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Latest Hymenoptera Stories

e265af7e713a3ad6bdacb060e69e05221
2010-04-27 12:23:04

They are both nest-building social insects, but paper wasps and honey bees organize their colonies in very different ways. In a new study, researchers report that despite their differences, these insects rely on the same network of genes to guide their social behavior. The study appears in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. Honey bees and paper wasps are separated by more than 100 million years of evolution, and there are striking differences in how they divvy up the...

17136de9c843776640f4aa79fcfeb346
2010-04-05 14:15:00

Lions, tigers and bears top the ecological pyramid"”the diagram of the food chain that every school child knows. They eat smaller animals, feeding on energy that flows up from the base where plants convert sunlight into carbohydrates. A new study examines complex interactions in the middle of the pyramid, where birds, bats and lizards consume insects. These predators eat enough insects to indirectly benefit plants and increase their growth, Smithsonian scientists report. "Our findings...

7676bec6a50179756b34390914dc21921
2010-03-30 14:05:00

One of the most common house ant species might have been built for living in some of the smallest spaces in a forest, but the ants have found ways to take advantage of the comforts of city living. Grzegorz Buczkowski, a Purdue University research assistant professor of entomology, found that odorous house ant colonies become larger and more complex as they move from forest to city and act somewhat like an invasive species. The ants live about 50 to a colony with one queen in forest settings...

79304a4b2d6ad89682aaf7909fec6f871
2010-03-24 08:29:17

Who's in charge? Who's got food? The brain region responsible for learning and memory is bigger in social bee queens who may have to address these questions than in solitary queens, report scientists at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute who study the tropical sweat bee species, Megalopta genalis in Panama. Their study is the first comparison of the brain sizes of social and non-social individuals of the same species. "The idea is that to maintain power and control in groups you need...

f483c6b929722da1afaac53677c36944
2010-03-09 11:05:56

Desert ants perceive odor maps in stereo and use this information for navigation Scientists of the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena have investigated another navigational skill of desert ants. These ants are already well-known for their remarkable visual orientation: they use a sun compass along with a step counter and visible landmarks to locate their nest after foraging for food. After the research team from Jena recently discovered that these ants also use olfactory cues...

b4c37b351ffa987bbe020f5a0b1843f01
2010-02-18 09:25:13

Research on why early termite offspring remained home with their parents, instead of leaving to create their own colonies, could provide a missing link to the evolution of sterility among social insects Natural selection argues for small biological changes that yield greater chances of survival and successful reproduction. Yet, that process does not square well with the evolution of social insects, particularly when their colonies can have over a million non-reproductive members. A new study...

4a2e9a6ee0df813d931188df4a1009651
2010-01-29 09:45:00

Going about their day-to-day business, bees have no need to be able to recognize human faces. Yet in 2005, when Adrian Dyer from Monash University trained the fascinating insects to associate pictures of human faces with tasty sugar snacks, they seemed to be able to do just that. But Martin Giurfa from the Universit© de Toulouse, France, suspected that that the bees weren't learning to recognize people. 'Because the insects were rewarded with a drop of sugar when they chose human...

36b2ff79dcf758a072a9230f53d117021
2010-01-15 09:04:30

Figs and the wasps that pollinate them present one of biologists' favorite examples of a beneficial relationship between two different species. In exchange for the pollination service provided by the wasp, the fig fruit provides room and board for the wasp's developing young. However, wasps do not always pollinate the fig. Fig trees "punish" these "cheaters" by dropping unpollinated fruit, killing the wasp's offspring inside, report researchers working at the Smithsonian Tropical Research...

2009-12-23 15:55:00

Landing is tricky: hit the ground too fast and you will crash and burn; too slow and you may stall and fall. Bees manage their approach by monitoring the speed of images moving across their eyes. By slowing so that the speed of the looming landing pad's image on the retina remains constant, bees manage to control their approach. But what happens in the final few moments before touch down? And how do bees adapt to landing on surfaces ranging from the horizontal to upside-down ceilings? Flies...

2009-12-01 14:19:18

Broadly speaking, ants have two different feeding strategies. A large proportion of all species are "carnivorous," meaning that they are generalist predators feeding on other small animals or scavenging on their remains. Some, however, are "herbivorous". This is not to say that they only eat plants; rather, the bulk of their diets consist of plant-derived matter. For example, some forage on sticky fluids produced by plants to attract ants, called extra-floral nectar; others feed on the...


Latest Hymenoptera Reference Libraries

Jack Jumper Ant, Myrmecia pilosula
2013-07-10 13:00:54

The jack jumper ant (Myrmecia pilosula), known by other names including the jumping jack or hopper ant, is a species of bull ant that can be found in Australia. Its range includes Tasmania, New South Wales, and rural areas of Victoria. This species is unique in that its genome only holds on set of chromosomes, which is the lowest number of chromosomes that any animal can hold. Like other bull ants, this species can build nests under rocks or under dirt mounds. The jack jumper reaches an...

Inchman, Myrmecia forficate
2013-07-10 12:28:46

The inchman (Myrmecia forficate) is a species of bull ant that can be found in Australia, in a range that includes Tasmania and possibly southeastern areas of Australia. This species is gregarious, living in colonies like most other ant species, but it forages for food alone. Nests often go unseen and are typically found under rocks.  It reaches an average body length of up to one inch long, the trait from which it received its common name. The inchman is both a scavenger and a...

0_1b176b063c37655d81f4ab248352d3de
2005-09-12 11:56:41

A wasp is any insect of the order Hymenoptera and suborder Apocrita that is not a bee, sawfly, or an ant. The less familiar suborder Symphyta includes the sawflies and wood wasps, which differ from the Apocrita by having a broad connection between the thorax and abdomen. Also, Symphyta larvae are mostly herbivorous and "caterpillarlike", whereas those of Apocrita are largely predatory or parasitic. Most familiar wasps belong to the Aculeata, a division of the Apocrita whose ovipositors are...

40_7105f67ef0ac80eaa97446c6b40c0af0
2005-09-09 09:51:50

The Bombyliids are a large family of flies with hundreds of genera. Their life cycles are not well known. Adults generally feed on nectar and pollen, thus are pollinators of flowers. They superficially resemble bees, thus are commonly called bee flies, and this may offer the adults some protection from predators. The larval stage are predators or parasitoids of other insect eggs and larvae. The adult females usually deposit eggs in the vicinity of possible hosts, quite often in the burrows...

0_883369ca3027116bc769a5aa2feb2314
2005-09-09 09:43:40

The bumblebee is a flying insect of the genus Bombus in the family Apidae and a relative of the common honeybee. The bumblebee feeds on nectar and gathers pollen to feed its young. They are beneficial to humans and the plant world alike, and tend to be larger than other members of the bee family. Most bumblebee species are gentle. From this comes their original name: "Humblebee". Bumblebees are social insects that are known for their black and yellow striped bodies, a commonality among the...

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Word of the Day
monteith
  • A large punch-bowl of the eighteenth century, usually of silver and with a movable rim, and decorated with flutings and a scalloped edge. It was also used for cooling and carrying wine-glasses.
  • A kind of cotton handkerchief having white spots on a colored ground, the spots being produced by a chemical which discharges the color.
This word is possibly named after Monteith (Monteigh), 'an eccentric 17th-century Scotsman who wore a cloak scalloped at the hem.'
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