Archive

Monthly Archives: December 2014

CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Naked Snake (likely Black Racer)

I found this snakeskin next to the water system. About 4-5 ft, give or take. Most likely from a Southern Black Racer Snake (Coluber constrictor priapus). As they grow, snakes moult which is known as Ecdysis.

My take: http://www.beautifulwildlifegarden.com/the-water-system-as-habitat.html

###

CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris)

Secretive, colorful bird. This male spent quite a bit of time noshing on the Spanish needle seeds. They are primarily seed eaters, except during breeding season. Migratory in Central Florida.

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

Shown on Florida Native Plant: Bidens Alba

My take: http://osceolaflgardenblahblahblog.blogspot.com/2013/01/lousy-photo-fleeting-encounter.html

###

CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Syrphid Flies (Toxomerus marginatus)

This bee mimic is BENEFICIAL in both adult and larval stages

a.k.a. Hover fly, flower fly, hoverfly

Adults pollinate, feed on honeydew, nectar and pollen

larva feed on aphids, thrips, caterpillars, mealybugs, scale, leafhoppers, and corn earworms

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

How to differentiate the most common species in this genus: http://www.canacoll.org/Diptera/Staff/Skevington/Syrphidae/Toxomerus/Toxomerus3.jpg

Shown on Florida Native Plant: QUEEN-DEVIL (Hieracium gronovii) aka Hawkweed

###

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

a.k.a. Blood-Red Ladybird Beetle

Native.
Diet: aphids.

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: BLACKROOT (Pterocaulon pycnostachyum)
###

CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis)

Favors insects in summer, but as can be seen here, come winter this secretive bird returns to florida and enjoys fruit. Non-breeding in Florida

note: Possibly my best photo EVER!

Learn: www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Gray_Catbird/lifehistory

Shown on Florida Native Plant: WINGED SUMAC (Rhus copallinum)

My take: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2016/12/20/when-a-yard-cat-is-ok/

###

CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Cuckoo Wasp (Chrysis sp.)

Eyecatching metallic coloring.

cuckoo wasps are parasitoids and cleptoparasites of other insects (mainly other wasps) e.g., place eggs in the unfinished or untended nest of another wasp or bee. This is similar behavior in nature to the cuckoo bird, thus the common name.

Adults pollinate

Family Chrysididae. This photo likely Subfamily Chrysidinae, Tribe Chrysidini, Chrysis sp.

Learn: https://www.chrysis.net/chrysididae/overview-of-chrysididae/

Shown on Florida Native Plant: SALTBUSH (Baccharis sp.)

###

CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Colorful Foliage Ground Beetle (Lebia viridis)

This pretty blue beetle is relatively small. Beneficial. Size in photo is deceiving (macros shot)

genus Predatory on small insects; some parasitize leaf beetle larvae (http://bugguide.net/node/view/12464)

More on predatory behavior:
http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00102043/00001/5?search=lebia (pg 16)

http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00102043/00001/3

Adults minor pollination

Learn: http://bugguide.net/node/view/12464

Shown on Florida Native Plant: SALTBUSH (Baccharis sp.)

My take: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/meet-the-beetles/

###

CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Hard Tick (Family: Ixodidae)

Ticks are not insects (Class Insecta),a but relatives of spiders and other Arachnids (Class Arachnida). Usually 8 legs and no

antenna. (larva can have fewer legs).

This guy was engorged having feasted on my English Setter (Elliot). I’ve probably had more tics than the dogs, but luckily I

find them before they dig in.

I thought possible something in the Ixodes genus which includes deer ticks, but I’m leaning more toward American Dog Tick (Dermacentor variabilis) because it seemed larger than a deer tick. Unfortunately I didn’t get any shots of the underside which would have been helpful for a firm identification (who knew?)

I also think it is just turning from larva to a nymph since I can only see 6 legs. “Dermacentor variabilis develops from the egg stage, to the 6-legged larva, to the 8-legged nymph, and finally to the adult.” source UF Dept of Entomology

Can cause paralysis in dogs and/or several other diseases. Make sure you get the whole tick out when doing removal and monitor site for infection for several days after removal!

After removal, I burn them (sorry tick) to be sure they are dead since after a blood meal a female tick can lay as many as 4000-6500 eggs.

Diet: blood

Learn: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/urban/medical/american_dog_tick.htm
http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/urban/medical/deer_tick.htm

Key: http://www.afpmb.org/sites/default/files/pubs/techguides/tg26/References/Keirans%20East%20US%20Key.pdf

###

CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Syrphid Fly (Ocyptamus fuscipennis)

These types of syrphids are also referred to as hover flies and likely mimic Ichneumon wasps.

Landed on the spent seeds of some native wildflowers to dry out wings in the early morning.

This one is considered “teneral” meaning recently emerged so still soft, and has not fully attained mature coloring.

They are beneficial. Larvae preys on softbodied insects including aphids.

Adults pollinate

Learn: http://syrphidae.lifedesks.org/pages/25618

general syrphid fly info: http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/NE/syrphid_flies.html

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

###

CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Jumping Spider (Hentzia palmarum)

miniscule. I’m pretty sure I have the species correct and that it is female. At any rate the genus is the newest addition to my buggy life list. for size reference, photo depicts spider lying in a crotch where a less than 1 inch leaf connects to the stem of the saltbush.

Like other jumping spiders it had spun a silk “house” on a leaf to hide in.

Learn: http://salticidae.org/salticid/diagnost/hentzia/palmarum.htm

drawings: http://www.jumping-spiders.com/php/tax_drawings.php?id=2005

distribution of genus: http://salticidae.org/salticid/catalog/hentzia.htm

Shown on Florida Native Plant: SALTBUSH (Baccharis sp.)

###