CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Thread-waisted Wasp (Ammophila pictipennis)
They provision their ground nests with Lepidoptera or sawfly larvae, many considered pest species of cash crops. (http://natl.ifas.ufl.edu/biota/sphecid_wasps.php)
Learn more: http://bugeric.blogspot.com/2010/11/wasp-wednesday-ammophila-pictipennis.html
Shown on Florida Native Plant: TALL ELEPHANTSFOOT (Elephantopus elatus)
CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Tachinid fly (Gonia crassicornis)
Beneficial: Parasitic Fly. controls pest caterpillars of cash crops (think armyworm!) which they use as food for their developing larva. The larvae of this one apparently also feed on May beetles. (source: https://bugguide.net/node/view/1041335)
Shown on Florida Native Plant: TICKSEED (Coreopsis sp.)
See also: http://calhouncountywaspsandflies.org/Gonia-crassicornis/
CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Broad-headed Bug (Hyalymenus sp. possibly longispinus)
Sort of new to my buggy life list. I discovered one last year on the same plant but never got around to identifying it. It is one of the leatherbugs which are plant feeders.
There are three species in this genus that are endemic to Florida. One that occurs in TX has the common name bow-legged bug which is apropo.
“it is not possible to reliably identify the species in this genus” (source: Key to Florida Alydidae (Hemiptera: Heteroptera) and selected exotic pest species. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/303722336_Key_to_Florida_Alydidae_Hemiptera_Heteroptera_and_selected_exotic_pest_species [accessed Jun 17 2018].
Shown on Florida Native Plant: SOUTHERN BEEBLOSSOM (Oenothera simulans)
CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Gray Hairstreak Butterfly (Strymon melinus)
Multiple larval host plants, many in the pea and Desmodium families
Shown on Florida Native Plant: BLACKROOT (Pterocaulon pycnostachyum)
CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Sheetweb Spider (Florinda coccinea)
This tiny red spider is a member of the Sheetweb Spiders family (Linyphiinae). Easily overlooked in the garden, the best time to see them is early morning when the dew forms on their grass-based webs and glistens in the sun. Food for birds. predator to other insects.
Learn more: http://www.uky.edu/Ag/CritterFiles/casefile/spiders/sheet/sheet.htm#fcoccinea
Shown on Florida Native Plant: TURKEY TANGLE FOGFRUIT; CAPEWEED (Phyla nodiflora)