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Bees, ants, wasps
Last updated 08/15/2005
Insects of Coal Oil Point > Guide > Hymenoptera - Ants, Bees, and Wasps
Hymenoptera - Ants, Bees, and Wasps
Hymenoptera is a tremendously diverse order of insects, as well as one of the best known. It includes all ants, bees, wasps, and sawflies. Hymenoptera may have four membranous wings, or in the case of worker ants, be wingless. The female members of this order (apart from sawflies), have a “stinger.” The stinger is actually a modified ovipositor (egg-laying organ). It is used both for defense and often to inject venom, to paralyze or kill prey.
Adults of this order mostly feed on nectar or honeydew, while their larvae may feed on plant tissue, nectar, or other insects. The majority of Hymenoptera specimens in the collection are parasitic wasps. Most of these are actually considered “parisitoids,” because while their larvae will feed on a live host as a parasite does, it will actually kill the host as the wasp reaches maturity as a part of its lifecycle.
The Coal Oil Point collection contains over 170 morphospecies of Hymenoptera, most of which are small parasitic wasps. The wasps account for a large portion of the collection’s overall diversity.
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