the good, bad & indifferent

The Order Hymenoptera includes Ants, Bees, Wasps and other allied insects. Some or essential to humans; some can inflict great pain on humans and other animals; and many are insects which we normally don't think much about.

Some scientists estimate that there are more than 300 000 species of Hymenoptera in the world, though only 120 000 have been named so far.

For some Taxonomy on Hymenoptera, we provide the following:

The Order Hymenoptera has two Suborders. One Sub-Order is Symphyta which are known more commonly as the Sawflies. Symphyta contains the most primitive members of the Hymenoptera.

The Sub-Order Apocrita contains all other Hymenoptera. The Sub-Order Apocrita is divided into two groups, the Aculeata and the Parasitica.

In general the Sub-group, Aculeata, have their ovipositor modified into a stinger which is retractable into the body. Their ovipositor is not used for egg laying.

In the Sub-group, Parasitica, the ovipositor is non-retractable. The ovipositor is used only for egg-laying. For the most part, as their Sub-group name implies, Parasitica are parasites, i.e. Ichneumens and Chalcids. However, this is not a totally true biological division. Some Parasitica are not parasites and some Aculeates are parasites. Some of the Aculeata, such as the Sapygidae, Dryinidae and Chrysididae, still use the ovipositor for its primarily evolved purpose of egg laying (oviposition).

Hymenoptera have a complete metamorphosis, i.e. they are described as a holometabolous group. Hymenoptera generally has larvae without legs (called apodous). The pupa has free appendages, not glued to the body, which is called exarate and they have a cocoon. Hymenoptera adults (called imagos) have two pairs of membranous wings, often with greatly reduced venation. The fore wings are larger than the hind wings, and the hind wings are connected to the fore wings, by a series of interlocking hooks. Hymenoptera generally have biting mouth parts, which are sometimes adapted for sucking and/or lapping.

Hymenoptera normally have fairly thin waists to some extent. An ovipositor is present in some form or other in Hymenoptera. The ovipositor is often adapted to piercing and/or sawing and/or stinging.

We will be adding more information and some more graphics shortly.
Thank you for your patience as we build this page.

Red Wasp Nest
(just started)
(see the larvae)
Yellow Jacket Nest
(Moderate sized)
(see the larvae)

Here are some website links for more on Hymenoptera: