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pipe organ mud dauber (Trypoxylon Politum) - Trypoxylon politum - female

pipe organ mud dauber (Trypoxylon Politum) - Trypoxylon politum - Female
East, Texas, USA
September 1, 2004
edit: thanks to Eric for ID

Pipe organ mud dauber
Cool! This is an adult pipe organ mud dauber, Trypoxylon politum! We need images of this species for the field guide by the way. If it had (has?) a hook on the underside of the abdomen, it is a male, if not, then a female. The hook is amazingly obvious. Males guard the nests of their mates while they are under construction and being provisioned. The nests resemble a pipe organ, as opposed to the clod-like nests of Sceliphron caementarium. Same family (Sphecidae), different subfamily:-)

Similar mating pair I've been watching....
There's a male and female I've been watching in College Station, TX that are using a deep hole in a concrete wall as a nesting site. The female (I think) goes off and gets more mud and the male stays at the hole entrance while she's gone. One characteristic I've noticed, on the presumed male, is that his face is white or silver. I want to get closer but I'm not sure he'd like that too much! There's another wasp that may also fit this description, "grass-carrying" wasp which has distinctive hairs also. I'm trying to get close enough to see if there's hairs, but along with the fear of being stung, I work in the chemistry department down here and often get strange looks from people!

Update on the mating pair
When I was leaving last night, I saw that the presumed female was sealing up the opening with mud. I'm almost 100% certain she sealed the male in there because I heard a muffled buzz, and it wasn't coming from her! Poor guy! Is this normal behavior?

Hey thanks for the ID...sorry about the side shot's poor quality; this was (like the mason wasp submissions) a direct scan from a captive wasp. It was very reluctant to stay still for more than half a minute and I was pretty lucky for it to sit on a side of the container so close to the screen to get a half-decent side shot. This was a very loud and feisty wasp (and like all of the other wasps I catch and scan I released it afterwards). Heh.
Hmm...I've never seen these around here before, or any nests which fall under the description you might've been blown in from a recent hurricane, but I dunno. I found it during a very dank and cloudy afternoon, and very few wasps were seen around.
I didn't see any distinct hook under its abdomen when I caught it, so I'm pretty certain it's a female.
Once again, thanks for the ID!

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