pigeon tremex

(Tremex columba)

Conservation Status
pigeon tremex
Photo by Dan W. Andree
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
           
           
 
Description
 
 

Pigeon tremex is a large, widespread, and very common horntail wasp. It occurs in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains, in adjacent Canadian provinces, and in northern Mexico. There are a few records from California, where it was likely introduced by human activity but may not be self-sustaining. It is found in dead and decaying hardwood trees. It is active in deciduous woodlands from late July to early October.

Adult females are 1 to 13 16 (25 to 30 mm) long. Males are smaller, ¾ to 1 (20 to 25 mm) long. The base of the abdomen is broadly joined to the thorax.

The head is mostly reddish-brown. There are two large compound eyes, one on each side of the head; and three small simple eyes (ocelli) in a triangular pattern at the top of the head between the compound eyes. The antennae are thread-like, short, and widened in the middle. They are mostly light reddish-brown but are sometimes dark in the middle. They are clearly shorter than the costal cell of the forewing. They have 11 to 14 segments, not including the scape and pedicel at the base.

The front part of the body (mesosoma), consisting of the pronotum, mesoscutum, scutellum, and propodeum, is densely pitted and mostly reddish-brown. The pronotum is wider than long and shorter in the middle than at the sides. The mesoscutum is reddish-brown in the middle, black on the sides.

The abdomen has ten segments and is highly variable in color. It is not covered with golden hairs. It is mostly dark with pale markings. The dark color may be black or reddish-brown. The pale color may be reddish-brown, yellow, or a combination of the two. Females tend to be dark with distinct yellow stripes. On the female, the first segment (T1) is mostly pale. T2 through T8 are pale on the sides at the base. T9 may have a pale spot on each side or be mostly pale. T10 is all or mostly black. Males tend to be lighter, reddish-brown or orange, with less distinct markings. At the end of the abdomen on both sexes there is a short spine or horn (cornus) above (dorsally), from which the family gets its common name “horntails”. The female also has a long needle-like tube (ovipositor) at the tip of the abdomen. The sheath enclosing the ovipositor is reddish-brown.

The wings may be lightly tinted, darkly tinted, or almost black.

The legs may be mostly yellow, reddish-brown, or black. The fourth leg segment (tibia) has a single small spur at the tip.

 
     
 

Size

 
 

Male: ¾ to 1 (20 to 25 mm)

Female: 1 to 13 16 (25 to 30 mm)

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
     
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Deciduous woodlands

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

Late July to early October

 
     
 

Behavior

 
 

The female may look fierce with its long ovipositor, but horntails do not sting.

 
     
 

Life Cycle

 
 

The female pushes 2 to 7 eggs into a dead or weakened branch. Eggs hatch in the fall or overwinter and hatch in the spring. Adults emerge in mid- to late summer.

 
     
 

Larva Food

 
 

Elm, hickory, maple, oak, poplar, apple, hackberry, and probably other hardwood trees.

 
     
 

Adult Food

 
 

 

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

24, 27, 29, 30.

 
  10/10/2019      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Widespread and very common

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
 

Order

Hymenoptera (ants, bees, wasps, and sawflies)  
 

Suborder

Symphyta (horntails, sawflies)  
 

Superfamily

Tenthredinoidea (sawflies)  
 

Family

Siricidae (horntails)  
  Subfamily Tremecinae  
 

Genus

Tremex  
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Sirex columba

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

pigeon horntail

pigeon tremex

pigeon tremex horntail

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Ocellus

Simple eye; an eye with a single lens. Plural: ocelli.

 

Mesosoma

In Hymenoptera: the front part of the body, consisting of all three segments of the thorax and the first segment of the abdomen, to which the wings are attached.

 

Ovipositor

A long needle-like tube on the abdomens of some female insects, used to inject eggs into soil or plant stems.

 

Tibia

The fourth segment of an insect leg, after the femur and before the tarsus (foot). The fifth segment of a spider leg or palp.

 

 

 

 

 

       
Visitor Photos
   

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Dan W. Andree
       

I think this is a male Pigeon Tremix Horntail...

It was resting on a fall colored sumac when I happened to notice it.

  pigeon tremex   pigeon tremex
       

This large hornet, ? wasp?...

was on my backyard birch tree recently. It looked like a big hornet or wasp type insect but no idea really. It was about a good 2 inches in length. Sat motionless for a few days but not there anymore.

  pigeon tremex    
       
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Slideshows
   
  Pigeon Tremex (Tremex columba)
Bill Keim
 
  Pigeon Tremex (Tremex columba)  
     
  Pigeon horntail
Andree Reno Sanborn
 
  Pigeon horntail  
 
About

Pigeon tremex
(Tremex columba)

 
     

 

slideshow

       
Visitor Videos
       

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Other Videos
 
  Tremex columba - Pigeon Horntail
Kris -ArachnoWolf-
 
   
 
About

Nov 24, 2014

Hey guys! I'll be uploading leftovers from this year! First I'm starting with this nifty little insect I saw this Summer! I'll probably upload the next video Friday night!

   
       
  Tremex columba!
phasmatodea1
 
   
 
About

Sep 25, 2019

lew right at me and landed in the swing canopy.

   
       
  Huge pigeon Horntailed wasp. Largest wasp yet
Great Outdoors
 
   
 
About

Apr 25, 2019

The pigeon horntail wasp is a huge wasp species even larger than the metricus wasp or the executioner wasp. The pigeon Horntail Wasp may be a large and formidable wasp it is however mostly just mis understood. This wasp species resembles polestes metrics and polestes carolina in many ways however it has a extended abdomen which allows room for a very long modified ovipositor. the ovipositorvis a sexual reproduction organ. it allows this massive wasp to implant eggs deep into small boreholes or soft woody tissue in order to geymt it eggs into the ideal environment to develop into mature adult pigeon Horn tail wasp.

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Visitor Sightings
   

Report a sighting of this insect.

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Irene
8/6/2020

Location: Brainerd, MN


Dan W. Andree
10/2/2019

Location: Rural Norman Co., Mn.

pigeon tremex


Dan W. Andree
9/15/2019

Location: Frenchman’s Bluff SNA in Norman Co. MN

pigeon tremex


     
     
 
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Created: 10/10/2019

Last Updated:

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