The Remaining Endopterygote Orders

FIGURE 10.29. Vespoidea. (A) A digging wasp, Scolia dubia (Scoliidae); and (B) a velvet ant, Dasymutilla occidentalis (Mutillidae), male and female. [A, from L. A. Swan and C. S. Papp, 1972, The Common Insects of North America. Copyright 1972 by L. A. Swan and C. S. Papp. Reprinted by permission of Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc. B, from D. J. Borror, D. M. Delong, and C. A. Triplehorn, 1976, An Introduction to the Study of Insects, 4th ed. By permission of Brooks/Cole, a division of Thomson Learning.]

larvae. Polymorphism reaches the extreme in ants, where, in some species, several different forms of worker occur, each performing a particular function. Workers form the vast bulk of individuals in the nest. There may be one to several queens; males are few in number and probably produced seasonally. Except for a short period prior to swarming, all individuals are apterous. However, winged queens and males are produced in most species (not in Dorylinae) in order to found new nests. After a short mating flight, a queen alone finds a suitable nesting site, sheds her wings, and eventually begins egg laying. Except in a few primitive species, the queen does not forage for food during this initial phase of nest building but lives entirely on fat body reserves and the products of wing muscle degeneration.

FIGURE 10.30. Vespoidea. A spider wasp, Episyron quinquenotatus (Pompilidae). [From D. J. Borror, D. M. Delong, and C. A. Triplehorn, 1976, An Introduction to the Study of Insects, 4th ed. By permission of Brooks/Cole, a division of Thomson Learning.]

FIGURE 10.31. Vespoidea. Castes of the primitive ant, Ponera pennsylvanica (Formicidae: Ponerinae). (A) Male; (B) female; and (C) worker. [From W. M. Wheeler, 1910, Ante. Their Structure, Development and Behaviour, Columbia University Press.]

Several distinct subfamilies are recognized. The most primitive ants, which are carnivorous and form only small colonies, are the PONERINAE (Figure 10.31), which nest in the ground or rotting logs. In the ponerine ants there is little structural difference between the queen and workers, which are monomorphic. DORYLINAE are nomadic ants (army ants) of tropical regions. Like members of the previous subfamily, they are carnivorous, and in their search for food may form massive columns whose length may cover 100 m or more. The remaining ant subfamilies have solved the problem of obtaining sufficient food for the colony (which may contain several million individuals) by changing from a carnivorous to a generally phytophagous diet. Not surprisingly, in view of their enormous biomass, ants are extremely important in both energy flow and soil mixing in the ecosystem. The MYR-MICINAE (Figure 10.32) form the largest and most common subfamily. Many species are harvester ants, so-called because they collect seeds that they store in the nest. Others grow fungi on decaying leaf fragments and ant excreta in special subterranean chambers. It is to this subfamily that many of the inquiline and parasitic species belong. DOLICHODERI-NAE and FORMICINAE, which form the second largest subfamily, are generally nectar or honeydew feeders. Workers usually have a flexible integument that stretches remarkably as food is imbibed. In the honey ants there is a distinct form of worker, the replete (Figure 10.33), which spends its life in the nest and serves as a living bottle in which food can be stored. Many species have established a symbiotic relationship with honeydew-secreting insects, mainly homopterans. In return for a copious supply of honeydew the ants move the insects to new "pasture," protect them if there is a disturbance, build shelters for them, and store their eggs during the winter.

In addition, ants have a close relationship with many other insects that actually live in their nest. The relationship ranges from one in which the inquilines are scavengers or predators and are treated with hostility by the ants, through one where the ants behave indifferently toward the visitors, to a situation in which the ants "welcome" their guests, to the extent of feeding and rearing them. In return for this hospitality, the guests appear to exude substances that are highly attractive to the ants. Frequently, two species of ants may

FIGURE 10.32. Vespoidea. Castes of Pheidole instabilis (Formicidae: Myrmicinae). (A) Soldier; (B-E) intermediate workers; (F) typical worker; (G) male; and (H) dealated female. [From W. M. Wheeler, 1910, Ants. Their Structure, Development and Behaviour, Columbia University Press.]

Beekeeping for Beginners

Beekeeping for Beginners

The information in this book is useful to anyone wanting to start beekeeping as a hobby or a business. It was written for beginners. Those who have never looked into beekeeping, may not understand the meaning of the terminology used by people in the industry. We have tried to overcome the problem by giving explanations. We want you to be able to use this book as a guide in to beekeeping.

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