Monday, June 1, 2009


Surprisingly, the weather in San Diego has been pretty chilly and foggy lately, precluding any insect hunts. Since it has been some time since I posted, due to a lack of new material, I am pulling a few more favorites out of the boxes. Today, the spotlight is on members of family Sphecidae, one of the first few of the order Hymenoptera that I caught. The current families Sphecidae, Crabronidae, and Ampulicidae were once all grouped in the family Sphecidae, but have been separated. The family Sphecidae now contains "thread-waisted wasps," so named for their long slender petiole (first abdominal segment in Hymenoptera). Most are 25mm or more long.

Hymenoptera; Apoidea; Sphecidae (all-black wasp)

Hymenoptera; Apoidea; Sphecidae; Sceliphron caementarium (black and yellow wasp)
Common Name: Black and Yellow Mud Dauber

The Black and Yellow Mud Dauber is a very common member. Mud daubers construct nests of mud and provision them with spiders. The nests usually contain many cells, each about as long as the wasp, placed side by side. They are commonly found on ceilings or walls of old buildings. The two most common mud daubers are S. caementarium and C. californium, the latter being metallic blue.

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