›About us ›Introduction ›Collaborators ›Results
›Hymenoptera glossary ›Interactive Keys ›Flash glossary
›Opportunities »HYM Course ›AToL links ›HymATol links
Nexus Illustrator
›Skeletal Taxa ›Nexus Introduction ›Interactive Key ›Image Mode
Recent Updates
›Standard Images ›Taxa Wishlist ›Posters About HymATol

The HYM Course

Punta Cana Ecological Foundation, Biodiversity Center, Punta Cana, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
September 7-14, 2008.

Details of the 2008 Hym Course:
Course Objectives
Course Significance
Background Information
Participant Acceptance Criteria
Primary Instructors
Translation Assistant
Frequently Asked Questions

The second offering of THE HYM COURSE is approaching. This is an eight-day workshop to be presented at the Punta Cana Ecological Foundation, Biodiversity Center, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. The main purpose of the course is to provide participants with knowledge and experience in identifying parasitic Hymenoptera, stinging wasps (aculeates), and sawflies. This course excludes bees and ants as courses already exist that deal with those groups. We will also be presenting information on biology and behavior of these organisms that will be reinforced with formal and informal field work. Techniques commonly used in collecting (passive and active), rearing, preserving, and curating will be presented in a hands-on manner to allow attendees to learn directly by doing. The main text that will be used is Hymenoptera of the World: An Identification Guide to Families, edited by Goulet and Huber, 1993 ($40.00). This book provides well-illustrated keys to all superfamilies, families, and subfamilies in some cases. All recommended texts that will be available are:

  • Hymenoptera of the World: An Identification Guide to Families, edited by Goulet and Huber, 1993 $40.
  • Annotated Keys to the Genera of Nearctic Chalcidoidea, Gibson, G., Huber, J., and J. Woolley (eds.). $30
  • Manual of the New World Genera of the Family Braconidae, Wharton, B., Marsh, P., and M. Sharkey (eds.). $20
  • A PDF of the key portion of the following publication, “Grissell, E. E., and M. E. Schauff. 1990. A handbook of the families of Nearctic Chalcidoidea (Hymenoptera). Entomological Society of Washington (Washington, D.C.) Handbook 1:1-85.”, is available at:
    The electronic version of this key will be used during the course and supplemented by #2 above.
  • Other works focusing at lower taxonomic levels may be available for examination (see course description) at the course.

    We plan to have copies of 1–3 above available for purchase prior to the course through David Wahl at the American Entomological Institute. Please plan to purchase these in advance of the course so that you will be familiar with them.


    THE HYM COURSE is intended to serve conservation biologists, ecologists, graduate students, insect identifiers, museum curators, naturalists, and other biologists whose research, training, or teaching responsibilities require a greater understanding of hymenopteran taxonomy. It emphasizes family-level taxonomy and identification of 11 superfamilies of Hymenoptera from North and Central America as elements of both regions can be collected in Dominican Republic. The general information provided is applicable to the global fauna of stinging wasps and parasitic hymenopterans. Lectures include information on the biologies of these hymenopterans, host preferences, relationships, diagnostic features, etc. A field trip and localized sampling will acquaint participants with collecting and sampling techniques; associated lab work provides instruction on specimen identification, preparation and labeling. Information on equipment/supply vendors, literature, and people resources is also presented.


    The field of hymenopteran taxonomy explores the relationships and identification of wasps, parasitic wasps, and their brethren. Often intertwined in these studies are investigations of behavior, biology, and host interactions. These wasps play an integral role in regulating arthropod populations, pollination ecology and enhancing complexity of ecosystems. This course will enable students to confidently identify families (in some cases subfamilies or genera, where appropriate) of parasitic Hymenoptera, stinging wasps, and sawflies 2) an appreciation for the biological diversity of bees, and 3) sufficient background to learn more about bees and investigate pollination and conservation problems with greater insight.


    This course is, in part, a continuation of the Parasitic Hymenoptera Workshop (PHW) that has been held semi-annually for over 20 years. The first offering of PHW was in 1980 and most recently (Workshop XII) in 2002 at the University of Maryland. The continuation of this course with expanded coverage of the stinging wasps (Aculeata) is designed both to serve a perceived training need and to fulfill goals implicit in the completion of the Hymenoptera Assembling the Tree of Life NSF project (Dr. Sharkey is PI). The Punta Cana Biodiversity Center is centered amid a hotspot of hymenopteran biodiversity in the Caribbean Basin. Many plant communities and ecotones can be sampled within a relatively short time by sampling at different elevations or in different habitats (e.g., coastal vs. montane). We hope to make this an ongoing course, in one form or another, offered biennially.


    This course is open to all interested individuals. Priority will be given to those individuals for whom the course will have significant impact on their research, teaching, or otherwise aid in the accomplishment of duties pertaining to their current work. An entomological background is not required. The HYM course is presented in English (with Spanish translation) and limited to 20 participants.


    Dr. Michael Sharkey
    Department of Entomology
    University of Kentucky
    S-225 Agriculture Science Center North
    Lexington, KY 40546-0091

    Dr. Michael Gates
    USDA-ARS Systematic Entomology Lab
    PO Box 37012
    National Museum of Natural History, NHB 168
    10th & Constitution Ave.
    Washington, DC 20013-7012

    Dr. Matthew Buffington
    USDA-ARS Systematic Entomology Lab
    PO Box 37012
    National Museum of Natural History, NHB 168
    10th & Constitution Ave.
    Washington, DC 20013-7012

    Dr. James Pitts
    Department of Biology
    Utah State University
    Logan, UT 94322

    Dr. Robert Kula
    USDA-ARS Systematic Entomology Lab
    PO Box 37012
    National Museum of Natural History, NHB 168
    10th & Constitution Ave.
    Washington, DC 20013-7012

    Dr. Lubomir Masner
    Canadian National Collection of Insects
    K.W. Neatby Bldg.
    960 Carling Avenue
    Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0C6

    Dr. David Wahl
    American Entomological Institute
    3005 SW 56th Avenue
    Gainesville, FL 32608


    Mr. Jeffrey Sossa-Calvo
    Smithsonian Institution
    National Museum of Natural History, NHB 168
    10th & Constitution Ave.
    Washington, DC 20013-7012


    Tuition for the 8-day HYM COURSE is $700 to be paid by all participants on being informed of their acceptance unless they have been granted a waiver or partial waiver. Tuition covers overhead costs of the workshop and consumable supplies. In addition, all students (whether or not they have received a waiver of tuition) or their home institutions must pay the boarding fees of $280 for this period, covering dormitory room and board. This fee is payable to American Entomological Institute prior to the course, by international money order, check drawn on a US bank, or wire-to-wire transfer. Transportation costs between home and Punta Cana (air) or Biodiversity Center (auto) are to be borne by all participants or their home institutions.


    Application PDF



    Click here to view a slideshow of photos from this years HymCourse! Some of the Presentations from the 2006 Hym Course:
    Introduction to the Hymenoptera: Matthew Buffington
    Introduction to Hymenoptera Morphology: David Wahl
    Hymenoptera Biology: Michael Sharkey
    Aculeata: Lynn Kimsey
    Braconidae: Michael Sharkey
    Chalcidoidea: Michael Gates
    Chrysidoidea: Lynn Kimsey
    Cynipoidea: Matthew Buffington:
    Ichneumonoidea: Michael Sharkey
    Smaller Subfamilies: Michael Gates
    Many other presentations were given using demonstration and discussion.