Archive

Monthly Archives: July 2016

CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Variegated Fritillary Butterfly (Euptoieta claudia)

Had to chase this infrequent visitor to catch even a blurred photo as it sought nectar from the Bidens alba flowers. I’m hoping that I find some offspring on my Passiflora incarnata which is about 10 feet away.

Larval host: Herbaceous plants and Vinesincluding Purple Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) and violets (Viola spp.) source: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/uw057

Learn: http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/species/Euptoieta-claudia

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

Better photos from past years:

laying eggs on passiflora incarnata in 2012

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Southern Sprite Damselfly (Nehalennia integricollis)

female. Genus as well as species are new to my buggy life list.

damselflies are predatory in both adult and larval stages.

“This is one of the smallest and least studied sprites occurring in North America.”

Learn: http://www.odonatacentral.org/index.php/FieldGuideAction.get/id/43210

Shown on Florida Native Plant: GOLDENROD (Solidago sp. likely fistulosa)

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Long-jawed Orb Weaver Spider (Leucauge argyra)

This smart Female had a beautiful web set up above goldenrod which was abuzz with various tidbits to eat including flies and beetles. Quite shiny! from certain angles this spider appeared silver and doesn’t seem to have a common name. It is often mistaken for an Orchard Spider (L. venusta).

Learn: http://rolemodel.uprm.edu/student-outcomes/zoology/reports/Leucauge-argyra-Page-Mendez-Bermudez-Spring2009.pdf

web structure: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23070803?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Imitator Wave Moth (Scopula aemulata)

New to my life list this one was resting on the outside of the kitchen window when I woke up the other day. Submitted to Butterflies and Moths of North America database making it the first record added for my county which will put it on the countywide checklist.
http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/sighting_details/1090263

Family Geometridae – Geometrid Moths
Subfamily Sterrhinae
Tribe Scopulini

(source of common name is wikipedia)

Can’t find any larval host information on this one.

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY:

“Larvae are believed to eat plant material in decaying wood, etc. Some are leaf and stem miners. Some are predaceous. Adults visit flowers.”

Learn: http://bugguide.net/node/view/144

9 species documented in the Florida State Collection of Arthropods (source: http://www.fsca-dpi.org/Coleoptera/Mike/mordell.htm)

Learn host associations for this genus: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4009273 pages 361-368 (account needed to access all pages, available for free)

Shown on Florida Native Plant: ROSY CAMPHORWEED (Pluchea baccharis)

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

resident breeding populations occur year-round in central and south Florida

Learn: https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/wildflowers/butterfly/monarch/

Shown on Florida Native Plant: Bidens alba

Larval host: Various milkweed including White Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias perennis), Butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa), and Pineland Milkweed (Asclepias humistrata)

monarchOakJuly2016Ventral

it flew onto a interior laurel oak branch to cool off

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Glassy-winged Sharpshooter (Homalodisca vitripennis)

This interesting looking and colorful leafhopper is a distant relative of the Cicada although miniscule in comparison. This species can be a major pest outside their native range as they are a vector for Pierce’s disease which affects wine grapes. Unfortunately, the insect was transported into California likely by the nursery trade. (an example of why not to swap plants outside your region). Things are safe at my place because it is native to the southeast and mom nature has natural controls to keep the peace.

parasitic wasps and a fungus that is in the southeast are being explored as biocontrols.

“Muscadine grapes are resistant, and may someday provide resistant rootstocks for the grape industry.”

Learn: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/fruit/glassywinged_sharpshooter.htm

Shown on Florida Native Plant: GOLDENROD (Solidago sp. likely fistulosa)

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

Without getting into the bush katydids personal business, it is difficult to accurately determine species.

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.

Learn: http://bugguide.net/node/view/7130

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

Shown on Florida Native Plant: GOLDENROD (Solidago sp. likely fistulosa)

My take: Insects: Bush Katydid
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 Lynx Spider (Peucetia viridans)

This spider does not construct a web capturing prey by grabbing it when it gets close. It will capture pest insects but also will be found with pollinators in its clutches which may upset some, but I’ve seen it with stink bugs and leaffooted bugs and similar so it is quite beneficial in my book.

Learn: http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston/beneficials/beneficial-48_green_lynx_spider.htm

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

Shown on Florida Native Plant: STINKING CAMPHORWEED (Pluchea foetida)

My take: Lynx Spiders: It’s a boy and a girl and a boy etc….
http://osceolaflgardenblahblahblog.blogspot.com/2010/10/lynx-spiders-its-boy-and-girl-and-boy.html

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Gulf Fritillary Butterfly (Agraulis vanillae)

Learn: https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/wildflowers/butterfly/gulf-fritillary/

Shown on Florida Native Plant: GIANT IRONWEED (Vernonia gigantea)

Larval host: PURPLE PASSIONFLOWER (Passiflora incarnata) and other Passiflora spp.

My take: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2017/08/14/fritillary-butterfly-gone-rogue/

mating pair:

https://centralfloridacritteroftheday.wordpress.com/2014/06/19/gulf-fritillary-butterfly-agraulis-vanillae-mating/#comments

gulffritcatMaypopJuly2016

Gulf Fritillary Butterfly caterpillar on larval host Passiflora incarnata

 

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Red-marked Pachodynerus Mason Wasp (Pachodynerus erynnis)

Use caterpillars as larval hosts including many pest species. a.k.a. Red and Black Mason Wasp

Learn: http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston/beneficials/beneficial-39_red_and_black_mason_wasp.htm

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

My take: Spring Nesting Season Isnt Just for Birds
https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2017/02/07/spring-nesting-season-isnt-just-for-birds/

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Leaffooted Bug (Leptoglossus phyllopus) mating

May be a pest of fruit bearing trees and shrubs but has a place in the circle of life.

eggs feed parasitoids include important pollinators such as chalacid and other parasitic wasps (Gryon spp. and Ooencyrtus sp.)
egg predators include: fire ants and tree crickets.
adult predators include spiders (personal observation) see photo below.

Learn: http://sites.duke.edu/dukeinsects/insect-orders/hemiptera/leptoglossus-phyllopus

“Indigenous insect parasitoids and predators are important sources of mortality for herbivorous insect pests (Smith & Mittler 1967, Batra 1982, Jones 1982). Often, however, the effectiveness of these entomophagous species is limited in the field by insecticides (DeBach 1974).” (source: Mumuni Abudulai, B. Merle Shepard, and Paula L. Mitchel, Parasitism and Predation on Eggs of Leptoglossus phyllopus (L.) (Hemiptera: Coreidae) in Cowpea: Impact of Endosulfan Sprays)

Shown on Florida Native Plant: AMERICAN BEAUTYBERRY (Callicarpa americana).

From Sept 2013:

lynxLeaffootSept2013

preyed on by Green Lynx Spider (Peucetia viridans)

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Flatid Planthopper (Flatoidinus sp. likely punctatus)

New to my buggy life list, this planthopper is apparently not a common find. They eat plant material and may choose specific larval hosts. Since sparkleberry is a relatively new addition to my garden, it might explain why I never saw one before.

Superfamily Fulgoroidea – Planthoppers
Family Flatidae – Flatid Planthoppers
Subfamily Flatoidinae

Learn: http://canr.udel.edu/planthoppers/north-america/north-american-flatidae/genus-flatoidinus-melichar-1923/

Shown on Florida Native Plant: SPARKLEBERRY; FARKLEBERRY (Vaccinium arboreum)
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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Florida Softshell Turtle (Apalone ferox)

“…primarily carnivorous, feeding on snails, insects, fish, crayfish, and occasionally clams and tetrapod vertebrates; part of this may represent scavenging.”
“… predators include foxes, raccoons, skunks and fish crows, while hatchlings and juveniles may be consumed by raptors and various other predators. Adults are very occasionally taken by alligators”

Learn: http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/165597/0

Shown swimming amid Florida Native Plant: American White Waterlily (Nymphaea odorata)

My take: When Wildlife Moves On

https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2015/09/01/when-wildlife-moves-on/

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Milkweed Assassin Bug (Zelus longipes)

Fear not, it doesnt attack your milkweed, it is just mimics the same color as the pest insect commonly called a milkweed bug.

These assassins are beneficial predators of “soft bodied bugs including mosquitoes, flies, earthworms, cucumber beetles and caterpillar pests (armyworm, rootworm)”

Learn: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/beneficial/bugs/zelus_longipes.htm

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

My take: Killer in Our MidstThe Assassin Bug
http://web.archive.org/web/20120115214302/http://www.beautifulwildlifegarden.com/killer-in-our-midstthe-assassin-bug.html

Take 2: Hit Men in the Native Plant Garden
https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2016/08/14/hit-men-in-the-native-plant-garden/

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Swamp Cicada (Neotibicen tibicen)

This species is likely Neotibicen tibicen australis which has the common name » “Southern Dusky-winged cicada” or “Southern Swamp Cicada” an annual species. Periodical cicadas do not occur in Florida.

There has been a recent taxonomic change to the Family Cicadidae – Cicadas

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.

Learn: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in602

Shown on Florida Native Plant: AMERICAN ELDER; ELDERBERRY (Sambucus nigra L. subsp. canadensis)

My take: You say Ci-KAY-da and I say Ci-kAHHH-da

http://web.archive.org/web/20131005185550/http://www.beautifulwildlifegarden.com/you-say-ci-kay-da-and-i-say-ci-kahhh-da.html

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Blue Dasher Dragonfly (Pachydiplax longipennis)

This one is transitioning into adulthood as can be seen from the coloration. Dragonflies are predatory in both adult and larval stages. Leave some taller, dry plant debris from your Florida native plants as perches for these beauties

Diet: insects, aquatic larvae such as mosquitoes

Learn: http://www.odonatacentral.org/index.php/FieldGuideAction.get/id/47452

My take:

https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2016/06/21/a-dozen-dragonflies/

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