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Sirex noctilio Fabricius

(Life: Kingdom: Metazoa (animals); Phylum: Arthropoda; Class: Hexapoda; Order: Hymenoptera; Superfamily: Siricoidea; Family: Siricidae; Genus: Sirex)

Sirex noctilio Fabricius, 1793.


Sirex_noctilio Sirex_noctilio
Sirex_noctilio Sirex_noctilio

Photographs of mounted specimens © Simon van Noort (Iziko Museums of South Africa).

Ovipositing female. Photograph © Mike Picker & Charles Griffiths.

Sirex_noctilio_ovipositing_image_copyright_Brett_Hurley_FABI_University_of_Pretoria Ovipositing female. Photograph © Brett Hurley (FABI, University of Pretoria)

Female. Photograph © Henri Goulet (CNCI).



Sirex_noctilio Sirex_noctilio
Sirex_noctilio Sirex_noctilio

Male. Photograph © Henri Goulet (CNCI).

Photographs of mounted specimens © Simon van Noort (Iziko Museums of South Africa).


Sirex_noctilio_larva_&_tunnel_copyright_Bernard_Slippers Sirex_noctilio_larva_copyright_Bernard_Slippers
Photographs of larva © Bernard Slippers (FABI, University of Pretoria).


South Africa  (introduced). Native to temperate Eurasia and North Africa.

First recorded in imported timber in Port Elizabeth in 1962, but did not become established. In 1994 found infesting Pine plantations in Cape Town. Rapidly spread through Western Cape. Now also present in Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. Recent microsatellite analyses showed the presence of two distinct gene pools in South Africa and illustrated multiple introductions: the original Western Cape population arose from introductions via two routes (South America and Oceania), while the Eastern Cape and Kwazulu-Natal populations appear to be a more recent introduction from an unidentified source region (Boissin et al., 2012).


Larvae are wood-borers in Pinus. Adult females lay eggs and symbiotic fungal spores into dead or dying trees.


Pest in Pine plantations (Pinus radiata), reducing production and leading to extensive loss of revenue (up to R300 million per annum in South Africa).


A parasitoid wasp Ibalia leucospoides (Ibaliidae, Cynipoidea) was introduced to South Africa in 2000 and has become established. Another parasitoid wasp Megarhyssa nortoni (Ichneumonidae) was released in South Africa without success in 1998. Parasitic nematodes (Deladenus siricidicola) were released in 1995, 1996 and 2004-5, with limited impact.


Boissin, E., B. Hurley, M. J. Wingfield, R. Vasaitis, J. Stenlid, C. Davis, P. de Groot, R. Ahumada, A. Carnegie, A. Goldarazena, P. Klasmer, B. Wermelinger & B. Slippers. 2012. Retracing the routes of introduction of invasive species: the case of the Sirex noctilio woodwasp. Molecular Ecology 21: 5728–5744. doi:10.1111/mec.12065.

Foelker, C. J., Standley, C. R., Fierke, M. K., Parry, D. and Whipps, C. M. 2015. Host tissue identification for cryptic hymenopteran parasitoids associated with Sirex noctilio. Agricultural and Forest Entomology. doi: 10.1111/afe.12137

Hurley B.P., Slippers, B. & Wingfield, M.J. 2007. A comparison of control results for the alien invasive woodwasp, Sirex noctilio, in the southern hemisphere. Agricultural and Forest Entomology 9: 159–171.

Slippers, B., Coutinho, T.A., Wingfield, B.D. & Wingfield, M.J. 2003. The genus Amylostereum and its association with woodwasps: a contempary review. South African Journal of Science 99: 70 – 74.

Slippers, B., Wingfield, M.J., Coutinho, T.A. & Wingfield, B.D. 2001. Population structure and possible origin of Amylostereum areolatum in South Africa. Plant Pathology 50: 206 – 210.

Slippers B.,  Wingfield, B.D., Coutinho T.A. & Wingfield M.J. 2002. DNA sequence and RFLP data reflect geographical spread and relationships of Amylostereum areolatum and its insect vectors. Molecular Ecology 11: 1845-1854.

Taylor, J.S. 1962. Sirex noctilio F., a recent introduction in South Africa . Entomologist’s Record 74: 273 – 274 .

Tribe, G.D . 1995. The woodwasp Sirex noctilio Fabricius (Hymenoptera: Siricidae), a pest of Pinus species, now established in South Africa. African Entomology 3: 215 – 217.
Tribe , G.D. & Cillié , J.J . 2004. The spread of Sirex noctilio Fabricius (Hymenoptera: Siricidae) in South African pine plantations and the introduction and establishment of its biological control agents. African Entomology 12: 9 – 17.

Picker, M., Griffiths, C & Weaving, A. 2002. Field Guide to Insects of South Africa. Struik Publishers, Cape Town.

van Noort, S. & Picker, M. 2011. Wasps, Bees, Ants. Class Insecta, Order Hymenoptera. Pp 140-146. In:  Picker, M. & Griffiths, C. (eds.) Alien & Invasive Animals. A South African perspective. Struik Nature.


THE SIREX WEBSITE: This website serves as a link and resource for the research and forestry community interested in the invasive pest, Sirex noctilio (the Sirex Woodwasp), and its control.


Photographs of mounted specimens © Simon van Noort (Iziko Museums of South Africa); photograph of ovipositing female © Brett Hurley (FABI, University of Pretoria); photographs of larva © Bernard Slippers (FABI, University of Pretoria); photograph of adult female on log © Mike Picker & Charles Griffiths (published in Struik's Field Guide to Insects of South Africa).

Web author Simon van Noort (Iziko South African Museum)


Citation: van Noort, S. 2024. WaspWeb: Hymenoptera of the World. URL: www.waspweb.org (accessed on <day/month/year>).

Copyright 2004-2024 Iziko Museums of South Africa

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