Sunday, June 2, 2013

Paralysed and waiting

We accidentally broke open a mud-dauber wasp nest under our house while moving some equipment. The mud cells were packed with paralysed jumping spiders of multiple species. The culprit was a slender orange wasp belonging to the genus Sceliphron obviously specialising in spiders from the family Salticidae. 

The adult female wasp captures and paralyses the spiders and then packs them into the mud cells. She then lays an egg before closing the cell over with mud. The spiders are paralysed, but not killed so that they do not rot and the wasp larva can consume them over time. I rearranged the contents of one cell for this photograph. A wasp larva is in the centre in the process of consuming a spider.


  1. Hello this is Year 2 from Pelaw Main Public School. Our class have a few questions for you.
    1. Were you stung by the spider or the wasps?
    2. We wonder how long until the baby wasps come out?
    3. How many types of wasps have you seen?

    1. Hi Emily and Year 2,

      Sorry it has taken me a while to respond.

      1. No I wasn't stung by the wasp. It was flying nearby around but wasn't aggressive. The spiders were paralysed so could not bite even if they wanted.

      2. I'm not 100% sure how long the wasp would take to pupate, but probably a month or two.

      3. There are hundreds of species of wasps up here in the tropics of northern Australia. They included the mud daubers and spider hunters, paper wasps, all sorts of other parasitic wasps and really colourful species such as Cuckoo wasps. Many species come inside the house, but we never have any problems with them.

      We post lots of photos on our Facebook page if you are interested in seeing more.!/Minibeast.Wildlife