Last updated

Male yellow flower wasp02.jpg
Male Agriomyia sp. feeding on nectar
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Superfamily: Thynnoidea
Family: Thynnidae



Thynnidae (also known as flower wasps) are a family of large solitary wasps whose larvae are almost universally parasitoids of various beetle larvae, especially those in the superfamily Scarabaeoidea. Until recently, the constituents of this family were classified in the family Tiphiidae, but multiple studies have independently confirmed that thynnids are a separate lineage. [1] [2]

Most species are small, but they can be up to 30 mm long. The females of some subfamilies (all Diamminae, Methochinae, and Thynninae) are wingless, and hunt ground-dwelling (fossorial) beetle larvae, or (in one species) mole crickets. The prey is paralysed with the female's sting and an egg is laid on it so the wasp larva has a ready supply of food. In species where both sexes are winged, males are similar in size to the females, but are much more slender. The males of species with wingless females, however, are often much larger than the females and have wings, the adults mating in the air, with the female carried by the male's genitalia. Adults feed on nectar and are minor pollinators. As some of the ground-dwelling scarab species attacked by thynnids are pests, some of these wasps are considered beneficial as biological control agents.

A pair of mating flower wasps: The larger male is approximately 25 mm in length. Flower wasps mating.jpg
A pair of mating flower wasps: The larger male is approximately 25 mm in length.
Myzinum quinquecinctum Myzinum quinquecinctum P1240895a.jpg
Myzinum quinquecinctum


Related Research Articles

<i>Sphex</i> genus of insects

Wasps of the genus Sphex are cosmopolitan predators that sting and paralyze prey insects. Sphex is one of many genera in the old digger wasp family Sphecidae, though most apart from the Sphecinae have now been moved to the family Crabronidae. There are over 130 known Sphex species.

Tiger beetle Subfamily of beetles

Tiger beetles are a large group of beetles, from the Cicindelinae subfamily, known for their aggressive predatory habits and running speed. The fastest known species of tiger beetle, Cicindela hudsoni, can run at a speed of 9 km/h, or about 125 body lengths per second. As of 2005, about 2,600 species and subspecies were known, with the richest diversity in the Oriental (Indo-Malayan) region, followed by the Neotropics.

Scoliidae family of insects

The Scoliidae, the scoliid wasps, are a family of about 560 species found worldwide. They tend to be black, often marked with yellow or orange, and their wing tips are distinctively corrugated. Males are more slender and elongated than females, with significantly longer antennae, but the sexual dimorphism is not as apparent as in the Tiphiidae.

Vespoidea superfamily of insects

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.

Tiphiidae family of insects

The Tiphiidae are a family of large solitary wasps whose larvae are parasitoids of various beetle larvae, especially those in the superfamily Scarabaeoidea. Until recently, this family contained several additional subfamilies, but multiple studies have independently confirmed that these comprise a separate lineage, and are now classified in the family Thynnidae.

<i>Pison</i> genus of insects

Pison is a cosmopolitan genus of wasps within the family Crabronidae. The genus comprises 145 described species, although many species, especially in South America remain undescribed.

<i>Drakaea</i> genus of plants

Drakaea is a genus of 10 species in the plant family Orchidaceae commonly known as hammer orchids. All ten species only occur in the south-west of Western Australia. Hammer orchids are characterised by an insectoid labellum that is attached to a narrow, hinged stem, which holds it aloft. The stem can only hinge backwards, where the broadly winged column carries the pollen and stigma. Each species of hammer orchid is pollinated by a specific species of thynnid wasp. Thynnid wasps are unusual in that the female is flightless and mating occurs when the male carries a female away to a source of food. The labellum of the orchid resembles a female thynnid wasp in shape, colour and scent. Insect pollination involving sexual attraction is common in orchids but the interaction between the male thynnid wasp and the hammer orchid is unique in that it involves the insect trying to fly away with a part of the flower.

Tenthredinidae family of insects

Tenthredinidae is the largest family of sawflies, with well over 7,500 species worldwide, divided into 430 genera. Larvae are herbivores and typically feed on the foliage of trees and shrubs, with occasional exceptions that are leaf miners, stem borers, or gall makers. The larvae of externally feeding species resemble small caterpillars. As with all hymenopterans, common sawflies undergo complete metamorphosis.

<i>Arthrochilus</i> genus of plants

Arthrochilus, commonly called elbow orchids, is a genus of about fifteen species of flowering plants from the orchid family (Orchidaceae) and is found in Australia and New Guinea. The flowers are pollinated by male thynnid wasps which attempt to mate with the flower and are held in place by hooks while the pollinium is transferred between insect and flower.

Bradynobaenidae family of hymenopterans

The Bradynobaenidae are a family of wasps similar to the Mutillidae, differing most visibly in the presence, in females, of a suture separating the pronotum from the mesonotum. These species are often found in arid regions. Recent classifications remove two of the five constituent genera, both from the New World, to a separate family Chyphotidae, thus restricting true bradynobaenids to the Old World.

<i>Megacephala</i> Genus of beetles

Megacephala is a genus of beetles in the family Carabidae, containing the following species:

<i>Agenioideus</i> genus of insects

Agenioideus is a genus of spider wasps from the subfamily Pompilinae; the genus occurs in Europe, where 21 species are recorded, eastwards to Japan, in North America, South America, and Australia.

<i>Cyphononyx</i> genus of insects

Cyphononyx is a genus of spider hunting wasps in the family Pompilidae.

<i>Hemipepsis</i> genus of insects

Hemipepsis is a genus of large pepsine spider wasps found throughout the tropics. They are commonly known as tarantula hawks. Hemipepsis wasps are morphologically similar to the related genera Pepsis and Entypus, but distinguishable by the pattern of wing venation. In South Africa 18 plant species from three plant families, the Apocynaceae, Orchidaceae, and Asparagaceae subfamily Scilloideae are pollinated exclusively by Hemipepsis wasps.


The Chyphotidae are a family of wasps similar to the Mutillidae, differing most visibly in the presence, in females, of a suture separating the pronotum from the mesonotum. These species are found primarily in arid regions in the southwestern United States and adjacent regions in Mexico.

<i>Leucospis</i> genus of wasps

Leucospis is a genus of wasps belonging to the family Leucospidae. Most species are brightly coloured with yellow and black patterning and about 2 cm long. They have characteristically enlarged femurs on the hind leg with the lower margin toothed. The wings have a longitudinal fold and the long ovipositor is bent over their backs above the abdomen or metasoma. They are parasitic on wasps and solitary bees that construct cells and provision food for their offspring. The Leucospis larvae live and grow as ectoparasites of the host larvae. Usually, only, one parasite emerges from a single cell. The genus Micrapion from South Africa is very closely related and phylogenetic studies suggest merging of the two genera. The genus Leucospis is found across the world in the tropical regions.

<i>Stizoides</i> genus of insects

Stizoides is a genus of sand wasps in the family Crabronidae. There are at least 30 described species in Stizoides.

<i>Hyptia</i> genus of insects

Hyptia is a genus of ensign wasps in the family Evaniidae. There are at least 50 described species in Hyptia. Most Hyptia can be differentiated from other genera by heavily reduced venation of the forewings, wherein only one closed cell is present.


  1. 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.
  2. Johnson, B.R.; et al. (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.


  1. Debevec, Andrew H.; Cardinal, Sophie; Danforth, Bryan N. (2012). "Identifying the sister group to the bees: a molecular phylogeny of Aculeata with an emphasis on the superfamily Apoidea" (PDF). Zoologica Scripta. 41 (5): 527–535. doi:10.1111/j.1463-6409.2012.00549.x.