Sunday, September 11, 2022

Artistic Wasp Nests


See the little pot-shaped thing attached to the webbing of my garden chair? It was made by a mason wasp. Also called mud pot wasps and potter wasps, this group builds these little pots from soil and chewed plant material. Nice result, right?

The mother wasp stocks the pot with a sting-paralyzed insect to serve as food, lays an egg in the chamber, and seals the pot shut. The egg hatches into a larva that eats the food and then eventually digs it way out of the pot. Click to enlarge. And it's not the only cool wasp nest I found this week...

Behold the nest of an organ pipe mud-dauber wasp. This set of tubes is about 5 inches across. I found it in the eaves of a gazebo in a park where I was picnicking. Female organ pipe mud-daubers build these multi-chambered tubes, provision each with a sting-paralyzed spider, and then lay an egg and seal the chamber. Male organ pipe mud-dauber wasps stay around the nest to guard. That's a rare instance of parental care in insects. So... artistic creations and parental care. What's next, wasps?

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