family are similar in form to families in the superfamily Tenthredinoidea: Diprionidae, Pergidae and Tenthredinidae. Argidae can be distinguished by the number of antennal segments (Goulet 1992).

Host associations

In North America, Argidae feed on a broad range of hosts in the plant families Anacardiaceae, Convolvulaceae, Fabaceae, Malvaceae, Portulacaceae, Rosaceae, and Tiliaceae (Smith 1992).

Life history

The majority of Argidae are external leaf feeders, excepting Schizocerella pilicornis, a leaf-miner (Smith and Middlekauff 1987). Several argid species have subsocial habits including gregarious feeding, group cocoon formation and protection of developing eggs and larvae by the mother (Smith 1992). Larvae generally have noticeable colors, tubercles or setae (Smith and Middlekauff 1987).

Distribution

World: Argidae is present on all continents except Antarctica (Goulet 1992).

North America: Representatives of the family occur throughout the United States and Canada and into Mexico, the Caribbean Islands and Central America (Smith and Middlekauff 1987, Smith 1992).

Arge sp. male lateral habitus; photo by J. Orr, WSDA

Arge sp. male lateral habitus; photo by J. Orr, WSDA

Sphacophilus sp. female lateral habitus; photo by J. Orr, WSDA

Sphacophilus sp. female lateral habitus; photo by J. Orr, WSDA

Sterictiphora maura male lateral habitus; photo by J. Orr, WSDA

Sterictiphora maura male lateral habitus; photo by J. Orr, WSDA

Zynzus bicolor male lateral habitus; photo by J. Orr, WSDA

Zynzus bicolor male lateral habitus; photo by J. Orr, WSDA