Engel, Michael S. Division of Entomology, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas.
Krombein, Karl V. Department of Entomology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC.
Last reviewed:October 2019
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- Stinging forms
- Sexual dimorphism
- Life history
- Ecology and economic importance
- Related Primary Literature
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A very large order of insects, consisting of the wasps, ants, bees, sawflies, and related forms. Hymenoptera is one of the most important orders of insects. In terms of numbers, it is either the second or third largest insect order. Worldwide, there are more than 90 families and over 150,000 described species of hymenopterans (Fig. 1). However, conservative estimates suggest that the global fauna may comprise more than 350,000 species, with many tens of thousands still to be discovered and documented, particularly in the superfamily Ichneumonoidea. Species range in size from truly minute [less than 5 mm (0.2 in.) in length] to large and robust [more than 65 mm (2.6 in.)]. See also: Insecta
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