CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Land Planarian; Hammerhead Flatworm (Bipalium kewense)

a.k.a. Hammerhead Flatworm; Arrowhead Flatworm

This one was small, about 1-1/2 inches and probably young since it doesn’t seem to have grown its signature arrow shaped head yet.

Beneficial except in earthworm farms and harmless to humans.  This is the second time I have found one of these, both when dealing with firewood.  (link to original story below).

Pleased to see it munching away on what appears to be a Ghost Ant nest.

“The fragment is able to move immediately and will develop a head within 10 days.

Learn: https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston/beneficials/beneficial-57(partial)_land_planarian.htm

Learn more: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/misc/land_planarians.HTM

My take:  https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2018/12/13/its-a-wormits-a-slug-its-a-what/

Photo from 2012:

From 2012, eating slugs, beetle larvae and millipedes


CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Spotless Lady Beetle (Cycloneda sanguinea) larvae NEWLY HATCHED

This species of ladybug is native to Florida.
Diet: aphids. The larval stage may be even more beneficial than as adults since the larvae have voracious appetites. If you wash your aphids off your ornamental plants, you remove the food source for the beneficial so they will go elsewhere to reproduce. Be patient.

Keep in mind that Not all ladybugs without spots are native. Harmonia is an introduced species which can outcompete our natives, especially the species in the photo. (source: https://esa.confex.com/esa/2001/techprogram/paper_1422.htm)

If you buy ladybugs, check what species you are introducing. Many sold commercially are non-native species.

Learn: http://susanleachsnyder.com/GopherTortoisePreserve/Insect%20Order%20Coleoptera.html#Spot

Shown on Florida Native Plant: PINEBARREN GOLDENROD (Solidago fistulosa)

a.k.a. Blood-Red Ladybird Beetle

Photos of adult: https://centralfloridacritteroftheday.wordpress.com/2018/07/30/spotless-lady-beetle-cycloneda-sanguinea-3/

My take: There are Different Types of Ladybugs? (includes side by side photos to tell the exotic from our native species)

Walking away to find the aphids on nearby branches


CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: White Peacock Butterfly (Anartia jatrophae)

member of the Brushfooted Butterflies Family (Nymphalidae)

Learn: http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/wildflower/completebutterflydata.asp?id=31

Larval hosts: water hyssop (Bacopa monnieri), frogfruit (Phyla nodiflora)

Photo of adult dorsal view from July 2018:  https://centralfloridacritteroftheday.wordpress.com/2018/07/26/white-peacock-butterfly-anartia-jatrophae-4/

Photo of egg from 2017: https://centralfloridacritteroftheday.wordpress.com/2017/08/08/white-peacock-butterfly-anartia-jatrophae-egg/

My take: When a Peacock Isn’t a Bird

White Peacock Butterfly (Anartia jatrophae)


CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus)

Quite vocal, you can always hear them as they glean insects from tree trucks.

diet: mostly insects, but as can be seen here enjoys fruit as well. Nests in dead trees, so leave those SNAGS!

Learn: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Red-bellied_Woodpecker/lifehistory

Shown on Florida Native Plant: AMERICAN ELDER; ELDERBERRY (Sambucus nigra L. subsp. canadensis)

My take: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2016/12/14/pa-rum-pum-pum-pum-little-drummer-bird/

Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus)


CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Syrphid Fly (Palpada sp. likely agrorum)

New species for me.  This one is considerably smaller than others I have seen in the genus.

They are Bee mimics.  Other common names: hover fly; flower fly

As a member of the Tribe Eristalini  the larvae live in organic rich water.

Learn: https://bugguide.net/node/view/12649

Key: http://cjai.biologicalsurvey.ca/mylmst_23/mylmst_23_445.HTM

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


CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Secondary Screwworm Fly (Cochliomyia macellaria)

New to my buggy life list.

One of the Blow Flies (Calliphoridae Family)

May present a problem with livestock that have untreated wounds:  “…this species does not feed on actual living tissue as does the primary screwworm. Secondary screwworms invade to feed on dead tissues…”

” The secondary screwworm is considered to be very beneficial as a decomposer.”

“…this species has gained recognition in the field of forensic entomology as a principal species on which to base postmortem interval estimations…”

Learn:  http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/livestock/secondary_screwworm.htm

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


CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Six-spotted Bromeliad Fly (Copestylum sexmaculatum)

New to my buggy life list.

One of the Syrphid Flies (Syrphidae Family)
Subfamily Eristalinae
Tribe Volucellini

Also known as Hover flies, flower flies or drone flies they pollinate. Some syrphid larva prey on aphids while this larvae of this genus feeds on “decaying matter, mostly rotting cactus (many spp. reared from Opuntia) (Marcos-García & Pérez-Bañón 2001)”.

Learn:  https://bugguide.net/node/view/9909

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

Six-spotted Bromeliad Fly (Copestylum sexmaculatum)