This mud dauber (a kind of wasp) nest was on the patio table, didn't mean to but I accidentally broke it open when I unknowingly set something on top of it. Mud daubers make their nests out of...wait for it... mud. Shocking, I know. Pretty impressive little pieces of work! They fill their nests with tasty treat spiders so that the offspring have something to chow on when they come into the big wide world. I read somewhere that they are actually pretty picky about what kind of spiders they hunt, preferring colorful ones, such as crab spiders and jumping spiders.
That's what I found in this nest. I think there were five spiders inside, a couple of them were definitely crab spiders. Some kinds of mud daubers dig black widows (or brown widows), which is pretty sweet, but I didn't notice those in the nest. Ah, yes. Take note: the males have no part in making the nest or hunting the spiders, the females are all over it.
They don't kill the spiders, they sting and paralyze them, like a lot of wasps do. They do this so that their larva have something hearty to gnaw on and the prey will last longer. They only lay one egg - you can see that egg on the spider that fell outside of the nest below.
I felt pretty bad when I busted this nest open, hopefully she rebuilt quickly and had a successful spider hunt afterwards. I put the 'top' back on afterwards, so you can see what it's supposed to look like...Macro Monday Our World Tuesday Nature Notes