CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY:  Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus)

Scavenger. Smaller size, pale head, white legs and wings with only the underside tips showing white distinguish this one from its Turkey Vulture cousin.

Diet: mainly carrion

Shown in Florida native plant: LONGLEAF PINE TREE (Pinus palustris)

Learn: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Black_Vulture/id

My take:  Nature’s Cleanup Crew



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

Watched the butterfly lay this egg on the non-native Desmodium incanum 

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

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


Caterpillar ©2013



CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Owlet Moth (Epidromia sp. likely rotundata)

Found before dawn on the patio cover where it meets the house.

Superfamily Noctuoidea – Owlet Moths and kin
Family Erebidae
Subfamily Eulepidotinae

larval hosts: no listings at the HOSTS database

Learn:  https://bugguide.net/node/view/87272

Learn more:  nitro.biosci.arizona.edu/zEEB/leprefs/Epidromia.pdf

I had found this species one other time inside the house back in Sept 2016: https://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/sighting_details/1103171


CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY:   Fish Crow (Corvus ossifragus)


Over the past few days I have heard this guy (gal?) calling loudly. Is it a mating call?????? I’ve had a nest in this particular tree two years.  Could they make it three?

The tree overlooks my pond so I suspect it is prime real estate.  Time to practice my drone skills so hopefully I can check out the nestlings without knocking them out of the tree.

Learn: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Fish_Crow/lifehistory

Shown on Florida Native Plant Longleaf Pine  (Pinus palustris)


CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Syrphid Fly (Toxomerus sp. likely boscii)

a.k.a. Hover fly, flower fly, hoverfly; Thin-lined Calligrapher

This bee mimic is BENEFICIAL in both adult and larval stages.

“Hoverflies are important generalist predators of aphids” source: https://www.ars.usda.gov/research/publications/publication/?seqNo115=315556

Re: identification: “The main characters are: the yellow stripe on the mesonotum is not very thick and the hind femur has a black ring.” source: https://bugguide.net/node/view/351203

Shown on Florida Native Plant: Bidens alba


CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Ox Beetle Grub (probably Strategus sp.)

I suspect my English setter girl dug up this large, beefy larva and now ants are attacking it.


“…they serve a vital role of recycling organic matter.”  Another reason to avoid using chemical grub control.

Learn: http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston/beneficials/beneficial-44_ox_or_elephant_beetle.htm

One of the Scarabs; Rhinoceros Beetles (Dynastinae) is the subfamily. https://bugguide.net/node/view/6277

Some people raise these.  “Adults will eat apple slices and many other types of fruit. Grubs eat rotten wood and composted vegetation.” (source: https://web.archive.org/web/20100920225147/http://www.beetle-experience.com/care-aloeusl.htm

Adult photos of Strategus aloeus: https://centralfloridacritteroftheday.wordpress.com/2014/01/16/ox-beetle-strategus-aloeus/