Among the solitary wasps, each species usually favors a particular type of prey. The female seals a single egg in a nest provided with paralyzed prey on which the developing larva feeds. In many species the nest is in a burrow or small hole dug by the female. The jug-shaped nests of the potter, or mason, wasps ( Eumenes ) of Europe and North America are made of mud and fastened to plants. Often seen under bridges and eaves are the "organ-pipe" nests of the mud-dauber wasps ( Sceliphron ), consisting of long, narrow, adjacent cells of mud. Other solitary wasps are the tarantula hawks ( Pepsis ) and cicada killers ( Sphecus ) of the SW United States, which hunt prey much larger than themselves.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.