From: Tom Whore (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Mon Aug 14 2000 - 08:45:28 PDT
On Sun, 13 Aug 2000, Kragen Sitaker wrote:
--]Is that really true? I thought yellowjackets were unusually vicious
Some disagreement on the taxonomic structure of the order Hymenoptera
exists among systematists. For many years it was customary to separate the
suborder Apocrita into two subdivisions: the stinging forms (Aculeata) and
the parasitic forms (Parasitica). So many exceptions to such a dichotomy
were encountered, however, that it has been generally discredited.
Biologically, the basis for such a separation is slim. Many forms assigned
to the Parasitica are phytophagous, and a number of the Aculeata are
parasites. In the generic, or nontaxonomic, sense the term aculeate still
applies to the stinging forms.
The classification given below is based on that of Borror and DeLong
(1964), which, in turn, is essentially that of Muesebeck et al. (1951) and
Krombein et al. (1958). It covers 71 families, of which 28 are relatively
Order Hymenoptera (chalcids, ichneumons, sawflies, ants, wasps, and bees)
One of the largest insect orders; over 110,000 described species; size
range from about 0.21 mm (0.008 in.) to about 5 cm (2 in.) in length;
usually 4 membranous wings, hind pair smaller than front pair; wings with
relatively few veins; mouthparts modified for chewing or for chewing and
sucking; in some forms, especially bees, certain mouthparts (labium and
maxillae) form a structure for sucking liquid food; antennae usually with
10 or more segments; in higher forms the ovipositor is modified into a
sting; complete metamorphosis; larvae usually maggot-like (i.e., legless);
compound eyes large, usually 3 simple eyes (ocelli) present; worldwide in
many types of habitat; many beneficial to man, including those that
pollinate flowers, make honey and beeswax, or parasitize insect pests;
many forms have a complex social organization.
Superfamily Vespoidea (vespoid wasps)
Adults usually feed on nectar or sap; larvae eat spiders, other insects;
antennae usually 12- or 13-segmented.
Family Vespidae (paper wasps, potter wasps, and relatives)
Solitary as well as social; includes the well-known yellow jackets and
hornets; a widespread group including some large species; the queen of
Vespula ducalis of Himalaya region reaches 4 cm in length and more than 8
cm in wingspread.
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