Eye morphology and colour preferences in a semi-field test of the pine pest, Sirex noctilio (Hymenoptera: Siricidae)


  • Quentin Guignard Department of Zoology and Entomology, Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI), University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0002, South Africa https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9566-4365
  • Johannes Spaethe Department of Behavioral Physiology and Sociobiology, Biozentrum, University of Würzburg, Am Hubland, Würzburg, Germany https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0734-2869
  • Bernard Slippers Department of Biochemistry, Genetics and Microbiology, Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI), University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0002, South Africa https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1491-3858
  • Natasa Nikolic Department of Behavioral Physiology and Sociobiology, Biozentrum, University of Würzburg, Am Hubland, Würzburg, Germany
  • Jeremy D. Allison Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Great Lakes Forestry Centre, 1219 Queen Street E, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, P6A 2E5, Canada https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0765-3149




Symphyta, visual ecology, surveillance and monitoring


The woodwasp, Sirex noctilio, is a global pest of pines. Although it is known to be attracted to light and possess sexually dimorphic body colouration, the visual ecology of S. noctilio is poorly understood. Photoreceptor sensitivity of the compound eyes in S. noctilio is not sexually dimorphic. These previous results suggest that colour tracking of one sex by the other might not be an important input for mate searching. This study aimed to expand our knowledge of the visual system of S. noctilio by means of i) morphological description of the compound eyes and ocelli; and ii) semi-field behavioural tests of the colour preference of newly emerged wasps. Eye and ocellus morphological features were investigated in 21 males and 21 females. Measurement of male and female median ocellus diameter, compound eye surface area, number of ommatidia and facet diameter varied from 0.22 to 0.40 mm, 0.589 to 2.277 mm2, 1820 to 4207 and 1.88 × 10–2 to 2.82 × 10–2 mm, respectively. In addition, all traits significantly correlated with body size. Male and female wasps emerged from infested host material in a flight cage with five traps, each reflecting a different colour. Analysis of trap captures did not identify any colour preference, but an effect of trap location was observed with traps in the north-eastern position capturing more woodwasps, suggesting that other factors, e.g., global landmarks or other non-colour visual cues might guide initial flight behaviour of S. noctilio.


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How to Cite

Guignard Q, Spaethe J, Slippers B, Nikolic N, Allison JD. Eye morphology and colour preferences in a semi-field test of the pine pest, Sirex noctilio (Hymenoptera: Siricidae). Afr. Entomol. [Internet]. 2023 Mar. 23 [cited 2023 Jun. 7];31. Available from: https://www.africanentomology.com/article/view/13406




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