Sunday, November 4, 2012

Half-dead spiders on the table

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

16 comments:

GrandmaK said...

Wonderful pictures but a sad story...Have a grand week! Cathy

Barb said...

You show me what I'd never see or experience myself. Thanks for the science lesson!

Lavender Cottage said...

It is a shame that the nest accidentally got broken but how interesting for us to see inside.
Thanks for sharing.

Jen said...

I have mixed feelings about this. Spiders are beneficial. So are the mud daubers, I think. (I always called them dirt daubers.) Having either of them on the patio would creep me out. I might have to smash them on purpose.

Great photos, though.

January said...

sad yet lovely photos.. :)

Dropping by from Macro Monday…A Ladybug?

Kateri said...

We have mud daubers, but I have never seen the inside of their nest. Quite interesting!

MakingMoments said...

How intresting, great photos :)

Emily S said...

How interesting, I've never heard of them!

Pat said...

Interesting info. I'll be careful to not break open one of those nests!

Sylvia K said...

Such interesting information and great photos, Jill! Thanks for sharing this!!

ArtMuseDog and Carol said...

Something creative out of something negative ~ Great shots ~ (A Creative Harbor) ^_^

KT said...

You have some of the most interesting posts...cool pictures!

Gunilla B├Ąck said...

Interesting photos!

Rambling Woods said...

I watched a mud dauber make her nest this summer...cool to see what is inside....Michelle

Kenneth said...

Interesting post and pics!

Ekaterina Trayt said...

So sad! It seems so awful that spiders are not even dead, but paralyzed. Good that they don't feel that much in their tiny hearts...