Family common name: horntails and wood wasps
Subfamilies: Auliscinae, Gigasiricinae, Siricinae, Tremicinae
The family Siricidae is represented in North America by two subfamilies (Goulet 1992). All horntail species are wood-borers as larvae that feed on symbiotic wood-decaying fungus. Some species are economic pests of trees grown for lumber. This family is fairly easy to recognize by the large pointed cornus and the large collar-like pronotum (Goulet 1992). Many species are large and have either metallic coloring, bright yellow patterning, or exceedingly long and obvious ovipositor sheaths that look like a wasp’s stinger (Schiff et al. 2012).
The subfamily Siricinae feeds on conifer trees from the families Pinaceae and Cupresaceae. Tremicinae species feeds on angiosperm trees including species from the families Aceraceae, Fabaceae, Fagaceae, Rosaceae, Salicaceae, Ulmaceae, and Betulaceae (Smith and Middlekauff 1987, Schiff et al 2012).
Siricidae in North America are wood borers. Usually they oviposit into decayed or damaged wood while also depositing a symbiotic wood-decaying fungus. The developing larvae feed on the fungus (Schiff et al. 2012).
Sirex noctilio is an example of a horntail pest with extensive economic impact.
North America: The Siricidae occurs throughout forested regions of Canada and the United States as far north as Alaska, south into Mexico and the Caribbean (Schiff et al. 2012).