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Insects and other arthropods

Black and yellow mud dauber

English
Sceliphron caementarium

Tabs group

Description

These wasps are black with yellow spots. They have a narrow waist (pedicel) about the same length as the rest of the abdomen. They range in total length from 24 to 28 mm. 

Life cycle

After mating, the female builds a mud nest in the form of several tubular date-sized cells. Each cell will hold a single larva. Once a cell is ready, the female goes hunting and fills it with enough spiders to feed the larva until it metamorphoses. A cell usually contains 6 to 15 spiders, but sometimes as many as 40. Live prey are paralyzed, to ensure a fresh food supply. The female lays an egg on one of the spiders and then seals the cell with mud. She continues building the nest until it contains about 25 cells.

The larvae grow for several weeks before pupating inside their cells, where they overwinter. The adults emerge from their cells the following spring.

Geographic distribution

 Black and yellow mud daubers are found from southern Canada to Central America and the Caribbean. This species has been accidentally introduced in a number of European countries and Australia and on a number of Pacific islands.

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