About animals

Hymenoptera insect: description, species, main representatives and structure


Hymenoptera - one of the largest orders of insects. It includes more than 100 thousand described species, but this number should be increased by at least 3 times, since many species are not yet known to science. These insects are widespread around the world. Their sizes vary from fractions of a millimeter to several centimeters. For example, some species of chalcidoid riders (only 0.2 mm long) belong to one of the smallest insects, while the body length of a female Javanese scoliata Scolia capitata can reach 60 mm, and the length of a female hornet - 35 mm.

If, according to the general level of evolutionary development, dipterans are usually put in first place, then hymenoptera representatives undoubtedly take first place in the complexity and variety of forms of behavior, as well as social organization. It is the care of the offspring (along with morphological and physiological adaptations) that is a characteristic feature of Hymenoptera, which ensured their undoubted evolutionary success. Ants have reached a qualitatively new level of social organization. Some species, under certain conditions, form federations - a friendly association of families in territories of tens of hectares. From a biological point of view, the federation is perhaps the highest form of social organization among all life on Earth. Hymenoptera individual behavior is also complex. Using the example of a honey bee and other representatives of the detachment, it was proved that insects are capable of not only developing a variety of conditioned reflexes, but also solving abstract problems (cognitive or “intellectual” activity), not inferior in this indicator to vertebrates.

A distinctive feature of Hymenoptera is the haplo-diploid sex determination: females are hatched from fertilized, diploid eggs, and males are released from unfertilized, haploid eggs, which most organisms do not develop.

The name of the detachment is associated with the structure of the wings of its representatives. It should be noted that the logic in historical names is often absent. In dipterans, for example, wings are no less “membranous” than in hymenoptera. But hymenopterans have two pairs. The front and rear wings are interconnected by special hooks and work as a whole, so that functionally hymenoptera dipterans. This phenomenon is observed in almost all four-winged insects that fly well, with the exception of dragonflies. In a number of hymenoptera species, wings are lost. Wingless workers in all species of ants, female female Germans (Mutilidae), some riders.

The detachment is divided into suborders: Sedentary and Bellied (Symphyta) and Barbed-bellied (Apocrita). Stalked bellies are in turn divided into two groups: Parasitic (Parasitica) and Stinging (Aculeata). Previously, these groups were assigned the rank of suborders. In all, the hymenoptera includes about 95 families. The squad systems cited by different authors are somewhat different.

In sedentary, the first segment of the abdomen is wide, attached to the chest motionless. By a number of signs, the group is archaic. The species richness of peritoneum is small. Suborder 14 families of sawflies and cattails - owners of a serrated ovipositor, with which the female cuts plant tissue to lay eggs in the wound. Most representatives of the suborder are phytophages, that is, consumers of exclusively plant foods. Among sawflies, plant pests are found.

In parasitic and stinging hymenoptera, the abdomen is connected to the breast with the help of a thin stalk, which is a narrowing of the second, and sometimes also the third segment of the abdomen (the first segment is part of the chest). Representatives of Parasitica and Aculeata do not have clear morphological features that would immediately allow them to be attributed to one or another group of cauliflower. By the characteristics of biology and lifestyle, these insects differ quite significantly, but here, in some cases, the signs overlap and there is no clear border.

The vast majority of parasitic hymenopterans are represented by the so-called riders, whose larvae develop at the expense of other arthropods (but never at the expense of vertebrates). They are called parasitoids ("parasitic") or entomophagous parasites, since the larva, having begun to feed on the tissues of a living victim, ultimately kills it, that is, in fact, it is a predator. When a parasitoid lays an egg in the body of a mobile victim, piercing the integument with a sharp ovipositor, it sometimes descends on its back and for some time sits like a rider on a jovial horse. It is now clear why riders need a moving abdomen. The variety of riders is very large. Only chalidids (Chalcidae), about which, besides experts, hardly anyone has heard, there are several thousand species in the European part of Russia. Species of riders that exterminate pests are undoubtedly useful. The trichogram (Trichogramma, Trichogrammatidae), which infects the eggs of various butterflies and other insects, is used more successfully than others as an agent of the biological method of pest control.

Biting include thousands of species of diverse solitary and public wasps and bees, as well as ants. The ovipositor of these insects is transformed into a sting, which is used both for hunting and for protection against vertebrates. The adnexal glands are transformed into poisonous. It was among stingers that the care of the offspring reached the highest level. In this group, a social lifestyle has repeatedly arisen. Bees, which switched to feeding on nectar and pollen of plants, play a huge role as pollinators. To them, and only to them, as many scientists believe, we owe all the variety of flowering plants that inhabit our planet.

The species richness and diversity of Hymenoptera is so great that only one of the most striking or widespread representatives of the order (at the species level and at the level of supraspecific taxa) can be considered within the framework of a one-volume publication.

General information

Hymenoptera category contains about 300 thousand subspecies of insects. Each of them has two pairs of transparent wings with very large cells. The blades that are in front are usually longer than the rear. All hymenoptera are divided according to their lifestyle into three species: predators, parasites, and herbivorous insects.

Hymenoptera insects include wasps, bees, bumblebees, ants and others. Few people know that they all live in separate groups, where there is only one main insect. Surprisingly, all their responsibilities are distributed evenly. In each collective, a certain insect is responsible for one action. It is believed that it is this category of insects that lives in absolutely all corners of the planet.

Types of Hymenoptera insects vary quite a lot among themselves. There are only two varieties - Sedentary and Belt-bellied. The first includes more primitive insects that feed on organics.

Propagation Features

The hymenopteran insect order is distinguished by a kind of concept of establishing sex. Termites, for example, which belong to a different species, do not have such a feature. In the hymenoptera family, as a rule, there is only one uterus. In the first half of her life, she makes only one nuptial flight, stocking up seminal fluid for the entire period of her life, which is about 10 years.

The female uses the collected seminal fluid regularly to fertilize eggs that move along her genital tract. It is worth noting that not all eggs have a fertilization process. They can also have a single or double set of chromosomes.

Hymenoptera insect does not have a father. All members of the same family have the same set of chromosomes received from the female. Only the uterus itself has a pair of their number.

Structural features

As we said earlier, hymenoptera have two pairs of wings. Typically, the front is longer than the rear. The antennae are located on the head of the hymenoptera. Each subspecies has its own structural feature. Their number ranges from 2 to 70. The eyes are also located on the head, which have a rather complex structure. Surprisingly, some ants see absolutely nothing. They find their way to their anthill thanks to the pheromone scent left behind.

Interesting facts about ants

An ant is a small hymenopteran insect. The number of their species is more than 8 thousand. It is believed that it is the ants that are most similar to humans.

Ants never eat what they find. They deliver food to the anthill. Those individuals that do not bring anything, insects kill. Ants regularly stock up on food for the winter. In the afternoon they take her out to dry, and at night they bring her back. Ants are thought to foresee the weather, as they never dry the blanks before the rain.

Few people know, but the oldest representative of American scientists found on one of the beaches. The body of the ant was located in amber. According to experts, the find is about 130 million years old. Surprisingly, ants are the only living organisms, with the exception of humans, that raise domestic animals, namely aphids.

It is believed that ants have the largest brain on earth in relation to their body. Another interesting fact is the lack of sleep. Surprisingly, the hymenopteran insect of the ant detachment does not feel the need for this.

Few people know, but working ants live up to 3 years, while females live up to 20. It is also known that they are able to lift a load that exceeds their weight by 100 times. When an ant dies of poisoning, it always falls solely on its right side.


Bumblebees are also hymenopteran insects. Representatives of this subspecies are distinguished by a dense hairline on the body, which has a bright color. Bumblebees are divided into three categories: uterus, workers and drones. It is worth noting that the latter do not have the ability to sting. Unlike wasps, bumblebees use a sting only for self-defense.

The reaction of the human body to a bumblebee bite depends only on individual characteristics. Most often, it is not dangerous. An allergic reaction to a bumblebee bite is quite rare. Most often, only 1% of humanity is exposed to it, and, as a rule, this happens with repeated bite.

It is known that, unlike other Hymenoptera, bumblebees do not fly out in search of food in bad weather. They also have the most favorite plants. Bumblebees can pollinate inaccessible flower bowls that are not subject to wasps.

Unlike other insects, bumblebees have a body temperature higher by 20-30 degrees than the environment. This is due to the active work of the pectoral muscles.

Is Hymenoptera insect useful?

Perhaps everyone knows that all living organisms on our planet are interconnected. Each insect brings certain benefits to the globe and man himself. No exception is the order of Hymenoptera. For example, ants, as we know, build houses not only on the surface of the soil, but also under it. Due to this, the soil becomes more loose and is filled with a large amount of oxygen. Also, ants annually destroy a huge number of pests.

Hymenoptera insects - bees, wasps and hornets - are of great benefit. Thanks to the products of their processing, a huge amount of medicines was created. For example, many drugs contain honey and propolis.

An interesting fact about the representative of Hymenoptera.

In the XX century, a famous scientist conducted a number of interesting studies. It is known that a bumblebee has rather small wings (relative to its body). The scientist applied to the insect the calculation of the lifting force of the aircraft. He found out that a bumblebee flies against all the laws of aerodynamics and physics.

Today, a lot of debate is underway on this topic. Many scientists disprove the hypothesis and prove that the bumblebee flies quite reasonably. However, these versions are still not fully understood.

Hymenoptera and education

As we found out earlier, Hymenoptera insects are of great benefit. Pupils of the 7th grade at school tell about the features of their structure and vital functions. The purpose of the lesson is to show how important the order of insects Hymenoptera is. Grade 7 after the end of the lesson should know the structural features of this species and their role for the human body and nature. The duties of the teacher include checking the assimilation of material about Hymenoptera insects after some time.

Parasitic properties. Nutcrackers

Like many other insects, some subspecies of Hymenoptera have parasitic properties. One of the representatives that have this property are nut growers. Most often, they lay their eggs on oak or shrubs. By their appearance they resemble small nuts. The insect lays its eggs directly in the bark or leaves of plants. Subsequently, white larvae hatch from them, which disrupt the vital activity of trees and shrubs, parasitizing on them.


Another parasitic species of hymenoptera is ichneumonoids. Representatives of this subspecies differ in color and size. Female ichneumonoids have a not pronounced filiform ovipositor. They sit on other insects from above and inject their eggs into their body.

In some queens, the ovipositor is filled with poison. Due to this feature, they destroy pests of crops. A larva hatches from an egg in the body of another insect. At first, it feeds on the fat deposits of the victim, and when their supply comes to an end, it begins to eat vital organs. By the time the larva begins to create a cocoon, as a rule, the victim is dying.


Chalcides are another parasitic subspecies of Hymenoptera. They are quite small in size. Like most other parasitic insects, chalcides live in the body of other representatives.

Curious is the fact that chalcides are able to parasitize even in water bodies. It is believed that the most ancient representatives of the parasitic subspecies of Hymenoptera lived in the Cretaceous.

There is a special subspecies of chalcides - Costa Rican. They can parasitize not only on animals, but also on people. It is known that a farmer in New England was bitten by such an insect by his ear. The man walked with unbearable pain for two weeks and complained of hearing loss. Three weeks after the bite, the farmer’s wife found small insects crawling out of his ear. The man was hospitalized urgently. Doctors performed an operation and seized more than 300 grams of chalcides from his auricle.

Among chalcides, there are also species that parasitize only on plants. They perform their activities inside the galls (areas of leaf tissue growth). Few people know, but there is a subspecies of chalcides, whose representatives lay their eggs in the fruits of ficus, which are just beginning to form. Without these insects, the plant could not be pollinated. Also, thanks to parasitism, ficus forms seeds.

To summarize

Almost every hymenoptera insect strikes us with its quirkiness and uniqueness. Each species has its own characteristics. In our article, we showed how incredible insects are. We found out that ants never sleep and, like us, raise domestic animals, and some parasitic hymenopteran insects can be beneficial. Unfortunately, more often than not, people themselves destroy the surrounding world and its inhabitants. We strongly recommend not to harm our nature so that not only hymenoptera, but also other representatives of the fauna feel comfortable and do not disappear from our land after a couple of years.