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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Systematic Entomology Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #279137

Research Project: Systematics of Parasitic and Herbivorous Wasps of Agricultural Importance

Location: Systematic Entomology Laboratory

Title: A hymenopterist’s guide to the Hymenoptera Anatomy Ontology: utility, clarification, and future directions

item Seltmann, K.
item Yoder, M.
item Miko, I.
item Forshage, M.
item Bertone, M.
item Agosti, D.
item Austin, A.
item Balhoff, J.
item Borowiec, M.
item Brady, S.
item Broad, G.
item Brothers, D.
item Burks, R.
item Buffington, Matthew
item Campbell, H.
item Dew, K.
item Ernst, A.
item Fernandez-triana, J.
item Gates, Michael
item Gibson, G.a.
item Jennings, J.
item Johnson, N.
item Karlsson, D.
item Kawada, R.
item Krogmann, L.
item Mullins, P.
item Ohl, M.
item Rasmussen, C.
item Ronquist, F.
item Schulmeister, S.
item Sharkey, M.
item Talamas, E.
item Vihelmsen, L.
item Ward, P.
item Wharton, R.
item Deans, A.
item Kula, Robert

Submitted to: Journal of Hymenoptera Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/18/2012
Publication Date: 5/31/2012
Publication URL:
Citation: Seltmann, K.C., Yoder, M.J., Miko, I., Forshage, M., Bertone, M.A., Agosti, D., Austin, A.D., Balhoff, J.P., Borowiec, M.L., Brady, S.J., Broad, G.R., Brothers, D.J., Burks, R.A., Buffington, M.L., Campbell, H.M., Dew, K.J., Ernst, A.F., Fernandez-Triana, J.L., Gates, M.W., Gibson, G.P., Jennings, J.T., Johnson, N.F., Karlsson, D., Kawada, R., Krogmann, L., Mullins, P.L., Ohl, M., Rasmussen, C., Ronquist, F., Schulmeister, S., Sharkey, M.J., Talamas, E., Vihelmsen, L., Ward, P.S., Wharton, R.A., Deans, A.R., Kula, R.R. 2012. A hymenopterist’s guide to the Hymenoptera Anatomy Ontology: utility, clarification, and future directions. Journal of Hymenoptera Research. 27:67-88.

Interpretive Summary: The bees, wasps, and their relatives are amongst the most species diverse of insect groups. Scientific papers that focus on these insects often disagree on terminology used to describe body parts and anatomy. This paper draws together the authorities that specialize on taxonomy of bees and wasps to agree upon a system used to describe anatomical parts, thereby reducing confusion and improving communication amongst scientists. The users of this paper include other researchers in bees and wasps, as well as extension agents, biological control researchers, and port identifiers of invasive species.

Technical Abstract: Hymenoptera exhibit an incredible diversity of phenotypes, the result of ~240 million years of evolution and the primary subject of more than 250 years of research. Here we describe the history, development, and utility of the Hymenoptera Anatomy Ontology (HAO) and its associated applications. These resources are designed to facilitate accessible and extensible research on hymenopteran phenotypes. Conceptually, we discuss the roles of homology, “preferred terms”, and “structural equivalency”, with respect to the HAO. We also outline the use of Universal Resource Identifiers (URIs) and posit that they are a key element necessary for increasing the objectivity and repeatability of science that references hymenopteran anatomy. Pragmatically, we detail a mechanism (the “URI table”) by which authors can use URIs to link their published text to the HAO, and we describe an associated tool (the “Analyzer”) to derive these tables. These tools, and others, are available through the HAO Portal website ( We conclude by discussing the future of the HAO with respect to digital publication, cross-taxon ontology alignment, the advent of semantic phenotypes, and community-based curation.