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Dolichovespula maculata, bald-faced hornet
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Infraorder: Aculeata
Superfamily: Vespoidea

See text

Ancistrocerus antilope female. Family Vespidae

The Vespoidea are a superfamily of wasps in the order Hymenoptera, although older taxonomic schemes may vary in this categorization, particularly in their recognition of a now-obsolete superfamily Scolioidea, as well as the relationship to ants. Vespoidea includes wasps with a large variety of lifestyles; eusocial, social, and solitary habits, predators, scavengers, parasitoids, and some herbivores.


Vespoid wasp females have antennae with 10 flagellomeres, while males have 11 flagellomeres. The edge of the pronotum reaches or passes the tegula. Many species display some level of sexual dimorphism. Most species have fully developed wings, but some have reduced or absent wings in one or both sexes. As in other Aculeata, only the females are ever capable of stinging.[1]

Vespoid families


Research based on four nuclear genes (elongation factor-1α F2 copy, long-wavelength rhodopsin, wingless and the D2–D3 regions of 28S ribosomal RNA—2700 bp in total) suggests the historical view of family relationships need to be changed, with Rhopalosomatidae as a sister group of the Vespidae and the clade Rhopalosomatidae + Vespidae as sister to all other vespoids and apoids. Additionally, superfamily Apoidea is found to nest within the Vespoidea, suggesting the dismantling of Vespoidea (sensu lato) into many smaller superfamilies; Formicoidea, Scolioidea, Tiphioidea, Thynnoidea, and Pompiloidea in addition to a much more narrowly defined Vespoidea. Finally, families Mutillidae, Tiphiidae, and Bradynobaenidae were found to be paraphyletic.[4] Another recent study confirms the need for revision of high-level relationships, although the pattern of sister-group relationships within the putative Vespoidea matches the same basic pattern as the 2008 study, including a paraphyletic Bradynobaenidae and Tiphiidae.[5]


  1. Hymenoptera of the world: an identification guide to families. Goulet, Henri., Huber, John T. (John Theodore), Canada. Agriculture Canada. Research Branch.. Ottawa, Ont.: Centre for Land and Biological Resources Research. 1993. ISBN 978-0660149332. OCLC 28024976. 
  2. LaPolla, J.S.; Dlussky, G.M.; Perrichot, V. (2013). "Ants and the Fossil Record". Annual Review of Entomology 58: 609–630. doi:10.1146/annurev-ento-120710-100600. PMID 23317048. 
  3. Grimaldi, D.; Agosti, D.; Carpenter, J. M. (1997). "New and rediscovered primitive ants (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) in Cretaceous amber from New Jersey, and their phylogenetic relationships.". American Museum Novitates 3208: 1–43. [July 2018| Dead link since July 2018}}">permanent dead link]
  4. Pilgrim, E.; von Dohlen, C.; Pitts, J. (2008). "Molecular phylogenetics of Vespoidea indicate paraphyly of the superfamily and novel relationships of its component families and subfamilies". Zoologica Scripta 37 (5): 539–560. doi:10.1111/j.1463-6409.2008.00340.x. 
  5. Johnson, B.R. (2013). "Phylogenomics Resolves Evolutionary Relationships among Ants, Bees, and Wasps". Current Biology 23 (20): 2058–2062. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2013.08.050. PMID 24094856. 

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