On of my Sedums was crowded with these butterflies and wasps this afternoon. I thought the wasp might be a mud dauber and the buterfly a mourning cloak; but I can't find an exact match in my Peterson guides. Any ideas?
CLOSED: Butterflies and Wasps
Here is a great place to use for identification.
Wish I could help with the wasp looking thing. I have them all over, and can't get a good photo of them. They are a real metalic looking blue. Very nectar oriented.
I do believe you've found it! The Steel Blue Cricket hunter seems to be a good id. The blue color really doesn't photograph well. Thanks!
I have seen them, too, and always wondered what they were. I searched Google for large black wasp nectar. A few links down had a mention of them and that link. Pretty cool to find out for me, too! :)
I often wish I had my own entymologist on hand. I have an incredible amount of insects in my yard, and I can probably only identify 5%. And I've had terrible luck trying to id dragonflies too. If anybody out there knows of a good website, let me know!
These may help, but it'd be nice to have a little pocket entymologist, still! Wouldn't eat much, and he'd be so handy!
Edited: Changed second hyperlink!
Thanks guys. The wasp ID fits perfectly. We have fairly sandy soil here (sassafras loam) so she can easily dig her tunnel. I'm still stumped on the BF.
Is your butterfly an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail? http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/distr/lepid/bflyusa/usa/703.htm Perhaps her "tails" were broken off by predators?
It's not an Eastern Swallowtail--the would be two rows of yellow spots on the inside of the wings and two orange "eyes" at the base of the hindwings (near the butt, if you will). I think it may be a red-spotted purple: http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/distr/lepid/bflyusa/md/23.htm The prominent orange/red marks are not apparent on this particular butterfly, but this site does mention that the White Admiral and Red-Spotted Purple are considered subspecies (they are closely related and they can interbreed and produce offspring). I don't see anything else that looks close.
Your suggestion is the closest of anything I've seen so far, BG. Thing is, they're as common as pig tracks around here. There were 4 of them on that plant; and they were identical. I'm going to watch more closely and see if I can spot some differences. Thanks for the help!