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Revision of the World species of Xeris Costa (Hymenoptera: Siricidae)
CJAI 28 -- September 25, 2015
doi: 10.3752/cjai.2015.28
Henri Goulet1, Caroline Boudreault1 and Nathen M. Schiff2

For this study many colleagues generously contributed various elements that helped us produce a comprehensive revision. We are most appreciative and indebted to them for their support.

Systematic research is based on specimens stored in collections and looked after by conscientious colleagues. The quality of research is proportional to the number of specimens studied. We were fortunate to obtain a large number of them and are most thankful to the curators mentioned under “Materials and methods” that either facilitated our visit to their collection or sent us specimens on loan. With the establishment of Sirex noctilio in the Great Lakes region, many surveys were carried out and long series of specimens (including those of Xeris) were submitted to us for identification. We greatly appreciate the survey specimens of Siricidae generously given to us by H. Douglas (CFIA), D. Langor (NFRC), the late P. de Groot, K. Nystrom and I. Ochoa (GLFC), L. Humble and J. Smith (PFRC), J. Kruse (USFS–AK), D. Miller (USFS–GA), C. Piché (MNRQ), and J. Sweeney and J. Price (FRLC). These fresh and clean specimens permit us to study the DNA of significant specimens and enriched our collections.

We would like to thank A. Lancaster, for assistance in the lab and with rearing specimens and the following who helped either with specimens or in the field: I. Aguayo, M. Allen, R. Bashford, L. Bezark, C. Brodel, J. Cena, M. Chain, K. Cote, D. Crook, E. Day, Y. DeMarino, P. Denke, D. Duerr, the Fish family, H. Hall, D. Haugen, S. Heydon, R. Hoebeke, B. Hofstrand, A. Horne, L. Humble, W. Johnson, V. Klasmer, R.L. Koch, B. Kondratieff, J. Kruse, J. LaBonte, P. Lago, E. Lisowski, V. Mastro, S. McElway, H. McLane, J. Meeker, D. Miller, A. and G. Mudge, D. Patterson, T. Price, J. Quine, L. Reid, V. Scott, C. Snyder, S. Spichiger, W. Tang, P. Tolesano, M. Ulyshen, M. Vardanega, G. Varkonyi, S. Vaughn, J. Vlach, and R. Westcott.

Traditionally, only morphological features were studied from specimens in collections. Lately, DNA sequencing of properly preserved specimens has opened a new set of characters, previously unavailable. Many of the submitted specimens were freshly collected and offered us the opportunity to extract information from DNA barcodes (cytochrome c oxidase 1 – CO1). This new tool in conjunction with the classical morphological approach gave us much confidence in our conclusions. We greatly appreciate having access to specimens properly preserved for DNA sequencing provided by H. Douglas (CFIA), V. Grebennikov (CFIA), D. Langor (NFRC), P. de Groot, K. Nystrom and I. Ochoa (GLFC), L. Humble and J. Smith (PFRC), and D. Miller (USFS–GA). We are also very grateful for support from the Government of Canada through Genome Canada and the Ontario Genomics Institute in support of the International Barcode of Life Project. This funding allowed staff at the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario under the leadership of P. Hebert to sequence 100 specimens of Xeris, and covered the costs in the preparation and digitization of specimen data by J. Fernandez–Triana. We also appreciate the time spent by A. Smith and J. Fernandez–Triana explaining details of the results to Henri Goulet.

Adults of Xeris are easily damaged so we were worried about borrowing type specimens. We tried to study types during our visit to various North American collections but we did not have the opportunity to visit European collections. To avoid having types sent by post, we studied the description and previous opinions about each type. Then, we decided if photos of a type would be enough to resolve its identity. Through the kindness of M. París (MNCN), J. E. Hogan (OXUM), and L. Vilhelmsen (ZMUC), we were able to get the necessary pictures taken. We also had access to the Linnaean Society site for type images. All images of X. cobosi used in this paper were prepared by M. París (MNCN). Finding live Xeris specimens is a challenge. We appreciate access to two images of live females of X. spectrum for a thumbnail (image: http://www.biolib.cz/en/image/id1106/) and a habitus (image: DSCF068.jpg) from Ondřej Zicha (e-mail: ondrej.zicha@gmail.com) on line thumbnail).

Much information came from many colleagues. The following people kindly spent time trying to find specimens of unusual species in their respective collections, providing information about type’s whereabouts, and hand carrying of such specimens. We are very grateful to C. P. D. T. Gillett (BMNH), H. Vardal (Swedish Museum of Natural History), Y. Bousquet (CNC), V. Grebennikov (CFIA),  M. Sharkey (University of Kentucky),  A. Shinohara (NSMT) for their efforts. When problems arise there is nothing better than your closest colleagues to discuss them. We are much indebted to L. Masner (CNC), and J. T. Huber (CNC). Sometimes questions go beyond Siricidae and even insects. We greatly appreciate detailed information by our esteemed botanical colleague G. Mitrow (National Collection of Vascular Plants, Department of Agriculture, Ottawa), about ranges of European conifers. Finally, we thank the late R. Roughley (EDUM), G. E. Ball and D. Shpeley (UASM) for courtesies extending during our visits to their respective institutions.

Locating and verifying references could become an extremely challenging task especially with older books and journals. We made a special effort to verify and quote completely each of the reference. We are especially thankful to P. Madaire, our librarian, who spent numerous hours helping us finding the information needed and to D. R. Smith who put at my disposal his very large reprint collection. I am also thankful to Y. Bousquet for a few difficult to find references.

At completion of a large manuscript, it is very difficult to see our own errors in the text. We are most thankful to reviewers, J. T. Huber, D. R. Smith and A. Taeger for their vey critical reading of the manuscript rounding up most errors and insuring the uniformity of style.            

Table of contents Abstract Introduction Materials and Methods Biology Hosts Parasitoids Morphology Key DNA References Citation Appendices PDFs