views updated

Apocrita (ants, bees, wasps; subclass Pterygota, order Hymenoptera) The larger of the two suborders of Hymenoptera, whose members have a constriction between the thorax and abdomen, occurring between the narrowed first abdominal segment (which is attached to the thorax) and the rest of the abdomen. Wing venation in some minute forms is greatly reduced, and the ovipositor can be of two types: a non-stinging type normally kept outside the abdomen, and a stinging type which is retractable. The Apocrita comprises 11 super families, with about 105 000 species, many of which are of benefit to humans. Bees, gall wasps, and some Chalcidoidea have herbivorous larvae, but the majority of Apocrita are parasites of other insects and spiders.