Hy`me*nop"te*ra (?), n. pl. [NL., fr. Gr. membrane-winged; skin, membrane + wing.] Zool.
An extensive order of insects, including the bees, ants, ichneumons, sawflies, etc.
They have four membranous wings, with few reticulations, and usually with a thickened, dark spot on the front edge of the anterior wings. In most of the species, the tongue, or lingua, is converted into an organ for sucking honey, or other liquid food, and the mandibles are adapted for biting or cutting. In one large division (Aculeata), including the bees, wasps, and ants, the females and workers usually have a sting, which is only a modified ovipositor.
© Webster 1913.