Female Black and Yellow Mud Dauber Wasps Making Cells & Laying Eggs
If you look closely at the ground directly in front of this female Black and Yellow Mud Dauber wasp you will see the clump of mud that she has collected and rolled into a ball with her mandibles. This lump of mud will be carried back to the nest site in the wasp’s mandibles, and then used as building material to mold a cell. After making the mud cell, the wasp then goes and locates spiders, stings them (paralyzing but not killing them) and brings them back to the cell, into which she packs them. When the cell is sufficiently stuffed with spiders, she lays an egg and seals the cell with more mud. She makes and fills several of these cells and typically covers all of them together with a final layer of mud. When the wasp egg in each cell hatches, the larva has living spiders to eat that haven’t decomposed, due to the fact that they are not dead. Eventually the larval wasp pupates and the adult wasp chews its way out of the cell.
Naturally Curious is supported by donations. If you choose to contribute, you may go to http://www.naturallycuriouswithmaryholland.wordpress.com and click on the yellow “donate” button.