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Species Chalybion californicum - Blue Mud Wasp

Blue mud dauber wasps - Chalybion californicum Mud Dauber or Cricket Hunter - Chalybion californicum Black Wasp - Chalybion californicum Iridescent bluish greenish spider wasp (?) - Chalybion californicum - female Chalybion californicum Blue Wasp in Shed - Chalybion californicum Sphecidae - Chalybion californicum 6015791 TW Wasp - Chalybion californicum
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Hymenoptera (Ants, Bees, Wasps and Sawflies)
No Taxon (Aculeata - Ants, Bees and Stinging Wasps)
No Taxon (Apoid Wasps (Apoidea)- traditional Sphecidae)
Family Sphecidae (Thread-waisted Wasps)
Subfamily Sceliphrinae
Tribe Sceliphrini
Genus Chalybion (Blue Mud Wasps)
Species californicum (Blue Mud Wasp)
Other Common Names
Blue Mud-dauber
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Chalybion californicum (Saussure)
Size
10-23 mm
Identification
A large, active, blue-black wasp with irridescent blue wings. Frequents flowers for nectar and buildings for nest sites. Compare "Steel-Blue Cricket Hunter", (or "Blue Mud Dauber"), Chlorion aerarium, which preys on crickets. This is about the same size as Chalybion, and is said to have a longer pedicel (narrow waist between thorax and abdomen). The body of Chalybion looks much more hairy, and more steely-blue, based on specimen photos.
Range
Widespread in North America
Habitat
Fields with flowers, near buildings.
Season
April-October in North Carolina
Food
Adults take nectar. Larvae feed on spiders.
Life Cycle
Females construct mud nests in sheltered areas, often under the eaves of buildings, and provision them with spiders. Sometimes refurbishes the nests of other mud-daubers, such as Sceliphron.
Remarks
Images of males and females here
Print References
Lutz, 1st edition, plate XCII--"C. caeruleum" (1)
Drees, p. 278, fig. 334 (2)
Powell and Hogue, p. 344, fig. 446 (3)
Milne, pp. 842-843 (4)
Swan and Papp, p. 564, fig. 1225 (5)
Arnett, p. 595 (6)
Internet References
Insects of Cedar Creek--photo, Sphecidae page--describes life history briefly.
Univ. of Michigan--species account
Cirrus Digital Imaging--page on mud daubers
Univ. of Tennessee--page on mud daubers
DiscoverLife (photos, description, geographic distribution, natural history)
Works Cited
1.Field Book of Insects of the United States and Canada, Aiming to Answer Common Questions,
Frank Eugene Lutz. 1935. Putnam Pub Group.
2.A Field Guide to Common Texas Insects
Bastiaan M. Drees, John A. Jackman. 1998. Gulf Publishing.
3.California Insects
Jerry A. Powell, Charles L. Hogue. 1989. University of California Press.
4.National Audubon Society Field Guide to Insects and Spiders
Lorus and Margery Milne. 1980. Knopf.
5.The Common Insects of North America
Lester A. Swan, Charles S. Papp. 1972. Harper & Row.
6.American Insects: A Handbook of the Insects of America North of Mexico
Ross H. Arnett. 2000. CRC Press.