Overview

Brief Summary

Hymenoptera is one of the four large insect orders exceeding 100,000 species in the world, the other major orders being Coleoptera, Lepidoptera and Diptera (Gauld and Bolton 1988, Goulet and Huber 1993). The Hymenoptera order contains about 115,000 described species and authors estimated that there are between 300,000 and 3,000,000 species of Hymenoptera (Gaston 1991), possibly around 1,000,000 (Sharkey 2007). These estimates mean that only 1/10 has been described so far and 9/10 awaits description. However, the number of Hymenoptera species is difficult to estimate with accuracy, as most of the mega diverse regions of the world have not been extensively studied and inventoried regarding this group (LaSalle and Gauld 1993).

Hymenoptera have been traditionally subdivided into three assemblages (the paraphyletic sub-order Symphyta and the monophyletic Aculeata and Parasitica belonging to the sub-order Apocrita). Each group exhibits different biology. ‘Symphyta’ are mostly phytophagous and are the most primitive members of the order. Parasitica are mainly parasitic species but some of them have returned secondarily to phytophagy, while Aculeata encompass a larger spectrum (predators, pollinators, parasitoids); all eusocial hymenoptera belong to this last group.

Members of the Hymenoptera are familiar to a general audience and common names exist for a large variety of groups: “wasps”, “bees”, “ants”, “bumblebees”, “sawflies”, “parasitic wasps”. Hymenoptera adult sizes range from the very small Mymaridae (0.5 mm) to the large aculeate wasps (up to 5 cm long in Europe). This group of mandibulate insects is well defined by the combination of several characters: they have two pairs of functional wings (with the exception of apterous species) bearing fewer veins than most other insect groups and rarely more than seven cross veins. The abdominal tergum 1 is fused to the metanotum and in most Hymenoptera the metasoma (apparent gaster) is joined to the mesosoma (apparent thorax) by a petiole.

Ecologically and economically few groups of insects are as important to mankind as the Hymenoptera. Bees provide the vital ecosystem service of pollination in both natural and managed systems (Gallai et al. 2009) while parasitic Hymenoptera control populations of phytophagous insects (Tscharntke et al. 2007) and can be effective agents for control of pest insects (Bale et al. 2008, Brodeur and Boivin 2004, Jonsson et al. 2008). Some of the phytophagous hymenoptera have an intimate association with their hostplants (Nyman et al. 2006) and can also be considered as major pests to forests (e.g. Diprionidae) (De Somviele et al. 2004, Lyytikainen-Saarenmaa and Tomppo 2002). Ant invasions cause huge economic and ecological costs (Holway 2002, Lach and Thomas 2008) and Hymenoptera stings, specifically those of wasps, hornets and bees cause serious allergic reactions and anaphylaxis (Flabbee et al. 2008, Klotz et al. 2009).

  • Bale JS, van Lenteren JC, Bigler F (2008) Biological control and sustainable food production. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences 363: 761–776.
  • Brodeur J, Boivin G (2004) Functional ecology of immature parasitoids. Annual Review of Entomology 49: 27–49.
  • De Somviele B, Lyytikainen-Saarenmaa P, Niemela P (2004) Sawfl y (Hym., Diprionidae) outbreaks on Scots pine: eff ect of stand structure, site quality and relative tree position on defoliation intensity. Forest Ecology and Management 194: 305–317.
  • Flabbee J, Petit N, Jay N, Guenard L, Codreanu F et al. (2008) Th e economic costs of severe anaphylaxis in France: an inquiry carried out by the Allergy Vigilance Network. Allergy 63:360–365.
  • Gallai N, Salles JM, Settele J, Vaissiere BE (2009) Economic valuation of the vulnerability of world agriculture confronted with pollinator decline. Ecological Economics 68: 810–821.
  • Gaston KJ (1991) The magnitude of global insect species richness. Conservation Biology 5:283–296.
  • Gauld ID, Bolton B (1988) The Hymenoptera. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Goulet H, Huber JT (1993) Hymenoptera of the World: An identifi cation guide to families. Ottawa: Agriculture Canada pp.
  • Holway DA, Lach L, Suarez AV, Tsutsui ND, Case TJ (2002) Th e causes and consequences of ant invasions. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 33: 181–233.
  • Jonsson M, Wratten SD, Landis DA, Gurr GM (2008) Recent advances in conservation biological control of arthropods by arthropods. Biological Control 45: 172–175.
  • Klotz JH, Klotz SA, Pinnas JL (2009) Animal bites and stings with anaphylactic potential. Journal of Emergency Medicine 36: 148–156.
  • Lach L, Thomas ML (2008) Invasive ants in Australia: documented and potential ecological consequences. Australian Journal of Entomology 47: 275–288.
  • LaSalle J, Gauld ID (1993) Hymenoptera: their diversity, and their impact on the diversity of other organisms. In: LaSalle J, Gauld ID (Eds) Hymenoptera and Biodiversity. Wallington, UK: CAB International, 1–26.
  • Lyytikainen-Saarenmaa P, Tomppo E (2002) Impact of sawfl y defoliation on growth of Scots pine Pinus sylvestris (Pinaceae) and associated economic losses. Bulletin of Entomological Research 92: 137–140.
  • Nyman T, Farrell BD, Zinovjev AG, Vikberg V (2006) Larval habits, host-plant associations, and speciation in nematine sawfl ies (Hymenoptera : Tenthredinidae). Evolution 60: 1622–1637.
  • Sharkey M (2007) Phylogeny and classifi cation of Hymenoptera. Zootaxa 1668: 521–548.
  • Tscharntke T, Bommarco R, Clough Y, Crist TO, Kleijn D, et al. (2007) Conservation biological control and enemy diversity on a landscape scale. Biological Control 43: 294–309.
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Hymenoptera Overview

Order Hymenoptera is one of the largest insect orders and contains sawflies, bees, wasps, parasitic wasps, and ants.  They can be found throughout the world.  They have compound eyes, antennae, and usually include three ocelli (simple eyes).  Eusociality can be seen in many species, especially bees.  The bees have a ‘caste’ system of varying levels, with worker bees that defend and gather food for the colony.  Bees help pollinate crops and many other Hymenoptera species feed on insect pests. The eusocial species are sexually dimorphic and exhibit polymorphism.  They undergo complete metamorphosis (holometabolism).  The grub-like larvae typically feed on leaves.  Some species have two pairs of membranous wings and mandibles for chewing.  The hind wings have small hooks called hamuli that connect to the front wings.  Hymenoptera can be seen in the fossil record as far back as the Triassic. 

  • Borror, Donald, Charles Triplehorn, and Norman Johnson. An Introduction to the Study of Insects. 6th ed. Saunders College Publishing, 1989. 665-744. Print.
  • Capinera, John. "Wasps, Ants, Bees, and Sawflies (Hymenoptera)." Encyclopedia of Entomology. 4. 2008.
  • "Hymenoptera." Wikipedia. 2013. .
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Distribution

Geographic Range

This is the second most diverse group of insects, only beetles are more diverse. There are over 200,000 species of wasps and their relatives known around the world, and probably at least that many still unknown to science. There are hundreds of species of wasps, bees, and ants here in Michigan.

Wasps and their kin are found all around the world.

Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Native ); palearctic (Native ); oriental (Native ); ethiopian (Native ); neotropical (Native ); australian (Native ); oceanic islands (Native )

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Physical Description

Morphology

Physical Description

This group of insects contains many subgroups of wasps, and and also bees and ants, which evolved from wasp ancestors.

There are many different sizes in this group. Some parasitic wasps are so small they can develop into adults inside the eggs of other insects. Others are large and strong predators, over 3 cm long. All have chewing mouthparts, and the adults have a thin connection between their last two body sections (the abdomen and the thorax). All have 4 clear wings as adults, with the front pair larger than the back pair (queen and male ants have wings too, but only for a short time. Bees and wasps have straight antennae, ants often have a permanent bend in theirs.

Parasitic wasps often have a very large needle-like structure at the end of their abdomen. This isn't a stinger, its an ovipositor. They use it to inject their eggs inside a host insect, and some drill through bark, wood, or plant stems to get to their victims. These wasps mostly cannot sting, and they do not have the black and bright yellow colors that you may already know about.

Other wasps are predators, biting and stinging other insects and spiders. The wasps eat them, or carry their prey to their to feed their young. Wasps that sting are usually brightly colored with black and yellow stripes, sometimes red. This is a warning to potential predators that they can sting.

Other Physical Features: ectothermic ; bilateral symmetry

Sexual Dimorphism: female larger; sexes shaped differently

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Ecology

Habitat

Wasps, Bees and Ants are found in just about every habitat on land, except only the coldest polar regions.

Habitat Regions: temperate ; tropical ; polar ; terrestrial

Terrestrial Biomes: tundra ; taiga ; desert or dune ; chaparral ; forest ; rainforest ; scrub forest ; mountains

Wetlands: marsh ; swamp ; bog

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Trophic Strategy

Food Habits

Parasitic wasps get most of their protein from the host Insecta or Araneae they eat as larvae. Adult parasitic wasps mostly just drink nectar.

Most non-parasitic wasps are predators and scavengers. They feed on dead animals, or hunt insects and spiders, and use their sting to paralyze their prey. They eat their prey themselves or bring some back to the hive to feed growing larvae. Some make individual cells, and put a supply of paralyzed prey animals in there along with an egg. The larva hatches and there is all the food they need. In general wasps are attracted to sugary foods like fruit or high protein foods like meat.

Some wasp species have larvae that eat plants the same way that caterpillars do.

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Associations

Ecosystem Roles

Wasps are important predators of other insects. Some species are valuable pollinators, and their relatives the bees are the most important pollinators of all.

Ecosystem Impact: pollinates

Species Used as Host:

  • Butterflies
  • Moths
  • Other Wasps
  • Bees
  • Spiders
  • Beetles
  • Insect Eggs
  • Flies

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Predation

Wasps are best known for their ability to give a painful sting, and lots of species do use their stingers to defend themselves and their nests. They also build their nests in places that are hard for predators to reach (either up high or underground) and many build nests out of hard mud to keep their larvae safe. Some wasps that attack other bees or wasps have especially hard exoskeletons for armor.

Known Predators:

  • Aves
  • Ursidae
  • Procyon lotor
  • Talpidae
  • Soricidae
  • Squamata
  • Anura
  • Anura
  • other Hymenoptera 
  • other Formicidae 
  • mantids
  • Heteroptera
  • Araneae

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Animal / parasitoid
solitary (usually) stroma of Cordyceps sphecocephala is parasitoid of Hymenoptera

In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Fungus / feeder
Hymenoptera feeds on spore mass of fruitbody of Phallus hadriani

Plant / pollenated
adult of Hymenoptera pollenates or fertilises flower of Coeloglossum viride

Animal / predator
leaf of Pinguicula vulgaris is predator of adult of Hymenoptera
Other: major host/prey

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Known predators

Hymenoptera is prey of:
Lagopus
Plectrophenax nivalis
Calidris maritima
Colaptes auratus
Araneae
Hylocichla mustelina
Baeolophus bicolor
Melanerpes erythrocephalus
Phrynosoma
Cyanocitta stelleri
Leucosticte atrata
Anthus spinoletta
Eremophila alpestris
Hymenoptera
Cicindelidae
Camponotus pennsylvanicus
Rodentia
Phasianidae
Timaliidae
Serpentes
Varanidae
Canis aureus
Erinaceus europaeus
bultul
Laniidae
Saxicoloides fulicata
Vulpes vulpes
Calcarius mccownii
Spermophilus
Calamospiza melanocorys
Asilidae
Orthoptera
Salvelinus fontinalis
Herpestes auropunctatus
Eleutherodactylus coqui
Eleutherodactylus richmondi
Eleutherodactylus portoricensis
Eleutherodactylus wightmanae
Eleutherodactylus eneidae
Todus mexicanus
Mimocichla plumbea
Margarops fuscatus
Anolis cuvieri
Anolis evermanni
Anolis stratulus
Anolis gundlachi
Leptodactylus albilabris
Myiarchus antillarum
Vireo latimeri
Nesospingus speculiferus
Icterus dominicensis
Vireo altiloquus
Seiurus aurocapillus
Bufo marinus
Chlorostilbon maugeus
Anthracothorax viridis
Mniotilta varia
Parula americana
Dendroica caerulescens
Dendroica discolor
Setophaga ruticilla
Diptera
Geotrygon montana
Margarops fuscus
Tyrannus dominicensis
Dendroica petechia
Trochilidae
Coereba flaveola
Anolis gingivinus
Anolis pogus
Hemiptera

Based on studies in:
Norway: Spitsbergen (Coastal)
Canada: Manitoba (Forest)
Russia (Agricultural)
India, Rajasthan Desert (Desert or dune)
Puerto Rico, El Verde (Rainforest)
USA: Illinois (Forest)
USA: Arizona (Forest, Montane)
USA: Montana (Tundra)
USA: California, Cabrillo Point (Grassland)
USA: Colorado (River)
Canada: Ontario, Mad River (River)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
  • N. N. Smirnov, Food cycles in sphagnous bogs, Hydrobiologia 17:175-182, from p. 179 (1961).
  • A. C. Twomey, The bird population of an elm-maple forest with special reference to aspection, territorialism, and coactions, Ecol. Monogr. 15(2):175-205, from p. 202 (1945).
  • D. I. Rasmussen, Biotic communities of Kaibab Plateau, Arizona, Ecol. Monogr. 11(3):228-275, from p. 261 (1941).
  • W. E. Ricker, 1934. An ecological classification of certain Ontario streams. Univ. Toronto Studies, Biol. Serv. 37, Publ. Ontario Fish. Res. Lab. 49:7-114, from pp. 78, 89.
  • V. S. Summerhayes and C. S. Elton, Contributions to the ecology of Spitsbergen and Bear Island, J. Ecol. 11:214-286, from p. 232 (1923).
  • R. D. Bird, Biotic communities of the Aspen Parkland of central Canada, Ecology, 11:356-442, from p. 410 (1930).
  • L. D. Harris and L. Paur, A quantitative food web analysis of a shortgrass community, Technical Report No. 154, Grassland Biome. U.S. International Biological Program (1972), from p. 17.
  • D. L. Pattie and N. A. M. Verbeek, Alpine birds of the Beartooth Mountains, Condor 68:167-176 (1966); Alpine mammals of the Beartooth Mountains, Northwest Sci. 41(3):110-117 (1967).
  • I. K. Sharma, A study of ecosystems of the Indian desert, Trans. Indian Soc. Desert Technol. and Univ. Center Desert Stud. 5(2):51-55, from p. 52 and A study of agro-ecosystems in the Indian desert, ibid. 5:77-82, from p. 79 1980).
  • J. D. Allan, 1982. The effects of reduction in trout density on the invertebrate community of a mountain stream. Ecology 63:1444-1455, from p. 1452.
  • Waide RB, Reagan WB (eds) (1996) The food web of a tropical rainforest. University of Chicago Press, Chicago
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Known prey organisms

Hymenoptera preys on:
dead plants

flowers
Coccoidea
Lepidoptera
Acari
Amphipoda
fungi
Nematocera imagines
leaves
detritus
Aphididae
Cicadellidae
Coleoptera
alpine vegetation
Eleucine
Cyperus
Cenchrus
Isoptera
Hymenoptera
Auchenorrhyncha
Artemisia frigida
Bouteloua gracilis
Sphaeralcea coccinea
Psoralidium tenuiflorum
Heterotheca canescens
Gutierrezia
Ratibida columnifera
Helianthus annuus
Cleome serrulata
Atriplex canescens
Picradeniopsis oppositifolia
Opuntia macrorhiza
Senecio vulgaris
Yucca glauca
black alate aphid
Platypena scabra
Acrosternum hilare
Hemiptera
Diptera
Phasmatidae
sap
pollen
nectar
seeds
Sternorrhyncha
nectar and floral
Vanessa cardui
Misumena vatia

Based on studies in:
Norway: Spitsbergen (Coastal)
USA: Illinois (Forest)
USA: Arizona (Forest, Montane)
USA: California, Cabrillo Point (Grassland)
New Zealand (Grassland)
Puerto Rico, El Verde (Rainforest)
Russia (Agricultural)
USA: Montana (Tundra)
India, Rajasthan Desert (Desert or dune)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
  • N. N. Smirnov, Food cycles in sphagnous bogs, Hydrobiologia 17:175-182, from p. 179 (1961).
  • A. C. Twomey, The bird population of an elm-maple forest with special reference to aspection, territorialism, and coactions, Ecol. Monogr. 15(2):175-205, from p. 202 (1945).
  • D. I. Rasmussen, Biotic communities of Kaibab Plateau, Arizona, Ecol. Monogr. 11(3):228-275, from p. 261 (1941).
  • K. Paviour-Smith, The biotic community of a salt meadow in New Zealand, Trans. R. Soc. N.Z. 83(3):525-554, from p. 542 (1956).
  • V. S. Summerhayes and C. S. Elton, Contributions to the ecology of Spitsbergen and Bear Island, J. Ecol. 11:214-286, from p. 232 (1923).
  • L. D. Harris and L. Paur, A quantitative food web analysis of a shortgrass community, Technical Report No. 154, Grassland Biome. U.S. International Biological Program (1972), from p. 17.
  • D. L. Pattie and N. A. M. Verbeek, Alpine birds of the Beartooth Mountains, Condor 68:167-176 (1966); Alpine mammals of the Beartooth Mountains, Northwest Sci. 41(3):110-117 (1967).
  • I. K. Sharma, A study of ecosystems of the Indian desert, Trans. Indian Soc. Desert Technol. and Univ. Center Desert Stud. 5(2):51-55, from p. 52 and A study of agro-ecosystems in the Indian desert, ibid. 5:77-82, from p. 79 1980).
  • M. A. Mayse and P. W. Price, 1978. Seasonal development of soybean arthropod communities in east central Illinois. Agro-Ecosys. 4:387-405, from p. 402.
  • Waide RB, Reagan WB (eds) (1996) The food web of a tropical rainforest. University of Chicago Press, Chicago
  • Myers, P., R. Espinosa, C. S. Parr, T. Jones, G. S. Hammond, and T. A. Dewey. 2006. The Animal Diversity Web (online). Accessed February 16, 2011 at http://animaldiversity.org. http://www.animaldiversity.org
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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Communication and Perception

These insects depend on chemical communication (taste/smell), but they also use other means. Males and females find each other with scent chemicals called pheromones, and ants and social wasps and bees use chemicals to identify nestmates and send warnings and other information. Parasitic wasps sometimes leave scent marks on the host insects to tell any other parasitic wasps that they've already laid eggs there. Some ants can also make noises and vibrations to communicate. Of the three groups, wasps are the most visual. They often hunt by sight.

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Life Cycle

Development

Wasps and their relatives all have complete metamorphosis. From the egg a larva hatches out. It looks a lot like a short fat white worm, but has a distinct head, and may have six small jointed legs. The larva grows and molts (sheds its whole skin) several times before transforming into a pupa. This resting stage has some of the body parts of an adult, but it can't move or feed. Inside, it is transforming into an adult. Eventually an adult emerges from its pupal skin.

Development - Life Cycle: metamorphosis

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Hymenoptera have two main larval types. ‘Symphyta’ have larvae that are caterpillar-like, but true caterpillars (Lepidoptera) have at most four pairs of prolegs (abdominal segments 3–6) while sawfly larvae have at least five pairs of prolegs (abdominal segments 2–6). Furthermore the prolegs of Symphyta do not bear crochets, whereas those of Lepidoptera larvae do. ‘Apocrita’ have legless grub-like larvae that are nearly featureless unless they have a differentiated head (Goulet and Huber 1993). All Hymenoptera have haplodiploid sex determination (haploid males and diploid females). Arrhenotoky is the most common mode of reproduction in Hymenoptera (Heimpel and de Boer 2008). The males develop parthenogenetically from unfertilised eggs while the females develop from fertilised eggs. Females can control fertilisation by releasing sperm to an egg upon oviposition, and can thus adjust the sex-ratio of their progeny.

  • Goulet H, Huber JT (1993) Hymenoptera of the World: An identifi cation guide to families. Ottawa: Agriculture Canada pp.
  • Heimpel GE, de Boer JG (2008) Sex determination in the Hymenoptera. Annual Review of Entomology 53: 209–230.
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Life Expectancy

Lifespan/Longevity

Most wasps live less than one year, some workers for just a few months. Queens sometimes live for several years.

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Reproduction

Mating System: monogamous ; polyandrous ; polygynous ; cooperative breeder ; eusocial

Female wasps, bees, and ants can lay dozens to many thousands of eggs, depending on the species. Unless they are parasites they make a nest, and supply their larvae with food to eat.

Some species in this group form colonies where only one or a few females (called queens) lay eggs, and the other females in the colony do not reproduce. Instead they take care of the queens' offspring. A few times a year, some of the offspring fly away to start new colonies.

Breeding season: Summer

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; year-round breeding ; sexual ; fertilization (Internal ); oviparous ; sperm-storing

Females in this group do a lot of parental care. In most species each female builds her own nest, and collects a food supply for each of her offspring. In some species they work cooperatively to build a nest and collect food, and in some species many females tend their sisters and brothers and don't reproduce themselves.

Parental Investment: female parental care

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Evolution and Systematics

Functional Adaptations

Functional adaptation

Fibers reinforce nests: wasps
 

Nests and honeycombs of wasps are sturdy because they incorporate fibers in a parallel pattern.

   
  "Reinforcement by the planned use of fibers, as in fiberglass or ferroconcrete, is also evident in the thin cardboard pillars of wasps' nests and honeycombs. In principle, these pillars consist of the same material as the rest of the structure. However, they derive their great strength from the fact that all the wood fibers are arranged in a parallel pattern. That is to say, the wasps instinctively take into consideration the strength requirements of their building materials while building their nests--and they do so with ingenious simplicity." (Tributsch 1984:10)
  Learn more about this functional adaptation.
  • Tributsch, H. 1984. How life learned to live. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. 218 p.
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Functional adaptation

Nest cells support heavy weights: bees and wasps
 

Hives of bees and wasps support heavy weights using hexagonal cells in offset positions.

   
  "The hexagonal cells of bees and wasps create an extraordinarily strong space-frame, in particular in the vertical bee comb with two cell layers back to back with half a cell's shift in the position to create a three-dimensional pyramidal structure. The extraordinary strength is exemplified by a comb 37 centimetres by 22.5 centimetres in size, which is made of 40 grams of wax but can contain about 1.8 kilograms of honey." (Pallasmaa 1995:81,101)

"A bees' honeycomb is one of the wonders of the world. Layer upon layer of hexagonal cells of identical size and shape are stacked together as precisely as if the bees had worked to a grid drawn on graph paper. But why should bees build hexagonal cells? Why should they not be square, like boxes, or circular?…As we have already noted, natural organization is economical, expending the least amount of energy and using the least material necessary for a task…Three-way junctions of 120° angles occur quite widely in nature, being the most economical angle for joining things together." (Foy and Oxford Scientific Films 1982:30)
  Learn more about this functional adaptation.
  • Foy, Sally; Oxford Scientific Films. 1982. The Grand Design: Form and Colour in Animals. Lingfield, Surrey, U.K.: BLA Publishing Limited for J.M.Dent & Sons Ltd, Aldine House, London. 238 p.
  • Pallasmaa, J. 1995. Animal architecture. Helsinki: Museum of Finnish Architecture. 126 p.
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Functional adaptation

Catches in wings hold, release tension: bees
 

The wings of bees and other fast flying insects provide surges of power from tiny catches, which momentarily hold wings to build up tension and then suddenly release them.

   
  "Even greater frequency of wing beat is effected in some groups by fibrillar muscle, which contracts and relaxes with such near automatic and continuous rapidity, initiated by a single nervous impulse, that the wings are seen only as a mist of movement. In addition to this, brief surges of power may be achieved by the wings being momentarily held in their up or down position by tiny catches until the build up of tension causes them to be suddenly released. Changes of speed or direction are brought about by other sets of muscles." (Wootton 1984:38)
  Learn more about this functional adaptation.
  • Wootton, A. 1984. Insects of the World. Blandford. 224 p.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats
                                        
Specimen Records:467,881Public Records:278,227
Specimens with Sequences:337,492Public Species:9,432
Specimens with Barcodes:288,585Public BINs:45,970
Species:32,228         
Species With Barcodes:22,691         
          
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Barcode data

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Locations of barcode samples

Collection Sites: world map showing specimen collection locations for Hymenoptera

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

Some of these species have a painful sting. The social nesting species can actually be dangerous to people: if someone disturbs their nest, they may sting them so many times that the person's life is endangered. Also, some wasps attack beneficial insects like bees.

Negative Impacts: injures humans (bites or stings)

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Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

In general this group of organisms has much more positive effects than negative. They are important enemies of many insect pests, helping protect our crops. They are also important pollinators, allowing our flowers and vegetables to grow and reproduce.

Positive Impacts: pollinates crops; controls pest population

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