Tiphiid Wasps



SCOLIID WASPS Family Scoliidae p. 343

Identification: Large, robust, hairy wasps, mostly 20-30 mm.; dark-colored, often with light markings. Mesosternum and metasternum form a large plate divided by a transverse suture. Hind coxae well separated. Wing membrane beyond closed cells with numerous longitudinal wrinkles.

Scoliid wasps are usually found on flowers. Larvae are parasites of white grubs.

VELVET ANTS Family Mutillidae See also PL 15

Identification: Very hairy wasps, often brightly colored. 6-20 mm. cf winged, 9 wingless.

Mutillids are wasps that resemble ants but are quite hairy. Females inflict a very painful sting. Larvae are mostly parasites of larvae of ground-nesting bees and wasps; a few parasitize insects in other orders.

SAPYGID WASPS Family Sapygidae Not illus.

Identification: Slender, 15 mm. or less; black, marked with yellow. Eyes deeply notched. Differ from Myzininae (Tiphiidae) in being smaller and in lacking mesosternal lobes. Differ from mutillids in having the body bare.

This is a small but widely distributed and quite rare group. Larvae are parasites of leaf cutting bees (Megachilidae).

ANTS Family Formicidae

Identification: First abdominal segment (or 1st 2 abdominal segments) nodelike or with a dorsal hump, differing from remaining segments. Antennae 6- to 13-segmented, and strongly elbowed (at least in 9), the 1st segment quite long. Social insects, with different castes; queens and males usually winged, the workers wingless. Venation of winged forms normal or slightly reduced.

This is a large and widely distributed group occurring almost everywhere, often in considerable numbers. Ant colonies vary greatly in size, from a dozen or so up to many thousands of individuals. Most species nest in the ground but many nest in various natural cavities. Each colony usually consists of 1 or more queens (larger than other individuals and do all the egg laying), workers (larger colonies may contain 2 or more types of workers), and males; a few ants have no worker caste. Males and queens are produced at certain seasons, and mating usually occurs in a mating flight; males are generally much smaller than queens. After mating, the queen sheds its wings and either starts a new colony or enters an established colony.

Ants vary in habits: some are carnivorous, some are scavengers, and some are plant feeders. Most ants will bite when disturbed and many will sting; a few can eject a foul-smelling


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