Friday, August 30, 2019

In Focus: Hymoptera

Spiders are perhaps the most popular insects at present, due to the worldwide release of the movie, Spiderman. Most of us have been dreaming of being bitten by an insect and using its capabilities to be of help to society – as super heroes! When I was a child, bees and wasps running around the garden terrified me.Carrying on, fear for these insects sparked interest in me to study them, specifically about how these insects complete the balance of nature. This large group of inects belong to Hymenopetra, consisting of sawflies, wasps, bees, and ants.As such, the group was given the name referring to the membranous wings of the majority of the insects making up the population. The major role played by this group is that of being pollinators for flowering plants; thus, plants would not be able to reproduce without the help of this insects. All organisms have their own way of protecting themselves. Insects accord such self-protection by its horny or leathery cuticle for defense. Mo reover, the dermal glands of various insects are capable of producing chemical substances that can cause itching to other organisms, birds in particular.For many hymenopterans, the poisons produced are from the plants they feed on. In female hymenopterans, their reproductive system has been modified; being capable of producing toxic proteins. Once injected onto its prey this causes paralysis to the nervous system. Stings are also used by hymenopterans for protecting themselves like that of wasps, bees and ants. These insects are also capable of blending to their environment, making it hard for their enemies to find them. The cells have its moving pigment granules, hence allowing the coloration to occur (Agren and Hallberg, 1996; 443)The chemical communication among Hymenopterans is important in predicting their behavior. Among Hymenopterans who are of the social kind, there are several glands producing volatile secretion. The antennae are the most important body structure in perceiv ing signals. Also their body structures can be used to map out the population, insects having the same antenna structure would belong to the same group, performing a particular function (Felicioli, Romani and Bin, 1998; 140). The chemical defenses and poisons produced do not only serve as protection but as a warning as well. Most hymenopterans are of the social kind.The Dufour gland of Pulvergus rufuscens has been proven to vary as well, depending on the position that the insect has in its society. Queens have a hypertrophied gland with extended lumen and a thin epithelium indicating that it is not active in secretion, while the workers have thicker linings for secretory purposes. Hence, these insects have their status in their own society, doing its particular function as a member of its group (Grasso, et. al, 2004; 152). Hymenopterans particularly the ones belonging to superfamily Proctotrupidea are very small but are considered pests for rice, sugar, jute and cotton.The variety o f these hymenopterans are vast, thus the roles they have in nature are also different. There are some species belonging to the same group, acting as pollinators, serving the plants and man while there are those particularly the Proctotrupoidea, who are pests for man (Bin and Vinson, 1986; 132). Pesticides and other chemicals have been used for toxifying these insects. Hymenopterans, particularly the bees are capable of producing substances that are toxic for humans. The honey they obtained from the nectars of different flowers can be toxic and psychoactive for humans.Honey produced from the nectar of Azalea pontica has alkaloids which are very poisonous for humans but not for bees. The Roman soldiers who ate honey during the time of Pompey the Great became delirious and vomited the honey, causing their easy defeat. Moreover, honey from Andromeda flowers has grayanotoxins which can paralyze the limbs and diaphragm, resulting to death (Mclaren and Rotundo, 1985; 74). The chemical subs tances produced from the body of these insects are for self-protection. If stung by its antenna, one undergoes the process of natural body healing.Antidotes and medicines are not precscribed. The chemical produced by Ichneumon eumerus wasp and Maculinea rebeli butterfly in western Europe has resulted in Myrmica schencki ants being used as pawns. The ants are deceived as its accepts the caterpillar into their colony while the wasp uses its own substances to make the caterpillar as ant’s prey. If these chemicals can be synthesized, it can take the place of toxin used as ant traps (Grasso et. al, 2004; 152). Therapeutic gains from the chemical substances derived from these organisms are yet to be proven.Still, their role as pollinators for flowering plants is the major role they play in maintaining the balance of nature. As for the energy relations of these organisms to humans and the environment, biomass energy from plants is being used by this group to permit pollination. Furt her, the energy given off by these insects to plants is used by man as the latter eats the plant. In addition, as these organisms decay, it gives back the energy to the soil which will be of further use for man (Mclaren and Rotundo, 1985; 75). Though insects are one the major populations existing, the claims of man evolving from these creatures seem not plausible.The genetic traces used by some scientists and researches must be further studied. The chemical processes and the internal features of this group must be further examined to give precise results suggesting its importance to man and the environment. References Agren L. , Hallberg E. (1996) Flagellar sensilla of bumble bee males (Hymenoptera, Apidae, Bombus), Apidologie 27, 433–444. Bin F. , Vinson S. B. (1986) Morphology of the antennal sex-gland in male Trissolcus basalis (Woll. ) (Hymenoptera: Scelionidae), an egg parasitoid of the green stink bug, Nezara viridula(Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), Int. J. Insect Morphol. 15 , 129–138. Felicioli A. , Isidoro N. , Romani R. , Bin F. (1998) Ethological and morphological analysis of behavior in Osmia cornuta Latr. (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae), Insect Soc. Life 2, 137–144. Grasso, D. , Mori,A. , Le Moli, F. , and Johan Billen. (2004). Morpho-functional comparison of the Dufour gland in the female castes of the Amazon ant Polyergus rufescens (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) . Zoomorphology. 124. (3). 149-153. McLaren, J. , and Rotundo, L. (1985). Biology. D. C. Heath and Company. Lexington, Massachusettes. 67-75.

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