Temporal range: Jurassic–Present
A social wasp, "Vespula germanica"
A social wasp, Vespula germanica
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Superorder: Hymenopterida
Order: Hymenoptera
Groups included
Cladistically included but traditionally excluded taxa

A wasp is any insect of the order Hymenoptera and suborder Apocrita that is neither a bee nor an ant. The Apocrita have a common evolutionary ancestor and form a clade; wasps as a group do not form a clade, but are paraphyletic with respect to bees and ants.

The most commonly known wasps, such as yellowjackets and hornets, are in the family Vespidae and are eusocial, living together in a nest with an egg-laying queen and non-reproducing workers. Eusociality is favoured by the unusual haplodiploid system of sex determination in Hymenoptera, as it makes sisters exceptionally closely related to each other. However, the majority of wasp species are solitary, with each adult female living and breeding independently. Females typically have an ovipositor for laying eggs in or near a food source for the larvae, though in the Aculeata the ovipositor is often modified instead into a sting used for defense or prey capture. Wasps play many ecological roles. Some are predators or pollinators, whether to feed themselves or to provision their nests. Many, notably the cuckoo wasps, are kleptoparasites, laying eggs in the nests of other wasps. Many of the solitary wasps are parasitoidal, meaning they lay eggs on or in other insects (any life stage from egg to adult) and often provision their own nests with such hosts. Unlike true parasites, the wasp larvae eventually kill their hosts. Solitary wasps parasitize almost every pest insect, making wasps valuable in horticulture for biological pest control of species such as whitefly in tomatoes and other crops.

Wasps first appeared in the fossil record in the Jurassic, and diversified into many surviving superfamilies by the Cretaceous. They are a successful and diverse group of insects with tens of thousands of described species; wasps have spread to all parts of the world except for the polar regions. The largest social wasp is the Asian giant hornet, at up to 5 centimetres (2.0 in) in length; among the largest solitary wasps is a group of species known as tarantula hawks, along with the giant scoliid of Indonesia (Megascolia procer). The smallest wasps are solitary chalcid wasps in the family Mymaridae, including the world's smallest known insect, with a body length of only 0.139 mm (0.0055 in), and the smallest known flying insect, only 0.15 mm (0.0059 in) long.

Wasps have appeared in literature from Classical times, as the eponymous chorus of old men in Aristophanes' 422 BC comedy Σφῆκες (Sphēkes), The Wasps, and in science fiction from H. G. Wells's 1904 novel The Food of the Gods and How It Came to Earth, featuring giant wasps with three-inch-long stings. The name "Wasp" has been used for many warships and other military equipment.

Taxonomy and phylogeny

Wasps are Paraphyletic
Wasps are paraphyletic, consisting of the clade Apocrita without ants and bees, which are not usually considered to be wasps. The Hymenoptera also contain the somewhat wasplike Symphyta, the sawflies. The familiar common wasps and yellowjackets belong to one family, the Vespidae.
Palaeovespa florissantia
Palaeovespa florissantia, a fossil wasp (Vespinae) from the Eocene rocks of the Florissant fossil beds of Colorado, c. 34 mya

Paraphyletic grouping

The wasps are a cosmopolitan paraphyletic grouping of hundreds of thousands of species,[1][2] consisting of the narrow-waisted Apocrita without the ants and bees.[3] The Hymenoptera also contain the somewhat wasplike but unwaisted Symphyta, the sawflies.

The term wasp is sometimes used more narrowly for members of the Vespidae, which includes several eusocial wasp lineages, such as yellowjackets (the genera Vespula and Dolichovespula), hornets (genus Vespa), and members of the subfamily Polistinae.


Neotype male of Electrostephanus petiolatus Brues in Baltic amber (AMNH B-JWJ-260)
Male Electrostephanus petiolatus fossil from the Middle Eocene, preserved in Baltic amber

Hymenoptera in the form of Symphyta (Xyelidae) first appeared in the fossil record in the Lower Triassic. Apocrita, wasps in the broad sense, appeared in the Jurassic, and had diversified into many of the extant superfamilies by the Cretaceous; they appear to have evolved from the Symphyta.[4] Fig wasps with modern anatomical features first appeared in the Lower Cretaceous of the Crato Formation in Brazil, some 65 million years before the first fig trees.[5]

The Vespidae include the extinct genus Palaeovespa, seven species of which are known from the Eocene rocks of the Florissant fossil beds of Colorado and from fossilised Baltic amber in Europe.[6] Also found in Baltic amber are crown wasps of the genus Electrostephanus.[7][8]


Megascolia procer MHNT dos
Megascolia procer, a giant solitary species from Java in the Scoliidae. This specimen's length is 7.7 cm and its wingspan is 11.5 cm.[a][9]

Wasps are a diverse group, estimated at over a hundred thousand described species around the world, and a great many more as yet undescribed.[10][b] For example, there are over 800 species of fig trees, mostly in the tropics, and almost all of these has its own specific fig wasp (Chalcidoidea) to effect pollination.[11]

Ichneumon wasp (Megarhyssa macrurus lunato) (7686081848)
Megarhyssa macrurus, a parasitoid. The body of a female is c. 2 inches (51 mm) long, with an ovipositor c. 4 inches (100 mm) long

Many wasp species are parasitoids; the females deposit eggs on or in a host arthropod on which the larvae then feed. Some larvae start off as parasitoids, but convert at a later stage to consuming the plant tissues that their host is feeding on. In other species, the eggs are laid directly into plant tissues and form galls, which protect the developing larvae from predators but not necessarily from other parasitic wasps. In some species, the larvae are predatory themselves; the wasp eggs are deposited in clusters of eggs laid by other insects, and these are then consumed by the developing wasp larvae.[11]

Wasp with Orange-kneed tarantula
Tarantula hawk wasp dragging an orange-kneed tarantula to her burrow; this species has the most painful sting of any wasp.[12]

The largest social wasp is the Asian giant hornet, at up to 5 centimetres (2.0 in) in length.[13] The various tarantula hawk wasps are of a similar size[14] and can overpower a spider many times its own weight, and move it to its burrow, with a sting that is excruciatingly painful to humans.[12] The solitary giant scoliid, Megascolia procer, with a wingspan of 11.5 cm,[9] has subspecies in Sumatra and Java;[15] it is a parasitoid of the Atlas beetle Chalcosoma atlas.[16] The female giant ichneumon wasp Megarhyssa macrurus is 12.5 centimetres (5 in) long including its very long but slender ovipositor which is used for boring into wood and inserting eggs.[17] The smallest wasps are solitary chalcid wasps in the family Mymaridae, including the world's smallest known insect, Dicopomorpha echmepterygis (139 micrometres long) and Kikiki huna with a body length of only 158 micrometres, the smallest known flying insect.[18]

There are estimated to be 100,000 species of ichneumonoid wasps in the families Braconidae and Ichneumonidae. These are almost exclusively parasitoids, mostly utilising other insects as hosts. Another family, the Pompilidae, is a specialist parasitoid of spiders.[11] Some wasps are even parasitoids of parasitoids; the eggs of Euceros are laid beside lepidopteran larvae and the wasp larvae feed temporarily on their haemolymph, but if a parasitoid emerges from the host, the hyperparasites continue their life cycle inside the parasitoid.[19] Parasitoids maintain their extreme diversity through narrow specialism. In Peru, 18 wasp species were found living on 14 fly species in only two species of Gurania climbing squash.[20][21]

Social wasps

Active Wasp Nest
Social wasps constructing a paper nest

Of the dozens of extant wasp families, only the family Vespidae contains social species, primarily in the subfamilies Vespinae and Polistinae. With their powerful stings and conspicuous warning coloration, often in black and yellow, social wasps are frequent models for Batesian mimicry by non-stinging insects, and are themselves involved in mutually beneficial Müllerian mimicry of other distasteful insects including bees and other wasps. All species of social wasps construct their nests using some form of plant fiber (mostly wood pulp) as the primary material, though this can be supplemented with mud, plant secretions (e.g., resin), and secretions from the wasps themselves; multiple fibrous brood cells are constructed, arranged in a honeycombed pattern, and often surrounded by a larger protective envelope. Wood fibers are gathered from weathered wood, softened by chewing and mixing with saliva. The placement of nests varies from group to group; yellow jackets such as Dolichovespula media and D. sylvestris prefer to nest in trees and shrubs; Protopolybia exigua attaches its nests on the underside of leaves and branches; Polistes erythrocephalus chooses sites close to a water source.[22]

Social wasps on their nest

Other wasps, like Agelaia multipicta and Vespula germanica, like to nest in cavities that include holes in the ground, spaces under homes, wall cavities or in lofts. While most species of wasps have nests with multiple combs, some species, such as Apoica flavissima, only have one comb.[23] The length of the reproductive cycle depends on latitude; Polistes erythrocephalus, for example, has a much longer (up to 3 months longer) cycle in temperate regions.[24]

Solitary wasps

Potter Wasp building mud nest near completion
Potter wasp building mud nest, France. The latest ring of mud is still wet.

The vast majority of wasp species are solitary insects.[11][25] Having mated, the adult female forages alone and if it builds a nest, does so for the benefit of its own offspring. Some solitary wasps nest in small groups alongside others of their species, but each is involved in caring for its own offspring (except for such actions as stealing other wasps’ prey or laying in other wasp's nests). There are some species of solitary wasp that build communal nests, each insect having its own cell and providing food for its own offspring, but these wasps do not adopt the division of labour and the complex behavioural patterns adopted by eusocial species.[25]

Adult solitary wasps spend most of their time in preparing their nests and foraging for food for their young, mostly insects or spiders. Their nesting habits are more diverse than those of social wasps. Many species dig burrows in the ground.[25] Mud daubers and pollen wasps construct mud cells in sheltered places.[26] Potter wasps similarly build vase-like nests from mud, often with multiple cells, attached to the twigs of trees or against walls.[27]

Predatory wasp species normally subdue their prey by stinging it, and then either lay their eggs on it, leaving it in place, or carry it back to their nest where an egg may be laid on the prey item and the nest sealed, or several smaller prey items may be deposited to feed a single developing larva. Apart from providing food for their offspring, no further maternal care is given. Members of the family Chrysididae, the cuckoo wasps, are kleptoparasites and lay their eggs in the nests of unrelated host species.[25]



European hornet, Vespa crabro

Like all insects, wasps have a hard exoskeleton which protects their three main body parts, the head, the mesosoma (including the thorax and the first segment of the abdomen) and the metasoma. There is a narrow waist, the petiole, joining the first and second segments of the abdomen. The two pairs of membranous wings are held together by small hooks and the forewings are larger than the hind ones; in some species, the females have no wings. In females there is usually a rigid ovipositor which may be modified for injecting venom, piercing or sawing.[28] It either extends freely or can be retracted, and may be developed into a stinger for both defence and for paralysing prey.[29]

In addition to their large compound eyes, wasps have several simple eyes known as ocelli, which are typically arranged in a triangle just forward of the vertex of the head. Wasps possess mandibles adapted for biting and cutting, like those of many other insects, such as grasshoppers, but their other mouthparts are formed into a suctorial proboscis, which enables them to drink nectar.[30]

The larvae of wasps resemble maggots, and are adapted for life in a protected environment; this may be the body of a host organism or a cell in a nest, where the larva either eats the provisions left for it or, in social species, is fed by the adults. Such larvae have soft bodies with no limbs, and have a blind gut (presumably so that they do not foul their cell).[31]

Wasp August 2007-23
Sand wasp Bembix oculata (Crabronidae) feeding on a fly after paralysing it with its sting


Adult solitary wasps mainly feed on nectar, but the majority of their time is taken up by foraging for food for their carnivorous young, mostly insects or spiders. Apart from providing food for their larval offspring, no maternal care is given.[25] Some wasp species provide food for the young repeatedly during their development (progressive provisioning).[32] Others, such as potter wasps (Eumeninae)[33] and sand wasps (Ammophila, Sphecidae),[34] repeatedly build nests which they stock with a supply of immobilised prey such as one large caterpillar, laying a single egg in or on its body, and then sealing up the entrance (mass provisioning).[35]

Spider wasp (Pompilidae) dragging a jumping spider (Salticidae) to provision a nest

Predatory and parasitoidal wasps subdue their prey by stinging it. They hunt a wide variety of prey, mainly other insects (including other Hymenoptera), both larvae and adults.[25] The Pompilidae specialize in catching spiders to provision their nests.[36]

Some social wasps are omnivorous, feeding on fallen fruit, nectar, and carrion such as dead insects. Adult male wasps sometimes visit flowers to obtain nectar. Some wasps, such as Polistes fuscatus, commonly return to locations where they previously found prey to forage.[37] In many social species, the larvae exude copious amounts of salivary secretions that are avidly consumed by the adults. These include both sugars and amino acids, and may provide essential protein-building nutrients that are otherwise unavailable to the adults (who cannot digest proteins).[38]

Sex determination

In wasps, as in other Hymenoptera, sex is determined by a haplodiploid system, which means that females are unusually closely related to their sisters, enabling kin selection to favour the evolution of eusocial behaviour. Females are diploid, meaning that they have 2n chromosomes and develop from fertilized eggs. Males, called drones, have a haploid (n) number of chromosomes and develop from an unfertilized egg.[29] Wasps store sperm inside their body and control its release for each individual egg as it is laid; if a female wishes to produce a male egg, she simply lays the egg without fertilizing it. Therefore, under most conditions in most species, wasps have complete voluntary control over the sex of their offspring.[25] Experimental infection of Muscidifurax uniraptor with the bacterium Wolbachia induced thelytokous reproduction and an inability to produce fertile, viable male offspring.[39]

Inbreeding avoidance

Females of the solitary wasp parasitoid Venturia canescens can avoid mating with their brothers through kin recognition.[40] In experimental comparisons, the probability that a female will mate with an unrelated male was about twice as high as the chance of her mating with brothers. Female wasps appear to recognize siblings on the basis of a chemical signature carried or emitted by males.[40] Sibling-mating avoidance reduces inbreeding depression that is largely due to the expression of homozygous deleterious recessive mutations.[41]


As pollinators

CSIRO ScienceImage 11188 Fig wasp
Minute pollinating fig wasps, Pleistodontes: the trees and wasps have coevolved and are mutualistic.

While the vast majority of wasps play no role in pollination, a few species can effectively transport pollen and pollinate several plant species.[42] Since wasps generally do not have a fur-like covering of soft hairs and a special body part for pollen storage (Pollen basket) as some bees do, pollen does not stick to them well.[43] However it has been shown that even without hairs, several wasp species are able to effectively transport pollen, therefore contributing for potential pollination of several plant species.[44]

Pollen wasps in the subfamily Masarinae gather nectar and pollen in a crop inside their bodies, rather than on body hairs like bees, and pollinate flowers of Penstemon and the water leaf family, Hydrophyllaceae.[45]

The Agaonidae (fig wasps) are the only pollinators of nearly 1000 species of figs,[43] and thus are crucial to the survival of their host plants. Since the wasps are equally dependent on their fig trees for survival, the coevolved relationship is fully mutualistic.[46]

As parasitoids

Dolichomitus imperator Eiablage-02-R Bartz
The parasitoidal ichneumon wasp Dolichomitus imperator ovipositing through wood, using its immensely long ovipositor to lay its eggs inside hidden larvae, detected by vibration
Latina rugosa planidia
Latina rugosa planidia (arrows, magnified) attached to an ant larva; the Eucharitidae are among the few parasitoids able to overcome the strong defences of ants.

Most solitary wasps are parasitoids.[47] As adults, those that do feed typically only take nectar from flowers. Parasitoid wasps are extremely diverse in habits, many laying their eggs in inert stages of their host (egg or pupa), sometimes paralysing their prey by injecting it with venom through their ovipositor. They then insert one or more eggs into the host or deposit them upon the outside of the host. The host remains alive until the parasitoid larvae pupate or emerge as adults.[48]

The Ichneumonidae are specialized parasitoids, often of Lepidoptera larvae deeply buried in plant tissues, which may be woody. For this purpose, they have exceptionally long ovipositors; they detect their hosts by smell and vibration. Some of the largest species, including Rhyssa persuasoria and Megarhyssa macrurus, parasitise horntails, large sawflies whose adult females also have impressively long ovipositors.[49] Some parasitic species have a mutualistic relationship with a polydnavirus that weakens the host's immune system and replicates in the oviduct of the female wasp.[11]

One family of chalcid wasps, the Eucharitidae, has specialized as parasitoids of ants, most species hosted by one genus of ant. Eucharitids are among the few parasitoids that have been able to overcome ants' effective defences against parasitoids.[50][51][52]

The Chrysididae, such as this Hedychrum rutilans, are known as cuckoo or jewel wasps for their parasitic behaviour and metallic iridescence.

As parasites

Many species of wasp, including especially the cuckoo or jewel wasps (Chrysididae), are kleptoparasites, laying their eggs in the nests of other wasp species to exploit their parental care. Most such species attack hosts that provide provisions for their immature stages (such as paralyzed prey items), and they either consume the provisions intended for the host larva, or wait for the host to develop and then consume it before it reaches adulthood. An example of a true brood parasite is the paper wasp Polistes sulcifer, which lays its eggs in the nests of other paper wasps (specifically Polistes dominula), and whose larvae are then fed directly by the host.[53][54] Sand wasps Ammophila often save time and energy by parasitising the nests of other females of their own species, either kleptoparasitically stealing prey, or as brood parasites, removing the other female's egg from the prey and laying their own in its place.[55] According to Emery's rule, social parasites, especially among insects, tend to parasitise species or genera to which they are closely related.[56][57] For example, the social wasp Dolichovespula adulterina parasitises other members of its genus such as D. norwegica and D. arenaria.[58][59]

As predators

Bee wolf
European beewolf Philanthus triangulum provisioning her nest with a honeybee

Many wasp lineages, including those in the families Vespidae, Crabronidae, Sphecidae, and Pompilidae, attack and sting prey items that they use as food for their larvae; while Vespidae usually macerate their prey and feed the resulting bits directly to their brood, most predatory wasps paralyze their prey and lay eggs directly upon the bodies, and the wasp larvae consume them. Apart from collecting prey items to provision their young, many wasps are also opportunistic feeders, and will suck the body fluids of their prey. Although vespid mandibles are adapted for chewing and they appear to be feeding on the organism, they are often merely macerating it into submission. The impact of the predation of wasps on economic pests is difficult to establish.[60]

The roughly 140 species of beewolf (Philanthinae) hunt bees, including honeybees, to provision their nests; the adults feed on nectar and pollen.[61]

As models for mimics

Clytus arietis (Linné, 1758) (3989861203)
The wasp beetle Clytus arietis is one of many Batesian mimics of wasps.

With their powerful stings and conspicuous warning coloration, social wasps are the models for many species of mimic. Two common cases are Batesian mimicry, where the mimic is harmless and is essentially bluffing, and Müllerian mimicry, where the mimic is also distasteful, and the mimicry can be considered mutual. Batesian mimics of wasps include many species of hoverfly and the wasp beetle. Many species of wasp are involved in Müllerian mimicry, as are many species of bee.[62]

Pair of Merops apiaster feeding detail
Bee-eaters such as Merops apiaster specialise in feeding on bees and wasps.

As prey

While wasp stings deter many potential predators, bee-eaters (in the bird family Meropidae) specialise in eating stinging insects, making aerial sallies from a perch to catch them, and removing the venom from the stinger by repeatedly brushing the prey firmly against a hard object, such as a twig.[63] The honey buzzard attacks the nests of social hymenopterans, eating wasp larvae; it is the only known predator of the dangerous[64] Asian giant hornet or "yak-killer" (Vespa mandarinia).[65] Likewise, Roadrunners are the only real predators of tarantula hawk wasps.[66]

Relationship with humans

Encarsia formosa, an endoparasitic wasp, is used for whitefly control
Encarsia formosa, a parasitoid, is sold commercially for biological control of whitefly, an insect pest of tomato and other horticultural crops.
Tomate Blatt Eier Weiße Fliege parasitiert
Tomato leaf covered with nymphs of whitefly parasitised by Encarsia formosa

As pests

Social wasps are considered pests when they become excessively common, or nest close to buildings. People are most often stung in late summer, when wasp colonies stop breeding new workers; the existing workers search for sugary foods and are more likely to come into contact with humans; if people then respond aggressively, the wasps sting.[67] Wasp nests made in or near houses, such as in roof spaces, can present a danger as the wasps may sting if people come close to them.[68] Stings are usually painful rather than dangerous, but in rare cases, people may suffer life-threatening anaphylactic shock.[69]

In horticulture

Some species of parasitic wasp, especially in the Trichogrammatidae, are exploited commercially to provide biological control of insect pests.[2][70] For example, in Brazil, farmers control sugarcane borers with the parasitic wasp Trichogramma galloi.[71] One of the first species to be used was Encarsia formosa, a parasitoid of a range of species of whitefly. It entered commercial use in the 1920s in Europe, was overtaken by chemical pesticides in the 1940s, and again received interest from the 1970s. Encarsia is used especially in greenhouses to control whitefly pests of tomato and cucumber, and to a lesser extent of aubergine (eggplant), flowers such as marigold, and strawberry.[72] Several species of parasitic wasp are natural predators of aphids and can help to control them.[73] For instance, Aphidius matricariae is used to control the peach-potato aphid.[74]

In sport

Wasps RFC is an English professional rugby union team originally based in London but now playing in Coventry; the name dates from 1867 at a time when names of insects were fashionable for clubs. The club's first kit is black with yellow stripes.[75] The club has an amateur side called Wasps FC.[76]

Among the other clubs bearing the name are a basketball club in Wantirna, Australia,[77] and Alloa Athletic F.C., a football club in Scotland.[78]

In fashion

Polaire, French actress 5
Wasp waist, c. 1900, demonstrated by Polaire, a French actress famous for this silhouette

Wasps have been modelled in jewellery since at least the nineteenth century, when diamond and emerald wasp brooches were made in gold and silver settings.[79] A fashion for wasp waisted female silhouettes with sharply cinched waistlines emphasizing the wearer's hips and bust arose repeatedly in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.[80][81]

In literature

The Ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes wrote the comedy play Σφῆκες (Sphēkes), The Wasps, first put on in 422 BC. The "wasps" are the chorus of old jurors.[82]

H. G. Wells made use of giant wasps in his novel The Food of the Gods and How It Came to Earth (1904):[83]

It flew, he is convinced, within a yard of him, struck the ground, rose again, came down again perhaps thirty yards away, and rolled over with its body wriggling and its sting stabbing out and back in its last agony. He emptied both barrels into it before he ventured to go near. When he came to measure the thing, he found it was twenty-seven and a half inches across its open wings, and its sting was three inches long. ... The day after, a cyclist riding, feet up, down the hill between Sevenoaks and Tonbridge, very narrowly missed running over a second of these giants that was crawling across the roadway.[83]

Botticelli-Venus and Mars (cropped)
Detail of Botticelli's Venus and Mars, 1485, with a wasp's nest on right, probably a symbol of the Vespucci family who commissioned the painting.[84]

Wasp (1957) is a science fiction book by the English writer Eric Frank Russell; it is generally considered Russell's best novel.[85] In Stieg Larsson's book The Girl Who Played with Fire (2006) and its film adaptation, Lisbeth Salander has adopted her kickboxing ringname, "The Wasp", as her hacker handle and has a wasp tattoo on her neck, indicating her high status among hackers, unlike her real world situation, and that like a small but painfully stinging wasp, she could be dangerous.[86]

Parasitoidal wasps played an indirect role in the nineteenth-century evolution debate. The Ichneumonidae contributed to Charles Darwin's doubts about the nature and existence of a well-meaning and all-powerful Creator. In an 1860 letter to the American naturalist Asa Gray, Darwin wrote:

I own that I cannot see as plainly as others do, and as I should wish to do, evidence of design and beneficence on all sides of us. There seems to me too much misery in the world. I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created the Ichneumonidae with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of caterpillars, or that a cat should play with mice.[87]

In military names

HMS Wasp (1880)
HMS Wasp (1880), one of nine Royal Navy warships to bear the name

With its powerful sting and familiar appearance, the wasp has given its name to many ships, aircraft and military vehicles.[88] Nine ships and one shore establishment of the Royal Navy have been named HMS Wasp, the first an 8-gun sloop launched in 1749.[89] Eleven ships of the United States Navy have similarly borne the name USS Wasp, the first a merchant schooner acquired by the Continental Navy in 1775.[90] The eighth of these, an aircraft carrier, gained two Second World War battle stars, prompting Winston Churchill to remark "Who said a Wasp couldn't sting twice?"[88] In the Second World War, a German self-propelled howitzer was named Wespe,[91] while the British developed the Wasp flamethrower from the Bren Gun Carrier.[92] In aerospace, the Westland Wasp was a military helicopter developed in England in 1958 and used by the Royal Navy and other navies.[93] The AeroVironment Wasp III is a miniature UAV developed for United States Air Force special operations.[94]

See also


  1. ^ Specimen measured from photograph.
  2. ^ Methods to estimate species diversity include extrapolating the rate of species descriptions by subfamily (as in the Braconidae) until zero is reached; and extrapolating geographically from the species distribution of well-studied taxa to the group of interest (say, the Braconidae). Dolphin et al found a correlation between the predicted numbers of undescribed species by these two methods, doubling or tripling the number of species in the group.[10]


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  9. ^ a b Sarrazin, Michael; Vigneron, Jean Pol; Welch, Victoria; Rassart, Marie (5 November 2008). "Nanomorphology of the blue iridescent wings of a giant tropical wasp Megascolia procer javanensis (Hymenoptera)". Phys. Rev. E 78 (5): 051902. arXiv:0710.2692. Bibcode:2008PhRvE..78e1902S. doi:10.1103/PhysRevE.78.051902. PMID 19113150. Measurement scale on Figure 1.
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External links

Ant-Man and the Wasp

Ant-Man and the Wasp is a 2018 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics characters Scott Lang / Ant-Man and Hope van Dyne / Wasp. Produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, it is the sequel to 2015's Ant-Man and the twentieth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film is directed by Peyton Reed and written by the writing teams of Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers, and Paul Rudd, Andrew Barrer and Gabriel Ferrari. It stars Rudd as Lang and Evangeline Lilly as Van Dyne, alongside Michael Peña, Walton Goggins, Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer, Tip "T.I." Harris, David Dastmalchian, Hannah John-Kamen, Abby Ryder Fortson, Randall Park, Michelle Pfeiffer, Laurence Fishburne, and Michael Douglas. In Ant-Man and the Wasp, the titular pair work with Hank Pym to retrieve Janet van Dyne from the quantum realm.

Talks for a sequel to Ant-Man began shortly after that film was released. Ant-Man and the Wasp was officially announced in October 2015, with Rudd and Lilly returning to reprise their roles. A month later, Ant-Man director Reed was officially set to return; he was excited to develop the film from the beginning after joining the first film later in the process and also to introduce Hope van Dyne as the Wasp in this film, insisting on treating Lang and her as equals. Filming took place from August to November 2017, at Pinewood Atlanta Studios in Fayette County, Georgia, as well as Metro Atlanta, San Francisco, Savannah, Georgia and Hawaii.

Ant-Man and the Wasp had its world premiere in Hollywood on June 25, 2018 and was released on July 6, 2018, in the United States in IMAX and 3D. The film was a critical and commercial success, receiving praise for its levity, humor and performances, particularly those of Rudd and Lilly, and grossed over $622 million worldwide.

Bee sting

A bee sting is a sting from a bee (honey bee, bumblebee, sweat bee, etc.). The stings of most of these species can be quite painful, and are therefore keenly avoided by many people.

Bee stings differ from insect bites, and the venom or toxin of stinging insects is quite different. Therefore, the body's reaction to a bee sting may differ significantly from one species to another. In particular, bee stings are acidic, whereas wasp stings are alkaline, so the body's reaction to a bee sting may be very different from that of a wasp sting.The most aggressive stinging insects are vespid wasps (including bald-faced hornets and other yellowjackets) and hornets (especially the Asian giant hornet). All of these insects aggressively defend their nests.

Although for most people a bee sting is painful but otherwise relatively harmless, in people with insect sting allergy, stings may trigger a dangerous anaphylactic reaction that is potentially deadly. Additionally, honey bee stings release pheromones that prompt other nearby bees to attack.

Chalcid wasp

Chalcid wasps (, from Greek khalkos, meaning 'copper', for their metallic colour) are insects within the superfamily Chalcidoidea, part of the order Hymenoptera. The superfamily contains some 22,500 known species, and an estimated total diversity of more than 500,000 species, meaning the vast majority have yet to be discovered and described. The name "chalcid" is often confused with the name "chalcidid", though the latter refers strictly to one constituent family, the Chalcididae, rather than the superfamily as a whole; accordingly, most recent publications (e.g.,) use the name "chalcidoid" when referring to members of the superfamily.

Most of the species are parasitoids of other insects, attacking the egg or larval stage of their host, though many other life cycles are known. These hosts are to be found in at least 12 different insect orders including Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths), Diptera (true flies), Coleoptera (beetles), Hemiptera (true bugs), and other Hymenoptera, as well as two orders of Arachnida, and even one family of nematodes. For example, the chalcid fly is responsible for a small percentage of egg death in the wood white butterfly (L. sinapis). When the host is itself a parasitoid, they are referred to as hyperparasitoids. A small percentage are phytophagous and the larvae feed inside seeds, stems, and galls, including some that act as pollinators (e.g. fig wasps). Generally beneficial to humans as a group, chalcidoids help keep various crop pests under control, and many species have been imported as biocontrol agents. Moth parasitoid Copidosoma floridanum is one such species, whose genome is being sequenced by the Human Genome Sequencing Center as part of the i5K project, which aims to sequence the genomes of 5,000 arthropods.

Chalcidoids are tiny, dark-coloured wasps, typically black or brown, but often metallic blue or green, with complex sculpturing on the body. They are also recognized by the characteristic reduced wing venation, similar to that seen in other superfamilies of parasitoid wasps.


Hornets (insects in the genus Vespa) are the largest of the eusocial wasps, and are similar in appearance to their close relatives yellowjackets. Some species can reach up to 5.5 cm (2.2 in) in length. They are distinguished from other vespine wasps by the relatively large top margin of the head and by the rounded segment of the abdomen just behind the waist. Worldwide, there are 22 recognized species of Vespa, Most species only occur in the tropics of Asia, though the European hornet (Vespa crabro), is widely distributed throughout Europe, Russia, North America and Northeast Asia. Wasps native to North America in the genus Dolichovespula are commonly referred to as hornets (e.g., baldfaced hornets), but are actually yellowjackets.

Like other social wasps, hornets build communal nests by chewing wood to make a papery pulp. Each nest has one queen, who lays eggs and is attended by workers who, while genetically female, cannot lay fertile eggs. Most species make exposed nests in trees and shrubs, but some (like Vespa orientalis) build their nests underground or in other cavities. In the tropics, these nests may last year-round, but in temperate areas, the nest dies over the winter, with lone queens hibernating in leaf litter or other insulative material until the spring.

Hornets are often considered pests, as they aggressively guard their nesting sites when threatened and their stings can be more dangerous than those of bees.


The superfamily Ichneumonoidea contains the two largest families within Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae and Braconidae. The group is thought to contain as many as 100,000 species, many of which have not yet been described. Like other parasitoid wasps, they were long placed in the "Parasitica", variously considered as an infraorder or an unranked clade, now known to be paraphyletic.

Parasitoid wasp

Parasitoid wasps are a large group of hymenopteran superfamilies, with all but the wood wasps (Orussoidea) being in the wasp-waisted Apocrita. As parasitoids, they lay their eggs on or in the bodies of other arthropods, sooner or later causing the death of these hosts. Different species specialise in hosts from different insect orders, most often Lepidoptera, though some select beetles, flies, or bugs; the spider wasps (Pompilidae) exclusively attack spiders.

Parasitoid wasp species differ in which host life-stage they attack: eggs, larvae, pupae, or adults. They mainly follow one of two major strategies within parasitism: either they are endoparasitic, developing inside the host, and koinobiont, allowing the host to continue to feed, develop, and moult; or they are ectoparasitic, developing outside the host, and idiobiont, paralysing the host immediately. Some endoparasitic wasps of the superfamily Ichneumonoidea have a mutualistic relationship with polydnaviruses, the viruses suppressing the host's immune defenses.Parasitoidism evolved only once in the Hymenoptera, during the Permian, leading to a single clade, but the parasitic lifestyle has secondarily been lost several times including among the ants, bees, and yellowjacket wasps. As a result, the order Hymenoptera contains many families of parasitoids, intermixed with non-parasitoid groups. The parasitoid wasps include some very large groups, some estimates giving the Chalcidoidea as many as 500,000 species, the Ichneumonidae 100,000 species, and the Braconidae up to 50,000 species.

Host insects have evolved a range of defences against parasitoid wasps, including hiding, wriggling, and camouflage markings.

Many parasitoid wasps are considered beneficial to humans because they naturally control agricultural pests. Some are applied commercially in biological pest control, starting in the 1920s with Encarsia formosa to control whitefly in greenhouses. Historically, parasitoidism in wasps influenced the thinking of Charles Darwin.

Potter wasp

Potter wasps (or mason wasps), the Eumeninae, are a cosmopolitan wasp group presently treated as a subfamily of Vespidae, but sometimes recognized in the past as a separate family, Eumenidae.

Spider wasp

Wasps in the family Pompilidae are commonly called spider wasps or pompilid wasps. The family is cosmopolitan, with some 5,000 species in six subfamilies. Nearly all species are solitary (with the exception of some group-nesting Ageniellini), and most capture and paralyze prey, though members of the subfamily Ceropalinae are cleptoparasites of other pompilids, or ectoparasitoids of living spiders.In South America, species may be referred to colloquially as marabunta or marimbondo, though these names can be generally applied to any very large stinging wasps. Furthermore, in some parts of Venezuela and Colombia, it is called matacaballos, or "horse killers", while in Brazil some particular bigger and brighter species of the general marimbondo kind might be called fecha-goela/cerra-goela, or "throat locker".

Tarantula hawk

A tarantula hawk is a spider wasp (Pompilidae) that hunts tarantulas. Tarantula hawks belong to any of the many species in the genera Pepsis and Hemipepsis. They are parasitoid wasps, using their sting to paralyze their prey before dragging it to a brood nest as living food; a single egg is laid on the prey, hatching to a larva which eats the still-living prey.

Through the Looking-Glass

Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There (1871) (also known as "Alice through the Looking-Glass" or simply "Through the Looking-Glass") is a novel by Lewis Carroll and the sequel to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865). Alice again enters a fantastical world, this time by climbing through a mirror into the world that she can see beyond it. There she finds that, just like a reflection, everything is reversed, including logic (running helps you remain stationary, walking away from something brings you towards it, chessmen are alive, nursery rhyme characters exist, etc) Through the Looking-Glass includes such verses as "Jabberwocky" and "The Walrus and the Carpenter", and the episode involving Tweedledum and Tweedledee. The mirror which inspired Carroll remains displayed in Charlton Kings.

USS Wasp (CV-7)

USS Wasp (CV-7) was a United States Navy aircraft carrier commissioned in 1940 and lost in action in 1942. She was the eighth ship named USS Wasp, and the sole ship of a class built to use up the remaining tonnage allowed to the U.S. for aircraft carriers under the treaties of the time. As a reduced-size version of the Yorktown-class aircraft carrier hull, Wasp was more vulnerable than other United States aircraft carriers available at the opening of hostilities. Wasp was initially employed in the Atlantic campaign, where Axis naval forces were perceived as less capable of inflicting decisive damage. After supporting the occupation of Iceland in 1941, Wasp joined the British Home Fleet in April 1942 and twice ferried British fighter aircraft to Malta.

Wasp was then transferred to the Pacific in June 1942 to replace losses at the battles of Coral Sea and Midway. After supporting the invasion of Guadalcanal, Wasp was hit by three torpedoes from Japanese submarine I-19 on 15 September 1942. The resulting damage set off several explosions, destroyed her water-mains and knocked out the ship's power. As a result, her damage-control teams were unable to contain the ensuing fires that blazed out of control. She was abandoned and scuttled by USS Lansdowne later that evening. Her wreck was found in early 2019.


The Vespidae are a large (nearly 5000 species), diverse, cosmopolitan family of wasps, including nearly all the known eusocial wasps (such as Polistes fuscatus, Vespa orientalis, and Vespula germanica) and many solitary wasps. Each social wasp colony includes a queen and a number of female workers with varying degrees of sterility relative to the queen. In temperate social species, colonies usually only last one year, dying at the onset of winter. New queens and males (drones) are produced towards the end of the summer, and after mating, the queens hibernate over winter in cracks or other sheltered locations. The nests of most species are constructed out of mud, but polistines and vespines use plant fibers, chewed to form a sort of paper (also true of some stenogastrines). Many species are pollen vectors contributing to the pollination of several plants, being potential or even effective pollinators, while others are notable predators of pest insect species.

Although eight subfamilies are currently recognized, Raphiglossinae is likely also a valid subfamily. The subfamilies Polistinae and Vespinae are composed solely of eusocial species, while the Eumeninae, Euparagiinae, Gayellinae, Masarinae and Zethinae are all solitary with the exception of a few communal and several subsocial species. The Stenogastrinae are facultatively eusocial, considering nests may have one or several adult females; in cases where the nest is shared by multiple females (typically, a mother and her daughters) there is reproductive division of labor and cooperative brood care.In the Polistinae and Vespinae, rather than consuming prey directly, prey are masticated and fed to the larvae, which in return, produce a clear liquid (with high amino acid content) for the adults to consume; the exact amino acid composition varies considerably among species, but it is considered to contribute substantially to adult nutrition.

Wasp (comics)

The Wasp (Janet van Dyne) is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by Stan Lee, Ernie Hart and Jack Kirby, the character first appeared in Tales to Astonish #44 (June 1963). She is usually depicted as having the ability to shrink to a height of several centimeters, fly by means of insectoid wings, and fire bioelectric energy blasts. She is a founding member of the Avengers as well as a long time leader of the team.

In May 2011, the Wasp placed 99th on IGN's Top 100 Comic Book Heroes of All Time, and 26th in their list of "The Top 50 Avengers" in 2012. In 2013, she was ranked the fifth greatest Avenger of all time by Marvel.com.The character appears in Ant-Man (2015) in a cameo role, while Michelle Pfeiffer portrays Janet van Dyne in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018) and Avengers: Endgame (2019).

White Anglo-Saxon Protestant

White Anglo-Saxon Protestants (WASPs) are a social group—of typically wealthy and well-connected white Protestants, usually of British descent—in the United States. The group dominated American society, culture, and the leadership of major political parties until the World War II era. They are well placed in major financial, business, legal, and academic institutions, and had, in the past, close to a monopoly on elite society due to intermarriage and nepotism.During the latter half of the twentieth century, outsider ethnic and racial groups grew in influence and WASP dominance gave way. Americans increasingly criticized the WASP hegemony and disparaged WASPs as the epitome of "the Establishment". The 1998 Random House Unabridged Dictionary says the term is "Sometimes Disparaging and Offensive".Sociologists sometimes use the term very broadly to include all Protestant Americans of Northern European or Northwestern European ancestry regardless of their class or power, The term is also used in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada for similar elites.

Women Airforce Service Pilots

The Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP), (also Women's Army Service Pilots or Women's Auxiliary Service Pilots) was a civilian women pilots' organization, whose members were United States federal civil service employees. Members of WASP became trained pilots who tested aircraft, ferried aircraft and trained other pilots. Their purpose was to free male pilots for combat roles during World War II. Despite various members of the armed forces being involved in the creation of the program, the WASP and its members had no military standing.

WASP was preceded by the Women's Flying Training Detachment (WFTD) and the Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS). Both were organized separately in September 1942. They were pioneering organizations of civilian women pilots, who were attached to the United States Army Air Forces to fly military aircraft during World War II. On August 5, 1943, the WFTD and WAFS merged to create the WASP organization.

The WASP arrangement with the US Army Air Forces ended on December 20, 1944. During its period of operation, each member's service had freed a male pilot for military combat or other duties. They flew over 60 million miles; transported every type of military aircraft; towed targets for live anti-aircraft gun practice; simulated strafing missions and transported cargo. Thirty-eight WASP members lost their lives and one disappeared while on a ferry mission, her fate still unknown as of 2018. In 1977, for their World War II service, the members were granted veteran status, and in 2009 awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.

Extant Hymenopteran families
In culture
Pioneers, works
of insects
in culture


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