Menoptera were humanoid in general appearance. They had Human-like faces, but with large black eyes, black and white patterns and antennae. They were covered in bands of black skin and white fur, which covered their bodies. Meoptera had four large wings, which allowed them to fly. If removed, the wings would quickly grow back, but the Menoptera would be unable to fly again.
The Menoptera had weapons such as the Isop-tope device, a living cell destructor, and also a fleet of spacecraft.
The Menoptera worshipped the Gods of Light, which they did so in the temples which they carved into the mountains and plateaus. They also used these caverns to hold the bodies of their dead.
The Menoptera were a peaceful species living on the planet Vortis. They led simple lives, and the most work they did was carving out the tombs for their dead. This all changed when the Animus invaded the planet via mind control of the Zarbi. They were forced to flee to Vortis' new moon, Pictos.
Many centuries later, the Menoptera were able to develop the Isop-tope device, which they believed would be able to stop the Animus. They spent a scouting group to investigate, with a later force to attack via the Sayo Plateau. Unfortunately, the scouts were overpowered and either captured or killed. Likewise, the spearhead of the attack was expected and most of the forces were decimated. Eventually, they warred against the Animus and the Zarbi with the Doctor, Barbara Wright, Ian Chesterton and Vicki, eventually defeating the Animus, leaving the inhabitants of Vortis to resolve their differences peacefully.
Though the Menoptera were able to come to peace with the Zarbi, eventually the Zarbi Supremo evolved and took over the Zarbi. Using advanced technology, it was able to move Vortis to an orbit around Jupiter. The Menoptera had caught wind of this, and took measures against this. They built up a force of spaceships in order to fight against the Zarbi. They also created Zarbi-like suits, allowing them to infiltrate the hives. Unfortunately, the agents were captured and controlled, though they refused to help the Zarbi take over Earth. Eventually, with the help of the Doctor and a team of Earth scientist, the Zarbi Supremo was killed and the Zarbi were returned to their normal state.
The Menoptera and the Zarbi worked peacefully together for many years, until the Zarbi apparently developed flight and deadly stingers, which they used to attack Menoptera. The Doctor, John and Gillian arrived and, investigating, discovered that the flying Zarbi were actually Zarbi-shaped vehicles piloted by Skirkons, who had come to Vortis for its supplies of Galvinium X, and had enslaved the real Zarbi to oversee their Menopteran slaves. The Doctor and his grandchildren freed the Menoptera and defeated the Skirkons, who died when their base was destroyed.
Several years later, Vortis ended up in the nearby Rhumos system, home of a warring race, so the planet becomes disputed territory, the Menoptra being made slaves, a seed of the Animus surviving and building up a slave force from the Rhumon dead not helping. Eventually, the Doctor, Jamie McCrimmon and Victoria Waterfield helped the Menoptra defeat the Animus again, and made the Rhumons declare Vortis neutral ground.