Organ Pipe Mud Dauber

While at Dixon a few weeks ago, I decided to collect a mud dauber nest/egg casing. It is a long bodied black wasp that is non-aggressive unless molested. Good to know right 😉 The scientific name is Trypoxylon politum. It was named in 1773. Politum comes from Latin meaning polished or smooth. Would one of the mud pipes come off? Of course out came my knife to give it a go. Now I hoped it would come off easy. Furthermore, would it break into a million pieces?

This was not the exact one I tried to peel off the rock. A couple of these have holes in the mud. I do not know if this is where a wasp has emerged or had it been eaten by another critter. Wikipedia says the holes could be the wasp. However, titmice make similar holes to feed on the larva. The wasp feeds on three genera of spiders in different families. All three genera are orb-weaver types.

The two columns came off rather easily which was a pleasant surprise. And on the first try! To illustrate the size, marks on the ruler are millimeters.

Here is the underside that was attached to the rock. So you can see the cocoons now!

Then cocoon was freed from the mud.

Next I completely removed it from the cocoon!

It was alive! So I believe the head is at the bottom. They will safely stay in a jar for the winter. Hopefully they will emerge this spring!

Now I will see if this one continues to develop outside of the cocoon. FYI, this larva still looks viable in my jar.

Everyone stay warm!

Keep looking!

The more you know, the more you see and the more you see, the more you know.


  1. Cant believe the larva is living outside its home. Sure hope it makes it. Interesting experiment. Love those mud nests.

  2. I’ve always been curious about this. Did you find provisioned spiders in the tube? Is that what you’re feeding the larva? Or is the larva capable of eating yet? So many questions!

    1. No spiders in this one I found. I did not know to look for one, but I did not see one either. Maybe it had already eaten it. And I did not know about the provisional spider until you mentioned it. Then I looked up the life cycle of the mud dauber and saw what you were talking about. Cool! Thanks!

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