CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Air Potato Leaf Beetle (Lilioceris cheni)

THEY’RE BACK! First I’ve seen in 2017. I just emailed the coordinates to the USDA as requested in the information sheet from UF Entomology.

Introduced as biocontrol for the highly invasive Air potato vine (Dioscorea bulbifera). Feeds exclusively on this non-native species of plant.

I’m not aware of any air potato in the area so I guess they are just fueling up on nectar while they seek out the host for their larvae.

Learn: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/BENEFICIAL/BEETLES/air_potato_leaf_beetle.htm

If you have air potato vines in your area, you can apply to receive beetles for release: http://bcrcl.ifas.ufl.edu/airpotatofiles/airpotatoforms.shtml

Shown on Florida Native Plant: Bidens alba

It was sharing real estate with a paper wasp:


CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Spotless Lady Beetle (Cycloneda sanguinea) larva

This species of ladybug is native to Florida.
Diet: aphids. The larval stage is perhaps more beneficial than as adults since larvae have voracious appetities. 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 and let nature take care of itself.


Learn: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in327

Shown on Florida Native Plant: Bidens Alba

See adult laying eggs and 1st instar larvae: https://centralfloridacritteroftheday.wordpress.com/2016/08/28/spotless-lady-beetle-cycloneda-sanguinea-laying-eggs/

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



Tiny. a.k.a. Flower spider. Often will take on the color of the flower they are using to lie in wait for prey.

Learn: http://www.uky.edu/Ag/CritterFiles/casefile/spiders/crab/crab.htm

several in the crab spider family are very similar. You can distinguish them by the eye configurations.
Learn: http://bugguide.net/node/view/38099

Shown on Florida Native Plant: Bidens alba


CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Ichneumon Wasp (Anomalon sp.)

Apparently these wasps are difficult to identify down to species and since they are miniscule I can understand why.  A. ejuncidum is the only species listed by The University of Florida’s Natural Area Teaching Laboratory

Parasites of the larva of Coleoptera (beetles) and possibly Lepidoptera (butterfly/moth)

Learn: http://natl.ifas.ufl.edu/biota/ichneumon_wasps.php

Learn more: http://bugguide.net/node/view/348341

Shown on Florida Native Plant: BEGGARTICKS; ROMERILLO; SPANISH NEEDLES (Bidens alba)

My take: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2015/08/18/balance-in-the-garden-ichneumon-parasitic-wasp/


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

I nearly walked through a very large web where this spider was dangling. It was built between a Chickasaw Plum and a natural area of grapes/saw palmetto which are about 8-10 feet or more apart.

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

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

Had quite a cache of prey:


CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Syrphid Fly (Dioprosopa clavata)

Synonyms Pseudodoros clavatus

This beneficial pollinator uses aphids as a larval host and I spotted mom here laying eggs on the Bidens alba.

photo of larvae: https://centralfloridacritteroftheday.wordpress.com/2014/06/15/syrphid-fly-larvae-dioprosopa-clavata/

Also called hover flies or flower flies.

Learn: http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston/beneficials/beneficial-28_hover_or_syrphid_flies.htm

Shown on Florida Native Plant: Bidens alba

My take: http://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2015/08/05/aphids-are-good-wait-what/

Take 2: http://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2015/08/04/who-are-you-calling-a-caterpillar/


CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly (Eurytides marcellus)

The only regularly-occurring Kite Swallowtail in North America.

Larval host: Pawpaw (Asimina spp.)

Learn: http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/wildflower/completeButterflyData.asp?id=7

Caterpillar: https://centralfloridacritteroftheday.wordpress.com/2013/04/23/zebra-swallowtail-butterfly-caterpillar-eurytides-marcellus/

Shown on Florida Native Plant: Bidens alba

Learn more: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/bfly/zebra_swallowtail.htm

My take:
Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly: What Pizzazz