CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Great Egret (Ardea alba)

walking between the Florida native White Waterlilies in my pond.

diet: “eats mainly small fish but also eats amphibians, reptiles, birds, small mammals and invertebrates such as crayfish, prawns, shrimp, polychaete worms, isopods, dragonflies and damselflies, whirligig beetles, giant water bugs, and grasshoppers”

Learn: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Great_Egret/id

Learn more: http://www.sms.si.edu/irlspec/Ardea_alba.htm

My take: Big Winter Birds
http://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2016/11/15/big-winter-birds/

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Darkling Beetle (Bothrotes canaliculatus acutus)

new to my buggy life list.  Darkling Beetles, as scavengers, are usually found in dark locations such as under debris, logs or stones.  This guy must have been “slumming”. They are members of the Tenebrionidae Family.

I arrived at the subspecies given the metallic luster based on this key: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/teneb/subfamily_Pimeliinae.pdf

Learn: https://bugguide.net/node/view/12408

Checklist of Eastern US Tenebrionidae: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/teneb/east_pimeliiformes.htm

Shown on Florida Native Plant: SHYLEAF (Aeschynomene americana) 

A study indicated the genus may feed on moth larvae:

“Species found preying on Mocis larvae were a Tenebrionid, Bothrotes fortis…”
http://www.cabdirect.org/cabdirect/abstract/19750531212

Bothrotes canaliculatus acutus

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Saltbush Seed Bug (Ochrimnus mimulus)

New to my buggy life list.  A true bug in the Seed Bugs (Lygaeidae) family, it is a “univoltine seed predator occurring on Baccharis sp. and other Asteraceae (Gould & Sweet 2000)”

Learn:  https://bugguide.net/node/view/254054

Shown on Florida Native Plant GROUNDSEL TREE; SEA MYRTLE (Baccharis halimifolia), a.k.a. Saltbush the preferred larval host.

also reared on solidago and horseweed in a controlled study. source:
http://biostor.org/reference/56136/page/1

“The seed feeding habit of the insect, its oviposition behavior and egg shape appear specifically adapted for Baccharis dwelling.” source: http://oaktrust.library.tamu.edu/handle/1969.1/ETD-TAMU-1994-THESIS-G696

Ochrimnus mimulus

Select resources:

Gould, Georgianna Grimshaw (1994). The biology and ecology of Ochrimnus mimulus (Stal, 1874): an assessment of its coevolution with Baccharis in Brazos County, Texas. Master’s thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from http: / /hdl .handle .net /1969 .1 /ETD -TAMU -1994 -THESIS -G696.

Bugguide.net

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Long-tailed Skipper Butterfly (Urbanus proteus)

Larval host: “Numerous members of the Pea family (Fabaceae) including Beaked Butterfly Pea (Centrosema virginianum), American Wisteria (Wisteria americana), Kudzu (Pueraria Montana), and ticktrefoils (Desmodium spp.)”

Learn: http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/wildflower/completebutterflydata.asp?id=46

Shown on Florida Native Plant: DOCTORBUSH (Plumbago zeylanica)

My take: http://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2017/03/23/dont-skip-the-long-tailed-skipper-butterfly/

Caterpillar from October 2013:

Longtail Skipper Butterfly Caterpillar

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY:  Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius)

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius)

My winter visitors have returned!

Learn: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Yellow-bellied_Sapsucker/id

Shown on Florida Native Plant: LAUREL OAK; DIAMOND OAK (Quercus laurifolia)

My take: Solving Garden Mysteries
http://web.archive.org/web/20140701011549/http://www.beautifulwildlifegarden.com/solvinggardenmysteries.html

From May 2014, a tell tale sign of a Sapsucker visit:

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker wells in a Live Oak tree.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker wells in a Live Oak tree.

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