MadSci Network: Zoology

Re: What kind of insect looks like a large fly or wasp.

Date: Fri Mar 9 16:54:57 2001
Posted By: Rob Campbell, Ph.D Candidate, Oceanography, University of British Columbia
Area of science: Zoology
ID: 984061190.Zo

Hi Shannon:

It's hard to tell what they could be, based on your description. If they're coming from a mound, they're probably Hymoptera (wasps) or Isoptera (termites). The way to tell termites from wasps is to look at their "waist"- where the abdomen joins the thorax (the thorax is where the legs are attached). If the "waist" is very thin, it's a wasp, if the waist is thicker it's a termite. The way to tell flies from wasps is to look at the wings- wasps and termites have four wings and flies have two (actually flies do have four wings, but one pair is very reduced). You can see a good introduction to the insects here.

Hope that helps!
Rob Campbell, MAD Scientist

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