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Species Chalybion californicum - Blue Mud Wasp

black Wasp - Chalybion californicum Blue-black Wasp - Chalybion californicum Unidentified Wasp - Sphecidae? - Chalybion californicum Blue Mud Wasp - Chalybion californicum Blue Mud Wasp - Chalybion californicum wasp - Chalybion californicum ID the ambush bug's dinner? - Chalybion californicum Chalybion taking a black widow - Chalybion californicum - female
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
D. A. Landes, M. S. Obin, A. B. Cady and J. H. Hunt (1987). Seasonal and Latitudinal Variation in Spider Prey of the Mud Dauber Chalybion Californicum (Hymenoptera, Sphecidae). The Journal of Arachnology, 15(2):249-256. (Full Text)
Arnett, p. 595 (1)
Drees, p. 278, fig. 334 (2)
Lutz, 1st edition, plate XCII--"C. caeruleum" (3)
Milne, pp. 842-843 (4)
Powell and Hogue, p. 344, fig. 446 (5)
Swan and Papp, p. 564, fig. 1225 (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.American Insects: A Handbook of the Insects of America North of Mexico
Ross H. Arnett. 2000. CRC Press.
2.A Field Guide to Common Texas Insects
Bastiaan M. Drees, John A. Jackman. 1998. Gulf Publishing.
3.Field Book of Insects of the United States and Canada, Aiming to Answer Common Questions,
Frank Eugene Lutz. 1935. Putnam Pub Group.
4.National Audubon Society Field Guide to Insects and Spiders
Lorus and Margery Milne. 1980. Knopf.
5.California Insects
Jerry A. Powell, Charles L. Hogue. 1989. University of California Press.
6.The Common Insects of North America
Lester A. Swan, Charles S. Papp. 1972. Harper & Row.