Specimen 276 - Julie McGarr
Location of collection:
GGC Site 4
Date of collection:
Shannon-Wiener Index of Biodiversity:
Distinguishing morphological features of Order:
The order Hymenoptera, which means 'membrane wings', is one of the largest orders of insects comprising of sawflies, wasps, bees and ants. However, all hymenopterans share the following characteristics:
- Two pairs of membranous wings, although some may be wingless such as some species of female wasps and the worker caste of ants. The smaller winged species sometimes appear to only have 1 pair of wings, but this is a mistake commonly made for Diptera.
- The forewings are larger than the hind wings and are held together by small hooks
- Females usually have a hardened ovipositor, which may be modified for laying eggs, sawing, piercing or stinging
- Most hymenopterans have a constriction between the first 2 segments of the abdomen, which is known as a 'wasp waist'
- Chewing (mandibulate) mouthparts, with the exception of some species having a modified lower lip to form a tongue (such as bees)
- Compound eyes, usually large
The larvae of hymenopterans lack many of the above external features. Most are grub-like with no legs.
Apocrita are a suborder of insects in the order Hymenoptera.
After sequencing, genus and species
Not applicable. Hypothesized guess is Tryphoninae subfamily possibly under Netelia genus.
Worldwide and throughout North America.
Wasps have a complete life cycle (stages consist of egg-larvae-pupa-adult), which varies slightly depending on the species. Wasps have annual colonies that last for only one year. The colony dies in the fall with only the newly produced queens surviving the winter. The new queens leave their nests during late summer and mate with males (who die shortly after mating) and construct new nests. The castes of females are determined behaviorally, through dominance interactions, rather than having caste predetermined. All female wasps are potentially capable of becoming a colony's queen and this process is often determined by which female successfully lays eggs first and begins construction of the nest. Evidence suggests that females compete amongst each other by eating the eggs of other rival females. Once the first eggs have hatched, the subordinate females stop laying eggs and instead forage for the new queen and feed the young. All of the eggs produced at this time are sterile female workers. When the queen begins to run out of stored sperm to fertilize more eggs, the eggs develop into fertile males and fertile female queens which restart the entire process.
Unlike social wasps, solitary wasps construct mud cells in sheltered places typically on the side of walls. Most other predatory wasps burrow into soil or into plant stems, and a few do not build nests at all and prefer naturally occurring cavities, such as small holes in wood. A single egg is laid in each cell, which is then sealed. In some species, eggs are selectively placed on smaller prey.
Food varies by genus and species. Generally, wasps are parasites as larvae, and feed on nectar only as adults. Most species are to a greater or lesser degree predators or scavengers, and have a sweet-tooth, gathering extrafloral or less often floral nectar, hemipteran honeydew, or fruit juice for their sugar content. Larvae can eat solid food, while adults have a very narrow oesophagus and feed only on liquids or very small particles such as pollen. Adults often obtain partially digested, liquid food, regurgitated to them by the larvae.
Most North American species nest in soil, in leaf litter, or in dead wood.
Wasps perform many ecological roles that are beneficial to humans, including the suppression of pest populations, aeration of the soil (ground-nesting wasps), and pollination. While the vast majority of wasps play no role in pollination, a few species can effectively transport pollen and therefore contribute for the pollination of several plant species; in a few cases such as figs pollinated by fig wasps, they are the only pollinators, and thus they are crucial to the survival of their host plant.
Economic/agricultural/human health importance:
Agriculturally, wasps digging through the soil aerates it and helps promote plant growth. Wasps and bees are beneficial insects, although they are generally considered to be pests because of their ability to sting. Wasps may become nuisances when they invade buildings, nest in building foundations and cause economic losses.
PCR product: gel picture