There was a diverse assemblage of families and superfamilies of Hymenoptera collected during this expedition. Robert Zuparko identified the following: Ceraphronoidea, Evaniidae, Ichneumonidae, Braconidae, Mymaridae, Eulophidae, Encyrtidae, Eupelmidae, Agaonidae, Pteromalidae, Eucharitidae, Chalcididae, Cynipoidea, Proctotrupoidea, Scelionidae, Bethylidae, Crabronidae, Sphecidae, Apoidea, Tiphiidae, Mutillidae, Pompilidae, Scoliidae, Vespidae, and Formicidae.
Ichneumonidae (Ichneumon wasps)
There are thousands of beneficial insects that feed on or parasitize other insects. Images of a couple of the ichneumon wasps are included here.
Among the many tiny parasitic wasps collected in traps on this Philippine expedition were members of the family Encyrtidae. These wasps attack mealy bugs, scale insects, aphids, and whiteflies, and as such are among our more important biological control agents. There are about 3,800 species known in the world, but are seldom seen because of their small size. The genetics of this group is interesting – females emerge from fertilized eggs, and males emerge from unfertilized eggs. Some species have the ability to multiply as embryos, so that many adults will emerge from a single deposited egg.
A total of 42 samples of ants were given to Michael Bollinger for sorting, pinning, and labeling. There was one exceptional ant that was rather large, with metallic blue coloration. It had ridges and grooves all over its body. The ants were perhaps the most abundant group (family) collected on this expedition.
Mutillidae (velvet ants)
These wasps can have strikingly different males and females. Males are winged, and females are not. They often have different color patterns, so that association of males with females is difficult. The wingless females often are quite hairy, and hence the name velvet ants.
Pompilidae (spider wasps)
Spider wasps get their name because of their behavior. Adult wasps seek out spider that they paralyze with their sting, and then carry them back to the nest to feed the larvae. In North America one group of spider wasps in the genus Pepsis are called tarantula hawks because they search for, paralyze, and carry back to their nests large tarantulas. These are among the largest wasps in the world.
Scoliidae (scoliid wasps)
These hairy, black wasps have an interesting biology. The female will dig into the soil until she finds a scarab larva (white grub). She stings the grub, paralyzing it. Then, she oviposits on the grub and forms a subterranean cell around it. The scoliid wasp larva then feeds on the paralyzed grub throughout development. Here is one of the scoliid wasps collected on the CAS expedition.
Tiphiidae (tiphiid wasps)
These medium-sized, slender wasps often parasitize beetle larvae as immatures. One of the species found on the CAS Philippine expedition is included here.
Vespidae (yellow jackets, hornets, paper wasps, potter wasps)
As the variety of common names suggests, this large family contains species with many different behaviors and life histories. This is the family of wasps that most people are familiar with. The thin, paper-like nests of some species can be found under the eaves of buildings and bridges. Other species form pot-shaped cells of mud attached to walls. One characteristic of this family is that the forewings are often folded double longitudinally. They have an ovipositor modified to form a stinger that can inject venom repeatedly. Because of this defensive mechanism they usually have bright colors to warn of their capability for painful stings.