Can anyone identify the insect that created these amazing tiny little cells.
They appear to be papery, and very small see thumb for scale in picture ..003.
They were found in the underside, inside the top water channel of a Velux window where I guess it would be pretty dry, but possibly quite warm at times even though it was facing north, when it was inverted for cleaning in an attic window in central Brittany, France. 24-08-2010
There was no sign of the insect. One of the cells was clearly not sealed so I did not wish to disturb it for to long, others were clearly finished and sealed suggesting to me that this must be some kind of solitary insect.
Solitary indeed - and the work of a solitary wasp. They look most like the brood cells of a Eumenid wasp (Hymenoptera: Eumenidae) and probably the genus Eumenes itself. This group of solitary wasps are aptly known as Potter wasp and each pot will be stuffed full of insect prey (almost exclusively small caterpillars I believe) for the wasp larva to feed on (one larva per pot).
These super little wasps have been throwing pots for the last 10-20 million years - do you suppose they gave us any ideas.
Larval and pupal stage is completed within this pot - the ensuing adult emerging. When full grown the larva, and subsequently the pupa and adult will be bent double and fill this pot - thus: (image kindly borrowed from http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston/beneficials/beneficial-30_potter_wasp_eumenes.htm)
Thanks - I didn't think of that!! Alan.