CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos)

Beautiful song from this state bird of Florida who mimics others. Big on berries, especially holly and winged sumac.

They stir up insects to feed their young during nesting season and I’ve had them nest many times in the native groundsel tree and wax myrtle (bayberry) shrubs. Territorial, they will battle each other and other birds including those much larger than themselves.

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

babies in nest: https://centralfloridacritteroftheday.wordpress.com/2014/04/17/northern-mockingbird-baby-mimus-polyglottos/

fledge: https://centralfloridacritteroftheday.wordpress.com/2015/05/30/northern-mockingbird-fledge-mimus-polyglottos/

Shown on Florida Native Plant: AMERICAN BEAUTYBERRY (Callicarpa americana)

My take: Mockingbird: Melodious but Mean




CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Tropical Orb Weaver Spider (Eriophora ravilla) juvenile

Eriophora ravilla

This young spider was sitting in the center of the seedhead of Florida native Bidens alba. This should give you an idea of just how tiny a spider it was.  The bright green coloring which is an attribute of juveniles is what caught my eye.

Learn: http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/creatures/misc/spiders/tropical_orb_weaver.htm

Learn more: http://bugguide.net/node/view/24094


CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Pearl Crescent Butterfly (Phyciodes tharos)

Phyciodes tharos

One of the Brush-Footed Butterflies.

Learn: http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/wings/completeButterflyInfo.asp?id=64

Learn more: http://bugguide.net/node/view/411

Larval host: Asters

Shown on Florida Native Plant:  MANYFLOWER MARSHPENNYWORT (Hydrocotyle umbellata) 

My take: http://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2017/03/21/pearl-crescent-butterfly/


CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Green Lynx Spider (Peucetia viridans) Pair

These spiders do not construct a web capturing prey by grabbing it when it gets close. It will capture pest insects but also will be found with pollinators in its clutches which may upset some, but Ive seen it with stink bugs and leaffooted bugs and similar so it is quite beneficial in my book.

Learn: http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston/beneficials/beneficial-48_green_lynx_spider.htm

Learn more: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/beneficial/green_lynx_spider.htm

and more: http://bugguide.net/node/view/2032

Shown on Florida Native Plant: Bidens alba

My take: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2017/10/07/and-in-this-corneractive-arachnids/

My take 2: Lynx Spiders: Its a boy and a girl and a boy etc.


CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Black Swallowtail Butterfly (Papilio polyxenes asterius)

Nectaring on Florida native Bidens alba the dots on the body are an identifying characteristic of this beauty. This one is male.

Larval host: carrot family (Apiaceae) including non-native parsley (Petroselinium crispum), dill (Anthum graveolens), fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), Florida native mock bishop’s weed (Ptilimnium capillaceum)

In my yard they use Florida Native Plant WATER COWBANE (Tiedemannia filiformis) as the larval host.

Despite having mock bishops weed in my yard, I have never seen this species use it.

Learn: http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/wildflower/completebutterflydata.asp?id=1

Learn more: http://bugguide.net/node/view/2636

There are color variations in adults.
Learn more: http://butterfliesofamerica.com/t/Papilio_polyxenes_a.htm

My take: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2016/11/11/moving-day-black-swallowtail-butterfly/

From past encounters:

Photo of female: https://centralfloridacritteroftheday.wordpress.com/2017/02/20/eastern-black-swallowtail-butterfly/



older instar larva:


see also: https://centralfloridacritteroftheday.wordpress.com/2016/09/24/eastern-black-swallowtail-butterfly-caterpillar-papilio-polyxenes/


CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon)

Male left, female right

You generally hear this species before you see them.  They give a loud rattling call prior to diving into the water for a meal.  I find them mostly positioned in the long leaf pine trees over the pond.  This pair was monitoring the culvert using the electric wires as a perch.

…”mostly on a diet of fish….also eat crayfish and may eat other crustaceans, mollusks, insects, amphibians, reptiles, young birds, small mammals, and even berries…”

Learn: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Belted_Kingfisher/lifehistory

Female are the more colorful in this species showing a rust coloring below a blue stripe