Difference between Symphyta and Apocrita


Symphyta includes sawflies and horntails or wood wasps. These are primitive insects. They have a broad waist, and the females have a well developed saw-like ovipositor. Most of them are phytophagous and can cause destruction to food crops. The horntails are non-social insects that can pierce wood.


Apocrita is a sub-order under Hymenoptera that includes ants, bees and wasps. These insects are characterised by a ‘wasp-like waist’ between the segments of their abdomen. This narrow waist is a significant adaptation that allows free movement of the female’s ovipositor.


Most advanced hymenopterans like bees, ants and wasps have a good social organization. They have a proper division of labour and cooperative caring for broods. They have divisions, such as soldiers, reproducers, workers, etc. This helps in the better survival of the organism.

Difference between Symphyta and Apocrita



They include primitive insects such as horntails and sawflies.

They include evolved insects like wasps, bees and ants.

Their abdomen and thorax are joined by a broad structure.

Their abdomen and thorax are joined by a ‘narrow-waist’.

Most of them have Cenchrus (except Cephidae) to hold their wings when they are at rest. It is found at the base of the scutellum.

Cenchrus is absent in Apocrita.

Their ovipositor is ‘saw-like’ (sawflies). This helps them to cut through the plant and lay their eggs.

Their ovipositor is modified into a stinger. Stingers are often associated with a venom gland.

Frequently Asked Questions


What is Hymenoptera?

Hymenoptera is the largest insect order. Most of the females have an ovipositor. This helps them to insert eggs even in inaccessible places. Also, the most significant feature is that the hindwings and forewings are connected by a series of hooks. Ants, hornets, wasps, bees and sawflies come under this order.

What is a parasitoid?

Parasitoids are organisms that spend their larval stage in a host. Some kill their host, whereas others do not. Thus, they can be used as biological pest control agents. They lay eggs and kill hosts such as beetles, caterpillars, etc. Most parasitoids are found in the order Hymenoptera. Example – Ichneumon wasps.


What are woodwasps?

Woodwasps are primitive insects belonging to the sub-order Symphyta. Horntails or woodwasps are wood borers. Their larvae can bore the wood and stay there for years. They cause serious damage to timber and fine woods.

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