Vespoidea is a superfamily of wasps in the order Hymenoptera, although older taxonomic schemes may vary in this categorization, particularly in whether to recognize the superfamilies Scolioidea (for scoliid wasps) or Formicoidea (for ants). Vespoidea includes wasps with a large variety of lifestyles: eusocial, social, and solitary habits, predators, scavengers, parasitoids, and some herbivores.
|Dolichovespula maculata, bald-faced hornet|
Vespoid wasp females have antennae with 10 flagellomeres, while males have 11 flagellomeres. The edge of the pronotum reaches or passes the tegula. Many species display some level of sexual dimorphism. Most species have fully developed wings, but some have reduced or absent wings in one or both sexes. As in other Aculeata, only the females are ever capable of stinging.
Phylogenetics and taxonomyEdit
Research based on four nuclear genes (elongation factor-1α F2 copy, long-wavelength rhodopsin, wingless and the D2–D3 regions of 28S ribosomal RNA—2700 bp in total) suggests the historical view of family relationships need to be changed, with Rhopalosomatidae as a sister group of the Vespidae and the clade Rhopalosomatidae + Vespidae as sister to all other classical vespoids and apoids. In a study by Pilgrims, von Dohlen, and Pitts in 2008, the superfamily Apoidea was found to nest within the Vespoidea, suggesting the dismantling of Vespoidea (sensu lato) into many smaller superfamilies: Formicoidea, Scolioidea, Tiphioidea, Thynnoidea, and Pompiloidea in addition to a much more narrowly defined Vespoidea (restricted to Rhopalosomatidae and Vespidae). Their research also found families Mutillidae, Tiphiidae, and Bradynobaenidae to be paraphyletic.
A later study by Johnson in 2013 confirmed the need for revision of high-level relationships, and the pattern of sister-group relationships within the putative Vespoidea largely matched the same basic pattern as the 2008 study. This study noted a paraphyletic Bradynobaenidae and Tiphiidae.
The extinct family of Armaniidae also was formerly considered to be a group of "ant-like wasps" and was also filed under Vespoidea. However, additional work by Borysenko in 2017 found these species to be basal members of Formicidae, placing three genera under Sphecomyrminae and considering the rest incertae sedis. 
Families retained in VespoideaEdit
- Rhopalosomatidae – rhopalosomatid wasps
- Vespidae – paper wasps, hornets, potter wasps, yellow jackets, and relatives
Families represented by FormicoideaEdit
- Formicidae - ants
Families represented by PompiloideaEdit
- Mutillidae – velvet ants/velvet wasps
- Myrmosidae – myrmosid wasps
- Pompilidae – spider wasps
- Sapygidae – sapygid wasps
Families represented by ScolioideaEdit
- Scoliidae – scoliid wasps
Families represented by TiphioideaEdit
- Bradynobaenidae – bradynobaenid wasps
- Sierolomorphidae – sierolomorphid wasps
- Tiphiidae – tiphiid wasps
Families represented by ThynnoideaEdit
- Hymenoptera of the world: an identification guide to families. Goulet, Henri., Huber, John T. (John Theodore), Canada. Agriculture Canada. Research Branch. Ottawa, Ont.: Centre for Land and Biological Resources Research. 1993. ISBN 978-0660149332. OCLC 28024976.CS1 maint: others (link)
- 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.
- 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.
- LaPolla, J.S.; Dlussky, G.M.; Perrichot, V. (2013). "Ants and the Fossil Record". Annual Review of Entomology. 58: 609–630. doi:10.1146/annurev-ento-120710-100600. PMID 23317048.
- Grimaldi, D.; Agosti, D.; Carpenter, J. M. (1997). "New and rediscovered primitive ants (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) in Cretaceous amber from New Jersey, and their phylogenetic relationships" (PDF). American Museum Novitates. 3208: 1–43.[permanent dead link]
- Borysenko, L.H. (2017). "Description of a new genus of primitive ants from Canadian amber, with the study of relationships between stem- and crown-group ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)". Insecta Mundi. 570: 1–57.
- Media related to Vespoidea at Wikimedia Commons