Insect Identification Takes Flight

During the 2011 collection campaign, we collected several live insects from samples and also removed the larvae from the infested seeds once no insects had emerged from them by July 2012.  We have sent these samples away to be identified.  The larvae have been sent to a colleague in France for, Dr. Marie-Anne Auger-Rozenberg, who will compare the larvae phylogenetically to databases that she has complied for species of Megastigmus to see if there are any similarities or matches.  Identifying insects using only larvae morphology is nearly impossible for this project, especially because processing causes the larvae to become very dry. 

The insects, all from samples taken in British Columbia, have been sent to the National Identificiation Service (Entomology) at the Canadian National Collection of Insects, Arachnids and Nematodes, from which we have heard that the specimen are not Megastigmus. One sample, found on Thuja plicata from the Saanich Forestry Centre, has been identified as belonging to the Torymus sp. (Torymidae) bedeguaris species group. Torymus is a very large genus and, as such, the CNC does not have authoritatively identified specimens in the collection for comparison to make confident identifications for most species.  They have arranged for the specimen to be sent to a torymid expert in Europe, who would be more likely to be able to provide a reliable identification, particularly if it is an introduced species. The other two species of insect samples emerged from Juniperus communis/horizontalis collected at Shorts Creek Canyon by Ward Strong of the Kalamalka Forest Research Centre.  They were broadly identified as Eurytoma (Eurytomidae) and Tetrastichinae (Eulophidae).  In an effort to identify the species, some of the Eurytoma were taken to Washington to a Eurytomid specialist.  They have now been more specifically identified as Eurytoma sp. near juniperana (Eurytomidae) and Aprostocetus sp. 1 (Eulophidae).


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