Wasp nest!
Caliadurgus fasciatellus ♀︎
-Zygiella x-notata-

Last update: 14 November 2021
OBSERVATION:
2021-IX-08

At the end of the day around 18:00 this pompilid female Caliadurgus fasciatellus [1,2] actively wandering the area near a stone wall in the garden. It turned out she had caught a spider which was lying uncovered on the ground to the right of a flower pot. After checking the spider she continued roaming the area in and surrounding the flower pot. The fact that she chose different locations, for example between the stones of the the wall, and between the side of the flowerpot and the earth inside it, makes it probable she was looking for a suitable spot to built a nest and not relocating a prepared nest location.

Caliadurgus fasciatellus ♀︎, nest location underneath flowerpot
Caliadurgus fasciatellus ♀︎, nest underneath flowerpot is accessed via the backside
Caliadurgus fasciatellus ♀︎ with captured Zygiella x-notata

During less than an hour she checked out all kinds of holes, crevices and spaces in high gear. Within that period of time she contacted the spider five times.

TimeDurationContact moment
17:58:59
17:59:45
1m46s1st contact, spider is transported for longer time via the right side of the flower pot upwards and then downwards, ending on a stone at the bottom of the stone wall
18:03:37
18:04:12
35s2nd contact, spider is transported about ±20 centimetres in the direction of the right side of the flower pot
18:18:29
18:19:31
1m02s3rd contact, spider is picked up and transported for a longer time via the right side of the flower pot upwards and downwards again to the where the transport started
18:20:11
18:20:42
31s4th contact, spider transported shorty via the right side of the flower pot upwards and again downwards to where the spider had lain at the start.
18:22:00
18:25:50
3m50s5th and final contact, the spider is transported again via the right side of the flower pot upwards in the direction of the stone wall. the wasp and its prey disappear out of side underneath the overhanging edge of the pot. After about 4 minutes she reappears without the spider.

After four minutes she appeared without the spider via the stone wall behind the flowerpot. The space between the backside of the flowerpot and the stone wall turned out to be the residence of a large funnelweb spider which provided some comic relief as she appeared in one moment to check out the ruckus only to fall back into the safety of the darkness of the cavity when she saw the wasp. The wasp entered the same darkness a little later without hesitance.

I’m assuming she established the nest behind or underneath the flowerpot in the sand between the tiles since the prey was not seen again, but this must have taken place within those four minutes which seems to me a very short time. Typically the burrow consists of a tunnel of about 2 centimetres in length ending in a brood cell that is closed after being stocked [3].
After roaming about for another fifteen minutes she flew away and did not return.

Caliadurgus fasciatellus ♀︎ with captured Zygiella x-notata
Caliadurgus fasciatellus ♀︎

During transport the spider was mainly held at the cephalothorax-gaster connection.

Caliadurgus fasciatellus ♀︎ with captured Zygiella x-notata
Caliadurgus fasciatellus ♀︎ with captured Zygiella x-notata
Caliadurgus fasciatellus ♀︎ with captured Zygiella x-notata
Caliadurgus fasciatellus ♀︎ with captured Zygiella x-notata

On some of the photographs it seems like the spider is manipulated by pulling the coxa.

Caliadurgus fasciatellus ♀︎ with captured Zygiella x-notata
Caliadurgus fasciatellus ♀︎ with captured Zygiella x-notata

The prey was always left behind uncovered and in the open, on her back or side. She was complete; none of the legs had been amputated.

Zygiella x-notata captured by Caliadurgus fasciatellus ♀︎
Zygiella x-notata captured by Caliadurgus fasciatellus ♀︎
Zygiella x-notata captured by Caliadurgus fasciatellus ♀︎

The Caliadurgus fasciatellus prey spectrum consists of several Araneidae [3,4] which includes Zygiella x-notata, but I’ve not been able to find direct references to this prey species.


References

1 Nederlands Soortenregister

2 NIEUWENHUIJSEN, Hans. De spinnendoders van Nederland (Hymenoptera: Pompilidae). Jeugdbondsuitgeverij, 2008.

3 Peeters, T.M.J., C. van Achterberg, W.R.B. Heitmans, W.F. Klein, V. Lefeber, A.J. van Loon, A.A. Mabelis, H. Nieuwen-huijsen, M. Reemer, J. de Rond, J. Smit, H.H.W. Velthuis, 2004. De wespen en mieren van Nederland (Hymenoptera: Aculeata). – Nederlandse Fauna 6. Nationaal Natuurhistorisch Museum Naturalis, Leiden, knnv Uitgeverij, Utrecht & European Invertebrate Survey – Nederland, Leiden.

4 KURCZEWSKI, Frank E.; KIERNAN, Diane H. Analysis of spider wasp host selection in the eastern Great Lakes Region (Hymenoptera: Pompilidae). Northeastern Naturalist, 2015, 22: 1-88.

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