Archive

Monthly Archives: July 2015

CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Flea Beetle (Kuschelina floridana)

New to my life list. Identification based on the fact that it was feeding on BLUEHEARTS which is a also a member of the OROBANCHACEAE family (bugguide.net noted two other genus that are noted as larval hosts http://bugguide.net/node/view/25664/bgimage).

Learn: http://www.aaes.auburn.edu/comm/pubs/bulletins/beetles/kuschelina.php#floridana

Shown on Florida Native Plant: AMERICAN BLUEHEARTS (Buchnera americana)

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Florida Viceroy Butterfly (Limenitis archippus floridensis)

Adult is a mimic of the milkweed butterflies (Monarch and Queen).

Learn: http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/wildflower/completebutterflydata.asp?id=39

subspecies info: http://bugguide.net/node/view/548

Larval host: Larvae feed mainly on leaves of willow (Salix) and poplar and cottonwood (Populus); other hosts include apple (Malus) and cherry (Prunus) (source: bugguide.net)

Adults feed on: Early in the season when few flowers are available Viceroys feed on aphid honeydew, carrion, dung, and decaying fungi. Later generations feed more often at flowers, favoring composites including aster, goldenrod, joe-pye weed, shepherds needle, and Canada thistle (SOURCE: http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/species/Limenitis-archippus)

Range: http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/species/Limenitis-archippus?quicktabs_8=0#quicktabs-8

Shown on Florida Native Plant: MUSCADINE {GRAPE} (Vitis rotundifolia)

My take: http://web.archive.org/web/20121018012351/http://www.beautifulwildlifegarden.com/viceroy-butterfly-puts-up-a-smokescreen.html

Dorsal view shown on Florida Native Plant: LAUREL OAK; DIAMOND OAK (Quercus laurifolia)

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

It’s HERE!!!!!! My first encounter with this beetle. 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.

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: SAWTOOTH BLACKBERRY; PENNSYLVANIA BLACKBERRY (Rubus pensilvanicus)

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Southern Ringneck Snake (Diadophis punctatus punctatus) NON-VENOMOUS, lays eggs. Must be snake week at my place. This is new for my reptile life list. Little and thin so perhaps a hatchling. I nearly missed it on the patio. not the best photo, he was hellbent on getting under the steps once he saw me with a camera.

Learn: http://srelherp.uga.edu/snakes/diapun.htm

Diet: small earthworms, slugs, frogs, anoles, geckos, skinks, snakes, and salamanders (source: http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/herpetology/fl-snakes/list/diadophis-punctatus-punctatus/)

ricknecksnakeJuly2015A###

CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Eastern Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis) NON-VENOMOUS, live-bearing. Tanner the English setter found this guy this morning amid some spanish needles, invasive ferns, azaleas, desmodium sp. I could see he was interested in something beyond sticks. He didn’t bother with it and it didn’t bother with him. These are pretty snakes with a hint of blue coloring.

From personal observation I have seen one of these attempt to eat a cuban treefrog (resulting in death of the treefrog YAY!!!). I’m hoping it continues this diet, although I’m pretty sure it is more enamoured with the southern toads under the house. My take: http://www.beautifulwildlifegarden.com/talk-about-stuffedthe-things-i-find-in-my-garden.html (NOT FOR THE FEINT OF HEART).

Learn: http://srelherp.uga.edu/snakes/thasir.htm

http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/herpetology/fl-snakes/list/thamnophis-sirtalis-sirtalis/

Diet: earthworms, small fishes, frogs, and salamanders

gartersnakeJuly2015Full###

CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Potter Wasp (Eumenes fraternus)

This beneficial gal was just starting to construct her nest. To provision the nest where she will lay one egg, she will gather 1-12 caterpillars and/or beetle larva which she paralizes . Potter wasps can sting but are not aggressive and do not defend their nests. Natural biocontrol at its best.

Learn: http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston/beneficials/beneficial-30_potter_wasp_eumenes.htm

My take: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2018/01/28/ooops-anatomy-of-a-potter-wasp-nest/

This was the nest 2.5 hours later:

potterwaspnestJuly2015

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Green Heron (Butorides virescens)

This beauty was standing on a the original pond bank which will soon disappear when the rains come. Flew over and landed on the tussock before fleeing the area.

Learn: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Green_Heron/lifehistory

Diet: consists mainly of fish but can include insects and frogs and other invertebrates.

Shown standing amongst Florida Native Plants: COMBLEAF MERMAIDWEED (Proserpinaca pectinata) (and others)
against a backdrop of AMERICAN WHITE WATERLILY (Nymphaea odorata)

My take: http://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2017/06/14/being-green-in-the-wildlife-garden/

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Eastern Glass Lizard (Ophisaurus ventralis)

A legless lizard often mistaken for a snake. This guy (or gal) is in the process of regenerating its broken tail. I wonder if it is the one that left a writhing tail for me when a hawk tried to snare one. I’m sure it isn’t since this one was rather tiny compared to the ones I’ve encountered in the past. Based on range map, It could be O. ventralis, Ophisaurus compressus or O. attenuatus. Based on habitat is it likely Eastern Glass Lizard (O. ventralis). The other two species apparently prefer drier habitats than that found at my place.

Learn: http://srelherp.uga.edu/lizards/ophven.htm

Diet: “eat a wide variety of insects, spiders, and other invertebrates as well as small reptiles and probably young rodents” (source: University of Georgia)

Feed on a variety of insects, snails, bird eggs, and small reptiles (source: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/fact_sheet_animal/32242-Ophisaurus%20ventralis/ophisaurus_ventralis.pdf)

My take: Wildlife Deception as a Defense

https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2019/04/07/wildlife-deception-as-a-defense/

video of a headless tail moving: https://youtu.be/pYGX7REMC3w

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must have broken off the tail at some point.  It is regenerating.

must have broken off the tail at some point. It is regenerating.

CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Bush Katydid NYMPH (Scudderia sp.)

This miniscule baby was sitting quietly on the partridge pea.

Without getting into the bush katydids personal business, it is difficult to accurately determine species.
Looking at the range maps it is either S. curvicauda, S. cuneata, S. furcata or S. texensis.

Learn: http://www.entnemdept.ufl.edu/walker/buzz/064pj1.htm

These Katydids eat plants and also lay their eggs between the epidermal layers of leaves.

Given that information you might consider it a pest BUT its benefit is in what it provides for those further up the food chain, including: Food for birds, especially baby birds. The eggs are larval host for pollinating wasps. Other predators include: spiders, ants, mantids, tree frogs and bats.

Shown on Florida Native Plant: PARTRIDGE PEA (Chamaecrista fasciculata)

My take: http://web.archive.org/web/20140712185136/http://www.beautifulwildlifegarden.com/insects-bush-katydid.html

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Green Lacewing Eggs (Family Chrysopidae)

The eggs are at the end of thin strings. These were deposited in a spiral pattern (see photo inset)

larval and adults are beneficial predators of other insects.

Learn: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/BENEFICIAL/green_lacewings.htm

Shown on Florida Native Plant: SAW PALMETTO (Serenoa repens)

My take: http://web.archive.org/web/20130722103253/http://www.beautifulwildlifegarden.com/the-tatting-of-the-lacewing.html

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Black Stink Bug (Proxys punctulatus)

“Although the black stink bug is a phytophagous species, it can also be predaceous, and has been found attacking insect larvae in cotton.” ( polyphagous: Feeding on many different kinds of food)

Learn: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/misc/bugs/black_stink_bug.htm

Shown on Florida Native Plant: PAINTEDLEAF; FIRE-ON-THE-MOUNTAIN (Poinsettia cyathophora)

My take: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2019/03/28/it-just-stinksor-does-it/

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Southern Black Racer Snake (Coluber constrictor priapus)

This LONNNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGGGGGG beauty was on the hunt in the back area of the property having ventured out from underneath some SHAGGY HEDGEHYSSOP (Gratiola pilosa).

Learn: http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/herpetology/fl-snakes/list/coluber-constrictor-priapus

Diet: frogs, lizards, snakes, rodents, birds, eggs

My take: http://web.archive.org/web/20131108140945/http://www.beautifulwildlifegarden.com/a-race-to-the-end.html
Take 2: http://web.archive.org/web/20140207164833/http://www.beautifulwildlifegarden.com/the-water-system-as-habitat.html

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Crab Spider (Mecaphesa sp.)

These spiders ambush prey as opposed to using a web to capture. Sometimes referred to as flower spiders. Wide variety of colors which often will match the color of the flower they are hiding on.

May ambush some bees, but overall considered beneficial as they are biocontrol for some pest species and food for those up the food chain.

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: WINGED LOOSESTRIFE (Lythrum alatum var. lanceolatum)

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Florida Leatherleaf Slug (Leidyula floridana) I One of the native Mollusca who function mostly as decomposers so are beneficial. “Florida’s generally sandy soil is not conducive to slugs, but they occur where organic matter is abundant, and of course the generally humid conditions favor slug survival.” (source: UF IFAS) soooo, if slugs are a problem in your yard, seems the solution would be to forego all the fertilizers necessary to keep exotics in peak condition and plant native plants which are adapted to the existing soils.

Learn: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/misc/gastro/slugs_of_florida.htm

My take: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2018/07/11/feeling-sluggish/

If placed on their back they quickly roll over.

If placed on their back they quickly roll over.

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