Black Mud-dauber Wasps

Sceliphron madraspatanum

Sceliphron madraspatanum is a species of mud dauber wasp within the family Sphecidae. Mud daubers are known for their solitary lifestyle, unlike the more social wasps such as those in the Vespidae family. They are notable for their nest-building behavior, using mud to construct tube-like nests to house their eggs and feed their larvae. Sceliphron madraspatanum, like other mud daubers, is recognizable by its elongated body, typically with a narrow “waist” between the thorax and abdomen. They are proficient flyers and skilled at manipulating mud to create their characteristic nests.






















Sceliphron madraspatanum

Other Information


Sceliphron madraspatanum is venomous and uses its sting to paralyze prey (typically spiders) to feed its larvae. The venom is primarily used for hunting and is not generally aggressive toward humans. The sting can cause pain and swelling but is usually not dangerous unless the individual has an allergic reaction.

A Danger to Humans?

The danger to humans from Sceliphron madraspatanum is minimal. These wasps are non-aggressive and usually only sting when handled or provoked. Their presence is generally beneficial as they help control spider populations.

Population Status

Specific data on the population size of Sceliphron madraspatanum is not widely available. However, as with many species of solitary wasps, they are likely to be found in stable populations wherever environmental conditions support their lifecycle and there is an abundance of food resources.

Black Mud-dauber Wasps (Sceliphron madraspatanum), Photo by David Lowenthal

Life Span:
The lifespan of Sceliphron madraspatanum, from egg to the end of the adult stage, typically spans one season. Adults usually die after the reproduction cycle is complete; however, the larvae overwinter in the nest and emerge as adults the following year.

Weight and Length:
Mud daubers like Sceliphron madraspatanum are medium-sized wasps, often ranging from 20 to 30 mm in length. Weight is minimal, typical for insects of their size.

Sceliphron madraspatanum is found in various regions, including parts of Asia. They prefer environments where mud is readily available for nest building and where there is an adequate supply of spiders to hunt.

Habits and Lifestyle:
These wasps are solitary and do not live in colonies. Each female wasp builds her own nest, often on sheltered structures like walls, eaves, or even within buildings. They are active during the day, hunting and building nests.

Diet and Nutrition:
Sceliphron madraspatanum preys on spiders, which they paralyze with their venom and then seal into the mud nest chambers with their eggs. The paralyzed spiders serve as food for the emerging larvae.

Mating Habits:
Mating typically occurs soon after the females emerge and are still teneral (soft-bodied). After mating, females begin the process of nest-building and provisioning. The males do not participate in nest construction or care of the progeny.