A Fatal Nest Construction: Man-mixed Cement Used by Mud-daubing Wasps

Armando Falcón-Brindis, Ricardo Rodriguez-Estrella, Maria Luisa Jiménez


Some sphecid wasps apparently show tolerance to urban habitats. However, resilience to man-made environments may have harmful consequences when behavioral errors can lead to ecological traps. We report failures in nesting construction of Sceliphron jamaicense by erroneous choosing of building material (i.e. mud). We found a proportion of nests (1.26%)where the wasps used both mud and concrete to seal the nests. Consequently, the brood was unable to emerge through the hardened material. It seems that the discrimination between building materials appears to be poor in these hymenopterans. Such ecological traps could have long term negative consequences around urban environments.


Sphecidae, Sceliphron jamaicense, nesting behavior, brood mortality.

Full Text:



Axelrod, D. I. (1978). The origin of coastal and sage vegetation, Alta and Baja California. American Journal of Botany, 65, 1117-1131.

Battin, J. (2004). When Good Animals Love Bad Habitats: Ecological Traps and the Conservation of Animal Populations. Conservation Biology, 18, 1482-1491. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1523-1739.2004.00417.x/abstract

Bohart, R. M & Menke, A. S. (1976). Sphecid wasps of the world, a generic revision. California: University California Press, 604p.

Coville, R. E. (1987). Spider-Hunting Sphecid Wasps. In W. Nentwig (Ed.), Ecophysiology of Spiders (pp. 309-318). Berlin: Springer-Verlag.

Coville, R. E. (1987). Spider-Hunting Sphecid Wasps. In W. Nentwig (Ed.), Ecophysiology of Spiders (pp. 309-318). Berlin: Springer-Verlag.

Dukas, R. (2008). Evolutionary biology of insect learning. Annual Review of Entomology, 53, 145-160. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17803459

Jiménez, M. L., Servin, R., Tejas, A. & Aguilar, R. (1992). La composición de presas de la avispa lodera Sceliphron jamaicense luceae en la región del Cabo, México. Southwestern Entomologist, 17,169-180.

King, S. A. & Buckney, R. T. (2000). Urbanization and exotic plants in northern Sydney streams. Austral Ecology, 25, 455-461. DOI: 10.1046/j.1442-9993.2000.01085.x

Kokko, H. & Sutherland, W. J. (2001). Ecological traps in changing environments: ecological and evolutionary consequences of a behaviourally mediated Allee effect. Evolutionary Ecology Research, 3, 537–551. http://www.kokkonuts.org/p/Allee.pdf

McKinney, M. L. (2008). Effects of urbanization on species richness: A review of plants and animals. Urban Ecosystems, 11, 161-176. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11252-007-0045-4

Ordeñana, M. A., Crooks, K. R., Boydston, E. E., Fisher, R. N., Lyren, L. M., Siudyla, S., Haas, C. D., Harris, S., Hathaway, S. A., Turschak, G. M., Miles, A. K. & Van Robertson B. A. & Hutton, R. L. (2006). A framework for understanding ecological traps and evaluation of existing evidence. Ecology, 87, 1075-1085. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16761584

Robertson, B.A. & Hutto, R.L. (2006). A framework for understanding ecological traps and and evaluation of existing evidence. Ecology, 87: 1075-1085. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16761584

Rodríguez-Estrella, R., Donázar, J. A. & Hiraldo, F. (1995). Fisherman and their gear may threaten Bald Eagles at Magdalena Bay, B.C.S., Mexico. Journal of Raptor Research, 29, 144.

Rodríguez-Estrella, R., J. J. Pérez-Navarro, B. Granados. & L. Rivera. 2010. The distribution of an invasive plant in a fragile ecosystem: the rubber vine (Cryptostegia grandiflora) in oases of the Baja California peninsula. Biological Invasions, 12:3389-3393. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10530-010-9758-z

Schaedelin, F. C. & Taborsky, M. (2009). Extended phenotypes as signals. Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, 84, 293-313.

Schlaepfer, M. A., Runge, M. C. & Sherman, P. W. (2002). Ecological and evolutionary traps. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 17, 474-480. www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0169534702025806

Starr, C. K. Falcón-Brindis, A. & Jiménez, M. L. Brood success of the mud-daubing wasp Sceliphron jamaicense (Hymenoptera: Sphecidae) in a desert environment. Revista Mexicana de Biodiversidad, 89: 466-470. doi: 10.22201/ib.20078706e.2018.2.2416

Votier, S. C., Archibald, K., Morgan, G., & Morgan, L. (2011). The use of plastic debris as nesting material by a colonial seabird and associated entanglement mortality. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 62, 168-172. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2010.11.009

White, E. (1962). Nest-building and provisioning in relation to sex in Sceliphron spirifex L. (Sphecidae). Journal of Animal Ecology, 31, 317-329.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v65i3.2228


  • There are currently no refbacks.

JCR Impact Factor 2018: 0.604