Scolytus ventralis (Scolytidae)

the fir engraver


Scolytus ventralis, the fir engraver, adult beetles. Adults average 4 mm in length and are among the largest species of native Scolytus. Males have a well defined tubercle on the second abdominal segment. Females have a faint tubercle or none at all. Scolytus adults are characterised by a ventral posterior concavity.


Typical scolytid larvae.


Scolytus ventralis, the fir engraver, galleries. Attacks true firs from pole-size to full maturity. Outbreaks occur following periods of tree stress due to drought, disease and defoliation. Breeding also occurs in slash and windthrow trees. Living trees may be killed outright by the attack, top-killed or may survive repeated attack. Egg galleries are distinct because they are scored deeply in the wood and cut transversely across the grain of the wood from each side of a central entrance chamber.

Principal Hosts:

Primarily Abies concolor, A. grandis and A. magnifica. Occasionally Douglas-fir, Tsuga and Picea.

Economic Importance:

This insect is a major pest of true firs in western forests. It kills an estimated 450 million fbm in California annually.

References and Links:

EAG: 491-498, 512-514; FC: 409.

See HForest and JP17.