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Order Hymenoptera

(Aquatic wasps, others)

Soil & Water Conservation Society of Metro Halifax (SWCSMH)

Updated: October 09, 2013      Freshwater Benthic Ecology and Aquatic Entomology Homepage


Linnean system of hierarchical classification (Williams & Feltmate, 1992):


The Hymenoptera is a large order of insects containing the bees, wasps, ants, sawflies and their similar forms, the vast majority of which are terrestrial. The order is divided into two suborders, the Symphyta (sawflies and horntails), and the Apocrita (bees, wasps and ants). There appear to be no aquatic symphytans, but several families within the Apocrita contain species that are, in some way, associated with water. The latter are all wasps and they are all parasitic on a variety of aquatic hosts (cf. Table below).

With few exceptions, aquatic wasps are small but, otherwise, they show little in the way of morphological adaptations to water. In Caraphractus cinctus, a tiny mymarid wasp whose life cycle is perhaps the best known, the adults spend quite some time under water, swimming with their wings and respiring cutaneously. In the autumn, larvae enter a diapause in the final instar which carries them over to the next spring when they pupate and emerge.

Major families of aquatic wasp, together with the hosts that they typically parasitize (Williams & Feltmate, 1992)

Section Parasitica
BraconidaeDiptera (Ephydridae), Lepidoptera (Noctuidae)
IchneumonidaeColeoptera, Lepidoptera, Trichoptera, Diptera
MymaridaeHemiptera (esp. Gerridae), Odonata, Coleoptera
TrichogrammatidaeOdonata, Diptera, Hemiptera, Coleoptera, Megaloptera
EulophidaeOdonata (esp. Lestidae), Coleoptera
PteromalidaeDiptera (Ephydridae), Coleoptera, Neuroptera
DiapriidaeDiptera (Ephydridae, Sciomyzidae), Coleoptera
ScelionidaeHemiptera (esp. Gerridae), Lepidoptera, Diptera
AgriotypidaeTrichoptera (ectoparasites)
EucoilidaeDiptera (Ephydridae)
Section Aculeata
PompilidaeAraneae (pisaurid spiders)

References and web URLs:

Freshwater Benthic Ecology and Aquatic Entomology Homepage                     Soil & Water Conservation Society of Metro Halifax (SWCSMH) Master Homepage

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