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Aleiodes indiscretus wasp parasitizing gypsy moth caterpillar.

Scientific classification

A wasp is any insect of the order Hymenoptera and suborder Apocrita that is not a bee or an ant. Less familiar, the 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 the Apocrita are largely predatory or parasitic.

Most familiar wasps belong to the Aculeata, a division of the Apocrita whose ovipositors are modified into a venomous stinger that includes ants and bees. In this sense, the species called "velvet ants" (Mutilidae) are actually wasps.

A narrower meaning of the term wasp is any member of the Aculeate family Vespidae. This includes the yellowjackets (Vespula, Dolichovespula spp.) and hornets (Vespa spp.).

Table of contents
1 Characteristics
2 Some Wasp Families
3 External links


The following characteristics are present in most wasps:

Wasps are critically important in natural biocontrol. There is a wasp species that is predator or parasite upon almost every pest insect species. Wasps are also increasingly used in agricultural pest control.

See also: how to tell bees from wasps

Some Wasp Families

A yellowjacket wasp drinking

External links

The term sea wasp designates a number of species of jellyfish, including the deadly box jellyfish.

See also: