Black and Yellow Mud Dauber
WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY – ENCHANTED FOREST PARK, FL
This is a photograhy of a Black and Yellow Mud Dauber captured in North Miami, Florida’s Enchanted Forest Park. The subject was photographed using a Nikon D90 with a Nikkor 60mm lens, a Tamron 2x teleconver and macro light ring.
Black and Yellow Mud Dauber is a common name for the sphecid wasp species Sceliphron caementarium. They are solitary insects that build nests out of mud in sheltered locations, frequently on man-made structures such as bridges, barns, open porches or under the eaves of houses. These nests are not aggressively defended, and stings are rare.
The black and yellow mud dauber’s nest comprises a series of cylindrical cells that are plastered over to form a smooth nest that may attain nearly the size of a human fist. After building a cell, the female wasp captures several spiders. The captured prey are stung and paralyzed before being placed in the nest, and then a single egg is deposited on the prey within each cell. The wasp then seals the cell with mud. After finishing a series of cells, she leaves and does not return. Eventually, the hatching larva will eat the prey and emerge from the nest. A common species of cuckoo wasp, Chrysis angolensis, is frequently a cleptoparasite in Sceliphron nests, and is only one of many different insects that parasitize these mud daubers.
There are some 30 other species of Sceliphron that occur throughout the world, though in appearance and habits they are quite similar to S. caementarium. S. caementarium is widespread in Canada, the United States, Central America, South Africa and the West Indies, and has been introduced to many Pacific Islands (including Australia, Hawaii and Japan), Peru and Europe, where it has become established in the western Mediterranean Basin.