I uncovered (literally) this mystery on Libby’s Island when we were them a couple of weekends ago. I don’t know what these cells were for, though I’d guess for wasp larvae. These were on the underside of a round rock fragment (see below for a better image of that). I was toeing round rocks out of the ground (they’re everywhere!), and this fragment came up and turned over. And there were these little mud constructions.
After I convinced myself that some malevolent parasite was not going to spring from one of these cells and attack me, I took a stick and knocked a few open. They were all empty. Only one had a wisp of some white gossamer in it that may have been a shed, what, exoskeleton? Larval shroud? I don’t know.
Each cell was a bit under an inch long. They were adhered to the rock, so they would have been suspended from the roof of the little cavern before I overtuned the rock. I suppose there must have been some access point to the cavity to allow the mother bug to get in there to do all of this work.
There is a theory that humans first began making pottery in imitation of these kinds of natural constructs. I can understand that when I see these.
- Newly emerged zebra swallowtail butterflies fly in woodlands.
- Gooseberries begin blooming.
- Swallows return.