Archive

Monthly Archives: May 2014

CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Variable Dancer Damselfly (Argia fumipennis)

This is also referred to as Black Dancer (Argia fumipennis atra) but in general subspecies aren’t used in odonata.

Learn: http://bugguide.net/node/view/584

Shown on Florida Native Plant: TALL ELEPHANTSFOOT (Elephantopus elatus) basal leaves.

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Flea Beetle (Disonycha conjugata)

One of the largest flea beetles (Family Chrysomelidae; Subfamily Galerucinae; Tribe Alticini (Flea Beetles)

This species is said to feed on Polygonum spp.

Learn: http://www.fsca-dpi.org/Coleoptera/Mike/chryso.htm

Shown on Florida Native Plant: Saltbush (Baccharis halimifolia)

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Velvet Ant aka Cow Killer {Wasp} (Dasymutilla occidentalis)

Not an ant but a wasp. Painful sting, thus the common name. Females no wings and don’t fly but males do. This gal was cruising at top speed across the patio. Predator.

Learn: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in717

My take: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2018/11/14/the-cow-killer-and-other-misnomers/

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

First I’ve seen in 2014.

While mostly beneficial….capturing pest insects…this beauty also has a propensity for capturing beneficials, including many pollinators such as bees, wasps and syrphid flies.

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

Shown on Florida Native Plant: Blackberry (Rubus sp.)
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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Eastern Pondhawk Dragonfly (Erythemis simplicicollis)

This species of dragonfly is noted for low flying and resting on the ground.

Dragonflies are beneficial in both larval stage (aquatic) and as adults where they take flying insects. Some in this species are blue at certain stages of development.

Learn: http://www.odonatacentral.org/index.php/FieldGuideAction.get/id/46982

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Aquatic Leaf Beetle (Donacia sp.)

Family Chrysomelidae (Leaf Beetles) Subfamily Donaciinae (Aquatic Leaf Beetles)

Adults of many species are most often associated with water lilies (Nymphaea and Nuphar)

“difficult to identify – there is considerable sexual dimorphism and intraspecific variability.”

Learn more: http://publicfiles.dep.state.fl.us/dear/labs/biology/biokeys/beetles10.pdf
Key page: 35

Shown on Florida Native Plant: American White Waterlily (Nymphaea odorata) leaf in the pond.

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Owlfly (Ululodes macleayanus)

Per bugguide, this is likely U. macleayanus because the pterostigma (wing dot) is dark in U. macleayana, but cream color in the other possibility {Four-spotted Owlfly (U. quadripunctatus)}

Superficially similar to a dragonfly in looks, it is a member of the order Neuroptera which includes Antlions and Lacewings.

BENEFICIAL with both the adult and larval stages carnivorous, eating other insect invertebrates.

Learn: http://bugguide.net/node/view/4130

My take: http://www.beautifulwildlifegarden.com/said-the-spider-to-the-owlfly.html (larva)
http://www.beautifulwildlifegarden.com/this-night-owl-doesnt-give-a-hoot.html (adult)

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Thynnid Wasp (Myzinum sp. possibly quinquecinctum)

Note: name update due to taxonomic change in 2014 from Five-banded Tiphiid Wasp (Myzinum quinquecinctum)

Male. Despite the common name, the males may have 6 bands

BENEFICIAL Larvae are parasitoids of white grubs (scarab larvae)

Learn: http://elmostreport.blogspot.com/2009/07/five-banded-tiphiid-wasp-myzinum.html

Shown on Florida Native Plant: CLIMBING HEMPVINE (Mikania scandens)

My take: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2016/09/09/got-grubs-help-is-on-the-way/

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Salt Marsh Moth Caterpillar (Estigmene acrea)

These cats can be quite variable in color depending on what instar they are. I’ve seen them range from white to black, always with reddish feet and a yellow marked face. Larva has a wide range of food plants. This is the first time I ever encountered one on the passionvine. Usually I see them on Elderberry, Dogfennel or crawling through grasses.

Learn: http://bugguide.net/node/view/3242

More: http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/creatures/veg/leaf/saltmarsh_caterpillar.htm

photos of later instars: https://centralfloridacritteroftheday.wordpress.com/2013/02/06/saltmarsh-caterpillar-estigmene-acrea/

Shown on Florida Native Plant: PURPLE PASSIONFLOWER (Passiflora incarnata)

My take: http://wildobs.com/PineLilyFNPS/13336-Speedy-the-movie (VIDEO)

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Margined Leatherwing Soldier Beetle (Chauliognathus marginatus)

Butterflies and bees arent the only pollinators. These adult Soldier Beetles feed on pollen and nectar. Adult is also predatory, possibly taking eggs?

Larva is predatory, known to attack corn earworm and corn borer.

Learn: http://bugguide.net/node/view/2668

Dorsal View:

https://centralfloridacritteroftheday.wordpress.com/2013/04/24/margined-leatherwing-soldier-beetle-chauliognathus-marginatus/

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

My take: http://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2016/03/21/pollinators-soldier-boy-oh-my-little-soldier-boy/

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Omnivorous Platynota Moth (Platynota rostrana)

A Tortricid moth. Larvae are leafrollers and may be a pest of citrus, Opuntia (cactus) and some others

Learn: http://books.google.com/books/reader?id=e8AUAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&output=reader&pg=GBS.PA298-IA3

Learn about larvae of this genus: http://ipm.ncsu.edu/AG136/cater13.html

More info: http://www.digplanet.com/wiki/Platynota_rostrana

Shown on Florida Native Plant: Spanish Needles (Bidens alba)

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Eastern Amberwing Dragonfly (Perithemis tenera)

Female shown. Quite small. Dragonflies are beneficial as they are predatory on pest insects in both the adult and larval stages. Larval state is aquatic and helps control mosquito larva.

Learn: http://web.archive.org/web/20170719001808/http://www.odonatacentral.org/index.php/FieldGuideAction.get/id/47478

Learn Key to Florida Dragonflies: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in632

Shown on Florida Native Plant: Spanish Needles (Bidens alba)

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis) EGGS!

This is brood #2 for 2014. First brood nested in the purple martin house 20 feet off the ground, so I don’t know how successful it was numberwise. I have seen at least two youngsters flying around.

Over the years I have had enormous success with bluebirds nesting at my place since I put up the nestbox back in 2007. Last year there were even 4 broods.

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

My take: http://www.beautifulwildlifegarden.com/bluebirds-2013-brood-four.html

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