Archive

Monthly Archives: August 2016

CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Two-lined Spittlebug (Prosapia bicincta)

This species of spittle bug can be damaging to St. Augustinegrass grass, which speaks well for eliminating your lawn or setting one up with a more diverse selection of native grasses. In my natural setting I don’t notice any damage.

County extension services reports that No chemicals or biological agents are currently registered for control of spittlebugs on pasture. So pouring chemicals on your grass in the hopes of getting rid of them is only killing the environment. They are in protective spittle, so the poison never reaches them. There are also no known effective natural enemies of spittlebugs. Burning the thatch is an effective method of control….just like mother nature intended but that is best left to professionals knowledgeable in prescribed burns.

Soooooo, remove thatch and dial down the amount of area you allot for lawn or allow more varieties of green ground covers to grow together and eliminate a monoculture that will show damage.

Learn: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ag242

Shown on Florida Native Plant: BLUESTEM GRASS (Andropogon sp.)

Photo from 2010 just prior to emerging:

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Sycamore Lace Bug (Corythucha ciliata)

New to my buggy life list. This native, miniscule true bug feeds on leaves.

larval host: sycamore

Learn: http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/creatures/trees/sycamore_lace_bug.htm

Shown on Florida Native Plant: AMERICAN SYCAMORE; AMERICAN PLANETREE (Platanus occidentalis)

key: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/choate/tingidae.pdf

photos of nymphs:

sycamorelacebugnymphsAug2016

Sycamore Lace Bug nymphs are about the size of a pinhead

sycamorelacebugnymphAug2016

closeup of a single sycamore lace bug nymph

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Aphids (Likely Uroleucon sp.)

Too many people worry about aphids on their ornamental plants in the garden. My theory is that this comes, in part, because aphids on a houseplant can lead to the demise of the plant because there are no aphid predators flying around the inside of your house to control the problem. This is not the case of the outside, natural world of your garden.

Aphids are much like butterflies in that they flock to particular host plants. I identified mine by using the aphid host database and looking up Solidago fistulosa: http://www.aphidsonworldsplants.info/C_HOSTS_Seq_Sop.htm#Solidago

They are an important food source for many arthropods who will find them in good time. This photo reflects the initial find of the aphids. Less than a week later I have scads of ladybug and lacewing larva clearing the stems and few aphids are left. The plant is fine. A balanced garden maintains itself. Had I washed them off or squished them there would be less predators to handle other potential pests.

Family Aphididae – Aphids
Subfamily Aphidinae
Tribe Macrosiphini
Genus Uroleucon
Subgenus Lambersius

You can see an outstanding photo of a winged adult here: http://bugguide.net/node/view/451333/bgimage

Larval host: goldenrod

Shown on Florida Native Plant: PINEBARREN GOLDENROD (Solidago fistulosa)

My take:
Aphids are Good? Wait.WHAT???
http://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2015/08/05/aphids-are-good-wait-what/

Aphids molt several times and leave their exoskelton (skin) behind:

aphidExoskeletonGoldenrodAug2016

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

This species of ladybug is native to Florida.
Diet: aphids. The larval stage may be even more beneficial than as adults since the larvae have voracious appetities. If you wash your aphids off your ornamental plants, you remove the food source for the beneficial so they will go elsewhere to reproduce. Be patient.

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: PINEBARREN GOLDENROD (Solidago fistulosa)

ladybuglarvaeggsGoldenrodAug2016

One Egg hatches

a.k.a. Blood-Red Ladybird Beetle

ladybuglarvaGoldenrodAug2016

The balance hatch. You can see that there are already exoskeletons from aphids. If there were no aphids these guys would starve

My take: There are Different Types of Ladybugs? (includes side by side photos to tell the exotic from our native species)
http://web.archive.org/web/20150203103908/http://www.beautifulwildlifegarden.com/there-are-different-types-of-ladybugs.html

ladybuglarvaPreyGoldenrodAug2016

As the larva grows it moves on to bigger bounty such as the cocoon of a leaf eating goldenrod beetle.

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Rice Stink Bug (Oebalus pugnax)

larval host: “grasses (including wheat, rice, corn, and other crops); may attack caterpillars”

Learn: http://bugguide.net/node/view/15343

“Stink bugs have many general and specific natural enemies. Rice stink bug eggs are often attacked by egg parasites, particularly Telonomus sp. (Scelionidae). Stink bugs are also attacked by a variable group of insect predators. A benbicid wasp (Bicyrtes quadrifasciata) provisions its subterranean nests with green stink bugs and other pentatomids. The assassin bug (Zelus bilobus) feeds on nymphs as well as adults. Among several species of spiders….”
(source: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in1009)

From 2013: circle of life in action….feeds spiders:

My take: It Just Stinks…or Does It?

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

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Pygmy Chafer Beetle (Strigoderma pygmaea)

I’m thinking this tiny coleoptera is there to munch on the seeds of the spent Bidens alba. Possibly mom nature keeping things in balance so not as many seeds are spread?

Family Scarabaeidae – Scarab Beetles
Subfamily Rutelinae – Shining Leaf Chafers
Tribe Anomalini

Adults in the Subfamily Rutelinae (Shining Leaf Chafers) feed on foliage and fruit. Larvae feed on roots and decaying vegetation. http://bugguide.net/node/view/12432

Shown on Florida Native Plant: Bidens alba

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Palamedes Swallowtail Butterfly Caterpillar (Papilio palamedes)

Learn: http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/wildflower/completebutterflydata.asp?id=2

Larval host: Red bay (Persea borbonia), swamp bay (Persea palustris), silk bay (Persea humilis)

Shown on Florida Native Plant: SWAMP BAY (Persea sp. likely palustris)

photo of Adult: https://centralfloridacritteroftheday.wordpress.com/2014/07/19/palamedes-swallowtail-butterfly-papilio-palamedes/

Egg (photo from 2010):

My take:

Will the Palamedes Swallowtail Butterfly Survive?
http://web.archive.org/web/20150316163152/http://www.beautifulwildlifegarden.com/will-the-palamedes-swallowtail-butterfly-survive.html

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Horace’s Duskywing Butterfly (Erynnis horatius)

Male. One of the spreadwing skippers (Family Hesperiidae)

Learn: http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/species/Erynnis-horatius

Larval host: Various oaks (Quercus spp.) including Myrtle Oak (Quercus myrtifolia), Water Oak (Quercus nigra), Live Oak (Quercus virginiana), and Turkey Oak (Quercus laevis)

photo of Female: https://centralfloridacritteroftheday.wordpress.com/2014/09/22/horaces-duskywing-butterfly-erynnis-horatius/

Shown on Florida Native Plant: Bidens alba

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

Male. miniscule.

Female: https://centralfloridacritteroftheday.wordpress.com/2014/12/03/jumping-spider-hentzia-palmarum/

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: PINEBARREN GOLDENROD (Solidago fistulosa)

My take: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2019/05/22/itzy-and-bitzynew-spiders-for-me/
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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Mobile Groundling Moth caterpillar (Condica mobilis)

New to my buggy life list. My encounter was submitted and accepted to add this species to the Osceola county checklist at butterfliesandmoths.com

Learn: http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/species/Condica-mobilis

lifecycle: http://bugguide.net/node/view/194276

central player in the circle of life as it is parasitized by Braconid Wasps (Microgastrinae sp.)

Larval host: Bidens spp.

Shown on Florida Native Plant: Bidens alba

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Wolf Spider with Spiderlings

Not the best photo, but it was dark when this gal walked across the patio. My first encounter with the babies actually on mom’s abdomen.

Family: Lycosidae
Female (of course)

Wolf Spiders drag their egg sacs behind them from the spinnerets (which are close to that spiders butt). They then carry the hatched spiderlings on their back.

http://bugguide.net/node/view/493042

She was a pretty good size:

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Hawaiian Beet Webworm Moth (Spoladea recurvalis)

My encounter was submitted and accepted to add this species to the Osceola county checklist at butterfliesandmoths.com

Learn: http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/species/Spoladea-recurvalis

Larval host: beets, chard, spinach, and various weeds such as Amaranthus and Chenopodium species

Learn more: http://bugguide.net/node/view/9731

Shown on Florida Native Plant: Bidens alba

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Elongate Twig Ant (Pseudomyrmex gracilis)

Circle of life. My Bidens alba has had a bevy of signal flies mining honeydew from the aphids and leafhoppers. Although the ant is not a Florida native, he is helping keep a balance.

Learn: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/misc/ants/elongate_twig_ant.htm

Shown on Florida Native Plant: Bidens alba

My take:

Ant Supermodels in the Garden? https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2020/02/26/ant-supermodels-in-the-garden/

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Sunflower Spittlebug (Clastoptera xanthocephala)

New to my buggy lifelist. I FINALLY was able to get a photo that I could use for identification. These are the size of a pinhead. I had several days of chasing this far-jumping miniscule creature on my PINEBARREN GOLDENROD (Solidago fistulosa) only to be disappointed by a series of severely blurry shots that didn’t aid in identification. I had seen “spittle” on the goldenrod recently but never put two and two together since I always encountered more beefy size spittle bugs. Live and learn. There was no noticeable damage to the goldrod besides the spittle goo which would easily wash off if I were so inclined.

Learn: http://bugguide.net/node/view/666226

Research paper on insects found on goldenrod in gainesville FL indicates this species is common, larva and adults, stem, sucking, P = Polyphagous: feed also on families other than Asteraceae. source: http://journals.fcla.edu/flaent/article/view/59040/56719 page 6

Shown on Florida Native Plant: NUTGRASS; NUTRUSH (Scleria spp.)
https://whatfloridanativeplantisbloomingtoday.wordpress.com/2013/05/08/nutgrass-nutrush-scleria-spp-likely-triglomerata/

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