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Sphecidae

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Overview 
Adult sphecids ( mud-dauber wasps) feed on nectar or honeydew, while females prey on a range of insect groups as well as spiders with which they provision their nests. Sceliphrini provision their nests with various spiders (Araneae). The large orange and black common mud-dauber (Sceliphron laetum), may be seen at flowers feeding on nectar or buzzing loudly around trees and buildings. A single female builds a multi-tiered nest of many cells covered in extra layers of mud in sheltered places such as rock overhangs or piles, tree trunks or buildings. This wasp can sometimes be seen collecting mud at the edges of streams or dams. As the wasp spreads mud to build the nest it vibrates and the vibrations produced help to distribute the mud evenly. The female stings and paralyses up to 20 spiders that are placed in cells inside the nest. An egg is then laid in each cell and the developing larva feeds on the paralysed spiders. The metallic blue Chalybion bengalense found in northern Australia nests in pre-existing cavities. Ammophilini prey on lepidoperan (moth and butterfly) larvae in soil, whereas Sphecini are predators of Orthoptera (grasshoppers and crickets).


Ammophila sp.
 
Sceliphron laetum
 

Sphecidae sp.
 


 

 

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