CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Cicada (Tibicen sp.)
One of the annual cicadas. I can’t be positive of species since he didn’t hang around long enough for a full photo shoot.
“Cicadas are seldom of economic importance in Florida.” source: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in602
“On the positive side, it should be noted that cicadas do not bite or sting and harbor no organisms known to be harmful to vertebrates. They provide food for many kinds of wildlife, including birds, small mammals, and other insects. Newly emerged adults are easily caught and have been used for food by humans, either raw or cooked, and are even credited with having saved some family groups from starvation early in the history of North America.” ibid.
Shown on Florida Native Plant: LAUREL OAK; DIAMOND OAK (Quercus laurifolia)
My take: You say Ci-KAY-da and I say Ci-kAHHH-da
CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Florida Ivory Millipede (Chicobolus spinigerus)
Detritivores, breaking down both dead plant and animal matter returning the nutrients to the soil. They are harmless so if you find them inside, just move them back outside where they can do some good. They have two defensive mechanisms. One is to roll up into a ball. The other is to exude an offensive odor.
They are sometimes raised as pets, apparently they have a lifespan of up to 10 years; mostly nocturnal.
“Millipedes are eaten by frogs, lizards, some beetles, some birds and their main predator, the shrew.” source: http://www.fcps.edu/islandcreekes/ecology/north_american_millipede.htm
“…millipedes are commonly seen in yards and occasionally enter homes. Neither centipedes nor millipedes damage furnishings, homes, or food. Their only importance is that of annoying or frightening individuals.” source: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ig093
CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Sculptured Resin Bee (Megachile sculpturalis)
New to my buggy life list. And if you look closely, there is a crab spider below waiting for the opportunity to snare this BIG guy.
Introduced species from Asia. Apparently arriving in NC in 1994. Affect on native species is being monitored. They
usually nest in vacated tunnels constructed by carpenter bees or holes made in wood by other insects or in hollow stems of bamboo, small spaces between boards of buildings, etc. Since they don’t create any damage themselves they are not really a considered a pest to humans.
Shown on Florida Native Plant: WINGED LOOSESTRIFE (Lythrum alatum var. lanceolatum)
CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus)
Black vultures are social and arrive in groups.
Diet: mainly carrion
Shown on Florida Native Plant: LONGLEAF PINE TREE (Pinus palustris)
My take: http://www.beautifulwildlifegarden.com/avoiding-conflict-with-natures-cleanup-crew.html
CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Speckled Sharpshooter (Paraulacizes irrorata)
Sharpshooters can be a pest of plants.
Natural enemies include mantids, dragonflies, spiders; the eggs of sharpshooters are parasitized by wasps in the Gonatocerus genus. Some are also attacked by fungus.
Shown on Florida Native Plant: Bidens alba
CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Dictyopharid Planthopper (Rhynchomitra microrhina)
Plant and leaf hoppers may eat plant materials, but generally cause minimal damage. so put away the chemicals and let natural enemies (lady beetles, lacewings, damsel bugs, spiders, birds) do the pest control.
Larval host: Cephalanthus occidentalis L. (buttonbush, Rubiaceae), Eragrostis curvula (Schrad.) Nees (weeping lovegrass, Poaceae), Hibiscus moscheutos L. (crimsoneyed rosemallow, Malvaceae)
CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Jagged Ambush Bug (Phymata fasciata)
Predatory; Beneficial with their big chunky arms. Although they sometimes grab other beneficials, they arent fussy and will do in thrips and other pest insects. To me they always look like they are smiling.
Shown on Florida Native Plant: ROSY CAMPHORWEED (Pluchea baccharis)
CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Gray Hairstreak Butterfly (Strymon melinus)
Multiple larval host plants, many in the pea and Desmodium families
Shown on Florida Native Plant: CAROLINA REDROOT (Lachnanthes caroliana)
CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Northern Bobwhite Quail (Colinus virginianus)
Northern bobwhite eat primarily seeds, fruits, and insects, as well as new plant growth in the spring.
Florida Native Plant Virginia Buttonweed (Diodia virginiana) is a recommended plant to encourage bobwhites in your garden (source: http://www.uaex.edu/publications/pdf/MP506.pdf)
My take: http://www.beautifulwildlifegarden.com/a-tale-of-quail.html
CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Clouded Crimson Moth Caterpillar (Schinia gaurae)
looks like an anorexic Monarch caterpillar
Larval host: SOUTHERN BEEBLOSSOM (Oenothera simulans)
Shown on Florida Native Plant: SOUTHERN BEEBLOSSOM (Oenothera simulans) (synonym: Gaura angustifolia), the larval host.
My take: http://www.beautifulwildlifegarden.com/just-in-time-for-national-moth-week.html
CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Black and Yellow Mud Dauber Wasp (Sceliphron caementarium)
Spotted in a dried portion of the pond bed, these two must be preparing for nesting season.
As name implies, they make their nests out of mud. They bring in spiders to lay their eggs on. adults take nectar.