Dichotomous and matrix-based keys to the Ips bark beetles of the World (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Scolytinae).


Douglas, H.B., Cognato, A.I., Grebennikov, V., and Savard, K. 2019. Dichotomous and matrix-based keys to the Ips bark beetles of the World (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Scolytinae). Canadian Journal of Arthropod Identification 38: 234pp. doi:10.3752/cjai.2019.38

Plain language summary

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) scientists are world experts in identifying, classifying, and studying the biodiversity of insects, arachnids, and nematodes. In fact, many organizations such as the Canadian Border Services Agency, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and Canadian Forestry Services ask our scientists to help them identify specimens they find. Insect pests such as the Ips bark beetles threaten crops and forests. Hitching a ride in wooden packaging and traveling to new regions, a recent outbreak of Ips bark beetles has resulted in 1.6 million hectares of land throughout the world to lose 15 to 30 percent of its pine trees. To counter this, Canada and other countries monitor native and invasive lps species in nature and inspect imported goods for wood-boring beetles.
Recently, AAFC experts were asked to lead an international team to develop a new comprehensive toolkit to help the international community identify all Ips bark beetles. Many earlier detection methods relied on identification literature designed to be used only for the native species of a particular country. The newly completed toolkit now makes it easier to identify lps from around the world, including the 11 species that are considered quarantine pests.
To further develop this work, a second international team, which includes AAFC and Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) scientists, created digital binary and interactive keys of all 37 species and eight subspecies of Ips found globally. These keys allows users to enter or select features about the insect such as characteristics of the main body, head, or geographic origin and host, and suggest possible matches. Written for novice identifiers, it includes illustrated glossaries and fact sheets with rotatable 3-D images.
These identification tools are available on a special website that houses similar keys. The success and high demand of these tools has resulted in higher user download volume, necessitating the web host to increase its web-server bandwidth.
This work and its uptake demonstrate the importance of these kinds of tools to help plant and forestry organizations safeguard our natural and agricultural resources. The research involved in creating these tools also add to our body of knowledge and helps us improve the way we collectively monitor and identify insects that threaten crops around the world.


The 37 species and 8 non-nominotypical subspecies of Ips DeGeer, 1775 bark beetles of the World are included in a first comprehensive key to adults. Males and females of species with diagnostically important dimorphism are treated separately. Diagnostic morphological summaries are presented for all species and subspecies in fact sheets. Fact sheets include over 200 illustrations, with rotatable images of species that are little known or economically significant pests (I. amitinus (Eichhoff, 1872), I. calligraphus (Germar, 1824), I. cembrae (Heer, 1836), I. confusus (LeConte, 1876), I. duplicatus (Sahlberg, 1836), I. grandicollis (Eichhoff, 1868), I. hauseri Reitter, 1894, I. lecontei Swaine, 1924, I. perturbatus (Eichhoff, 1869), I. pini (Say, 1826), I. sexdentatus (Boerner, 1767), I. shangrila Cognato and Sun, 2007, I. stebbingi Strohmeyer, 1908, I. subelongatus (Motschulsky, 1860), I. typographus (Linnaeus, 1758), I. woodi Thatcher, 1965). Links to an online peer-reviewed LUCID key to world Ips species and downloadable LUCID files are provided.