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Mud tubes

Mud tubes
Oak Ridge, Anderson County, Tennessee, USA
June 11, 2009
Size: 1 inch
I found these little mud tubes under a board in a field during science camp. Some of the tubes were open, others were closed. It appeared that they are big enough for only one larva / pupa. I'm assuming they are some type of wasp nest, similar to a mud dauber. I didn't see any adults. Thanks for any help!

Moved from Spider Wasps.

Spider wasps
Hi Kris,
These are probably nests of spider wasps in the tribe Auplopodini--either Auplopus or Phanagenia. Each should contain one egg/larva/pupa and one spider. It would be great if you were able to hang onto some of these to see what emerges, since hardly any of the images on BugGuide have been positively linked to spider wasps. Potentially similar mud nests, of which I've never seen photos, could be made by certain potter wasps (stocked with caterpillars) or mason bees (stocked with a paste of pollen and nectar), but I'm reasonably sure these are neither of those.

Thanks, Charlie!
I'll try to collect one tomorrow when I take the kids to the field. I'll have to send in a photo of the wasp since I wouldn't know if I had a spider wasp or not when it emerged. One of the Oak Ridge National Lab researchers has installed mason bee nest tubes out there where we have camp. Some of the paper tubes have been filled in with mud, but I haven't seen any wasps. I've seen the little round potter wasp nests, but these longer ones were new to me. I've been working at this science camp for 20 years and I still see new critters every year! Isn't nature great!?
Speaking of weird critters, how is your ID book coming along? I'll be anxious to see it!

A copyeditor has gone over the whole thing and I'm currently in the process of rereading and editing. A slow process, but apparently I'm going to be done with it in ten days (my deadline)! Hard to find the time while I'm busy doing rare plant surveys, but I've got a couple of good rainy days ahead of me.

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