The key difference between Scymphyta and Apocrita is that Symphyta is one of the two suborders of order Hymenoptera containing the most primitive members including sawflies and horntails while Apocrita is the second suborder of order Hymenoptera containing most highly evolved members of the order including ants, bees, wasps, braconids, ichneumons, chalcids, nearly all parasitic hymenopterans and few other forms.
Hymenoptera is an order of insects. This order is comprised of beneficial insects, including ants, bees, ichneumons, chalcids, sawflies, wasps, and lesser-known types. They are very useful as pollinators and honey makers. Moreover, some are parasites and work as natural enemies of insect pests. There are two suborders of this order. They are Symphyta and Apocrita. Sawflies and horntails belong to Symphyta while wasps, ants, bees, and most parasitic forms belong to Apocrita.
What is Symphyta?
Symphyta is a suborder of hymenopterans which includes the most primitive members of the order. Sawflies and horntails are the major types of insects belonging to Symphyta. They have a broad junction between thorax and abdomen. Therefore, the adults do not have a “wasp waist”.
Symphyta species are plant feeders. Symphyta forms a paraphyletic group. Species of Symphyta are beneficial as pollinators of flowering plants. Moreover, they are natural enemies of insect pests.
What is Apocrita?
Apocrita is a suborder of Hymenoptera. This suborder includes the most evolved members of this order. The members of Apocrita are ants, bees, wasps, braconids, ichneumons, chalcids, nearly all parasitic hymenopterans and few other forms. Apocrita members feed on other arthropods. The base of the adult abdomen is constricted, and this narrow waist is a diagnostic feature of Apocrita. Most importantly, this constricted waist was an important adaption for the parasitoid lifestyle of the ancestral Apocritan. Moreover, the abdomen is narrowly joined to the thorax.
Adult Apocrita are plant feeders. Some species are parasites. Majority of species are beneficial to humans. Bees are important pollinators of economically important plants. Honeybees produce honey. Many species are parasites of insect pests. However, some species are destructive to crops. Apocrita is further divided into two groups as Parasitica (Terebrantia) and Aculeata.
What are the Similarities Between Symphyta and Apocrita?
- Symphyta and Apocrita are two suborders of the order of Hymenoptera.
- Both include insects which usually have four membranous wings.
- They are beneficial insects as pollinators and as natural enemies of insect pests.
What is the Difference Between Symphyta and Apocrita?
Symphyta is a suborder that includes most primitive hymenopterans while Apocrita is a suborder that includes most advanced hymenopterans. So, this is the key difference between Symphyta and Apocrita. Moreover, Symphyta species have a broad junction between thorax and abdomen while Apocrita species have a narrow junction between the thorax and abdomen. Thus, this is also a major difference between Symphyta and Apocrita. Sawflies and horntails are members of Symphyta while ants, bees, and wasps are members of Apocrita.
Below infographic lists more differences between Symphyta and Apocrita in tabular form for side by side comparison.
Summary – Symphyta vs Apocrita
Symphyta and Apocrita are the two suborders of hymenopterans. Symphyta is comprised of the most primitive members of hymenopterans while Apocrita is comprised of the most advanced members of Hymenoperans. Symphyta members have a broad junction between thorax and abdomen while Apocrita species have a narrow junction between the thorax and abdomen. Thus, this summarizes the difference between Symphyta and Apocrita.
1. “Hymenoptera: Classification & Distribution.” ENT 425 | General Entomology | Resource Library | Compendium [Hymenoptera], Available here.
2. “Apocrita.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., Available here.
1. “Plectroctena sp ants” By Muhammad Mahdi Karim – Own work, GFDL 1.2) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “XN Tenthredo mesomela” By Guido Gerding – Personal photograph taken by Author, URL: Ex :: Natura – Freies Portal für Umweltbildung (Environmental Education) (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia