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Anatomy of the Honey Bee

worm-ancestor of insects, drawn from an original by H.A Dade The worm-ancestor of insects is a hypothetical, diagrammatic being that does not actually exist. It is shown here as a tool to help us understand the development of the bee's anatomy through the various stages of it's life.

Insects are descended from worm-like animals and are based on a system of segments, the honey bee is an insect and our knowledge of it's make up is mainly derived from comparative anatomy and embryology. The stages in development have comparisons with other insects. The buds shown on most segments are derived from the paired organs of worms that become bristles in our common earthworm.

The segments form three basic groups and are numbered as they occur in the adult worker:-

H1 to H6 form the head.

T1 to T3 form the thorax.

A1 To A10 are the abdomen, but with two exceptions... A1 becomes the propodeum (the constricted waist), which in some other insects is considered part of the thorax. The two segments coloured grey in the diagram only exist for a short while during the development of the egg and disappear before the egg hatches into a larva.

The A8 and A9 segments are small and A8 folds inside out into A9, becoming internal to A7, with A10 shrinking to become a conical cup surrounding the anus.

We know that the sting is a modified ovipositor as it develops from the same initial structures in bees as in other Hymenoptera.

Some features in overall colony structure have a grounding in the segmented structure of worms and string like colonies of some simpler life forms.

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Originated... 21-23 Aug 2002, Revised... dd month 2002