header image
Siricidae (Hymenoptera: Symphyta: Siricoidea) of the Western Hemisphere
CJAI 21, July, 2012
doi: 10.3752/cjai.2012.21
Nathan M. Schiff, Henri Goulet, David R. Smith, Caroline Boudreault, A. Dan Wilson, and Brian E. Scheffler

Many colleagues generously contributed various elements that helped us producing a comprehensive revision. We are most appreciative of and indebted 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 Lake region, many surveys were carried out and long series of specimens 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. J. Jones (Alberta), J. Kruze (USFS–AK), D. Miller (USFS–GA), C. Piché (MNRQ), J. Sweeney and J. Price (FRLC), and K. Zylstra (USDA). These fresh and clean specimens permit us to study the DNA of significant specimens and did enrich our collections.

We would like to thank A. Abel, A. Lancaster, C. Oberle, and C. Wilkins 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, 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. Kondratief, 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 barcode (cytochrome c oxydase 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 more than 300 specimens of Siricidae, 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 HG.

We intended this work to be profusely illustrated. We had access to lots of dried adults, but we wanted to show how they looked when alive. Unless properly equipped, finding live specimens of Siricidae is often difficult. We therefore thank P. de Groot (GLFC), J. Sweeney and J. Price (FRLC), and K. E. Zylstra (USDA) for providing live specimens of some species of Siricidae or their parasitoids for live habitus images. We also appreciated movies of parasites and Siricidae provided by J. Read (CNC).

Adults of Siricidae 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 G. Hancock (HMUG), J. E. Hogan (OXUM), L. Vilhelmsen (ZMUC), we were able to get the necessary pictures taken.

Much information came from many colleagues. The following colleagues kindly spent time trying to find specimens of unusual species in their respective collections, providing information about types 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), G. Hancock (HMUG), J. Karlson (Swedish Malaise Trap Project), J. Genaro (Toronto, Ontario), M. Sharkey (Kentucky), A. Shinohara (EIHU) for their efforts. Because of widespread surveys around the Great Lakes, we had access to records of numerous locations for each species. We greatly appreciate not only the data but the coordinates, allowing us to map rapidly the range of many species within the survey area. For this information we are indebted to R. Favrin and L. Dumouchel (CFIA), R. Hoebecke (CUIC), S. Long (CUIC), K. Nystrom (GLFC), and C. Piché (MNRQ). Preparing this paper for the internet involves new knowledge with new software programs. We are most grateful for the training provided by J. Read (CNC) to C. Boudreault (CNC) and her help in designing various templates. In addition we thank L. Bearss (CNC) for training C. Boudreault in the use of a mapping program. When problems arise there is nothing better than your closest colleagues to discuss them. We are much indebted to S. M. Blank (SDEI), L. Masner (CNC), A. Hajek (CUIC), and J. T. Huber (CNC). Sometimes questions go beyond Siricidae and even insects. We greatly appreciate detailed information provided by our esteemed botanical colleagues P. Catling and G. Mitrow (National Collection of Vascular Plants, Department of Agriculture, Ottawa), about the nomenclatural history of the black spruce as used in Europe in the first half of the 19th century. Finally, we thank the late R. Roughley (EDUM), G. E. Ball and D. Shpeley (UASM) for courtesies extended during our visits to their respective establishments.

At completion of a large manuscript, it is very difficult to see one's own errors in the text. Despite our efforts we missed numerous punctuation, grammatical mistakes, overly long sentences, sentences with missing words, and duplication of part of sentences during copy and paste work. We are most thankful to reviewers, G. A. P. Gibson, J. T. Huber, S. Blank, A. Liston, A. Taeger, R. A. Ochoa, T. J. Henry, and S. A. Marshall. We are especially thankful to J. T. Huber who read the text very critically three times. He rounded up most errors and insured a uniformity of style.

We would also like to thank the managers and staff for use of the following natural areas: Yazoo National Wildlife Refuge, Dahomey National Wildlife Refuge, Delta National Forest, Crossett Experimental Forest, Delta Experimental Forest.

This project was supported by a Forest Health Protection, Special Technology Development Program Grant to N. M. Schiff and A. D. Wilson, and a CANACOLL Collection improvement grant to work on Siricidae in the Canadian National Insect Collection, Ottawa, Canada to N. M. Schiff.