Iridescent Bees, Wasps, Ants and Sawflies:
Structural colouration in the Hymenoptera
by Victoria L. Welch and Jean-Pol Vigneron
This is a technical book, aimed predominantly at scientists researching animal colouration
Structural colours (those arising from "the selective reflectance of incident light by the physical nature of a structure") are widely distributed in nature; examples have been described in single celled diatoms, seaweed, comb-jellyfish, limpets, butterflies, beetles, fish, lizards, birds and mammals, to give just a few. Surprisingly, however, structural colouration in the hymenoptera (bees, ants, wasps, sawflies and relatives) has been almost entirely overlooked, leaving a large gap in the literature.
In this scientific book, Dr. Victoria L Welch and Prof. Jean-Pol Vigneron review structural colouration in the hymenoptera, revealing that it is both abundant and widely distributed. They describe 4 broad types of structural colouration in the hymenoptera, before noting taxonomic clustering of structurally coloured species. (Examples are particularly numerous in the Cuckoo wasps (Chrysidoidea), Chalcid wasps (Chalcidoidea), carpenter bees (Xylocopini), Halicitadae, Sphecid wasps (Sphecidae), Cockroach wasps (Ampulicidae), Tiphiid wasps (Tiphiidae), Spider wasps (Pompilidae) and Scoliid wasp (Scoliidae)). Welch and Vigneron document the presence of structural colours in species of Ant (Formicidae), sawfly and Ichneumon fly (Ichneumonoidea) and the optical effects encountered in the hymenoptera are reviewed. These include hue range, angular variation in wavelength, intensity of reflection and textural effects. This book also considers the biological, physical (mechanical) and bioassembly and evolutionary contexts and implications of the data presented.