Sunday, April 12, 2009

Organ Pipe Mud Dauber

I've been cleaning out a shed and have taken down a number of old mud dauber nests. They don't cause any harm so normally I'd leave the nests alone but I'm trying to clean out the shed to turn it into a chicken coop. The nests have always been interesting to me because of their shape, and they are even more so now that I have seen what they look like from the back.

From the front:

These are called pipe organ mud daubers because of the shape of their nests. There are other types of mud daubers, I have learned, and their nests do not look like this. (This picture is actually not from the shed because I'd already knocked them down. We have the nests all over the place so I was able to find another one to photograph for this post.)

From the back:

The individual cases look like black capsules.

Below is what the capsules look like after they have been released from the nest. Okay, they looked like black capsules once I got over the initial, "Where did the scat come from? It wasn't here a minute ago" reaction, lol. I'm breaking it down and changing the order of the pics for this post. One minute the nests were on the wall, the next they were on the ground and I saw what looked like scat. How had I not noticed that in the shed before now? Then I looked for the source of the scat/capsules and slowly broke open another nest. Understanding dawned.

The unbroken one must not have hatched. Pretty neat, huh?

It's fun not having to go to a museum to learn this kind of information. Science 101 in my backyard!


mountainmelody said...

Weird! I have these too, but had no idea they looked like this inside. Thanks for the science lesson! :)

Sonya said...