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Ants Sawflies Bees and Wasps: Hymenoptera


Most adults feed on pollen, nectar, and plant sap, as well as honeydew, the sugary waste produced by aphids, mealy bugs and hoppers (Hemiptera). Both adult and larval leaf-cutter ants depend on a special fungus as their primary source of food. The ants grow the fungus themselves in special underground chambers. Other hymenopterans eat living or dead animal tissues, especially insects. Many female parasitoids (PAE-re-SIH-toyds) feed on the body fluids of insects in order to produce eggs. Parasitoids are hymenopterans with lifestyles in between parasites and predators (PREH-duh-ters) that hunt for food. Parasitoids feed inside the body of a single living host, eventually killing it.

The larvae of most sawflies and their relatives feed on plant tissues. They feed on the outside of plants, but some bore into stems, fruits, and leaves. Horntail larvae bore through living tree trunks and rely on funguses to break down the wood so they can use it for food. Parasitic or parasitoid wasp larvae eat the tissues of their host insects. Other wasps live and feed in plant galls (gawls). Plant galls are swellings or abnormal growths that appear on roots, stems, leaves, and flowers. Infections, insects, mites, and other organisms produce galls. Many wasps feed their larvae chewed-up or paralyzed (PAE-ruh-laizd) insects and spiders. The paralyzing stings of these wasps do not kill the insects or spiders. Instead, the sting has chemicals that affects their nervous systems and prevents them from moving.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceInsects and SpidersAnts Sawflies Bees and Wasps: Hymenoptera - Physical Characteristics, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Hymenopterans And People, Conservation Status, Honeybee (apis Mellifera): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT