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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

Xeris chiricahua Smith, n. sp.

Fig. C41.1 (female habitus)
Fig. C41.2 (male habitus)
Fig. C41.3 (map)

Diagnostic Combination

Among specimens with mainly clear wings and a white longitudinal band on the lateral margin of the pronotum [caudatus and melancholicus], both sexes of X. chiricahua are recognized by the long setae on the frons and vertex of the head, the dense pits on the head between the eyes and the postocellar furrows, and the pits on the gena ventral to the genal ridge which are continuous with pits on the occiput.



Color. Head black except for large white spot on gena dorsal to middle of eye extending down to genal ridge; antenna black (apical 0.25 dark brown). Thorax black except for white longitudinal band extending from posterolateral to anterolateral angles, narrowing toward posterior angle, and extending on vertical portion ventral to anterior angle. Legs light reddish brown but black on pro- and mesocoxae, black on metacoxae or mostly light reddish brown on metacoxae. Fore wing clear except for a lightly tinted band before stigma and in apical 0.25, very lightly tinted in cell 2CU; costal cell brown and most of area ventral to anal cells yellowish brown; veins black (including veins C, R, and base of stigma on both sides of junction with vein 1r-rs). Abdomen black. Sheath with apical section black and basal section reddish brown.

Head. Eye in lateral view (N = 5) with maximum height 1.3–1.6 times as long as maximum length, and maximum height of eye 0.34–0.48 times as long as maximum height of head (from transverse ridge on gena above mandible to top of head). Gena in dorsal view with maximum distance between outer edges clearly wider than maximum distance between outer edges of eyes (in frontal view outer edges of eyes clearly not intersecting genae), and in lateral view distance between outer edge of eye and genal ridge 0.50–0.66 times as long as maximum length of eye. Transverse ridge near mandible narrow, sharp and mainly smooth. Head in dorsal view with pits very dense (many pits polygonal in outline on most of vertex) and numerous on gena below ventral margin of eye and genal ridge, pitted area of gena broadly connected to pitted area of occiput, and with many moderate size pits (diameter of pits 0.2–0.25 times lateral ocellus diameter) between outer edge of eye and genal ridge.

Thorax. Fore wing vein 3A absent, or reduced to a stump, but not extending toward posterior wing edge.

Abdomen. Median basin of tergum 9 with base (outlined by two lateral black longitudinal furrows) 0.8 times as wide as median length, with maximum width of basin 1.3–1.6 times as wide as median length and basin 0.6–0.8 times as long as medially median length of cornus. Cornus constricted in dorsal view, its minimum width (at constriction) 0.8 times as wide as maximum width of cornus subapically. Sheath. Length 1.4–1.5 times as long as fore wing length; basal section 0.22–0.27 times as long as apical section (N = 4); lateral surface of apical section with well defined ridge (as in Fig. B5.13, insert). Ovipositor. Lancet with 26–30 annuli (first 15 annuli very hard to see, but still outlined) (N = 2); junction of basal and apical sections of sheath aligned between 3rd and 4th annuli; major pits present on 4–5 apical annuli before teeth annuli, and at most one preceding annulus with a very small pit.


Color. Femora (except for light reddish brown at extreme apex), tibiae (except for light reddish brown at very base) and tarsi (except for light reddish brown tarsomeres 3–5 or 4 and 5) black.

Thorax. Metatibia with deep notch along dorsal edge in basal 0.25 (Fig. B5.39).

Type material

Holotype female (USNM) in prefect condition; labeled [White] “RustlerPark ChiricahuaMts 13Jun56 ARIZ OLCartwright”; [red] “HOLOTYPE Xeris chiricahua D. R. Smith, 2011”. Type locality: U.S.A., Arizona, Chiricahua Mountains, Rustler Park.

Paratypes. 3 females and 1 male. USA. Arizona: Cochise Co., same data as holotype (1F, 1M, CNC, USNM); Coconino Co., Kaibab National forest, 35.381°N 111.901°W, 6.VI–29.VIII.2008, R. Hofstetler (1F, CNC). Colorado: Florissant vi,24,14, resting on pine tree (1F, USNM).

Taxonomic Notes

At first sight, specimens of X. chiricahua are similar to those of X. caudatus because they share the white longitudinal band on the lateral margin of the pronotum. But they differ in the length of frontal clypeal setae, the much denser pits on the vertex and dense and widespread field of pits on the gena below ridge merging with pits of the occiput.

Origin of specific epithet

The name chiricahua refers to the mountains where the species was discovered, stressing the insularity of the mountains in this region. The name is a noun in apposition.

Hosts and Phenology

The host of X. chiricahua is unknown, but females of Xeris with long ovipositor and few pits on the ovipositor are known to attack Pinaceae. The Chiricahua Mountains are rich in pines at high elevations. The three specimens were captured on June 13.


USA: AZ, CO. We suspect the species may also occur in Mexico (Fig. C41.3).