Archive

Monthly Archives: October 2016

CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus)

Very vocal predator. Diet: small mammals, lizards, snakes, and amphibians, occasionally birds

personal observation reveals they also dine on lubber grasshoppers and sphinx moth caterpillars

Learn: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Red-shouldered_Hawk/lifehistory

Shown on Florida Native Plant: LONGLEAF PINE TREE (Pinus palustris)

My take: Bird-napping, Murder and the Usual Suspects
http://web.archive.org/web/20131020234056/http://www.beautifulwildlifegarden.com/bird-napping-murder-and-the-usual-suspects.html

###

CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Fall Webworm Moth Caterpillar (Hyphantria cunea)

Feeds on multiple species of plants.

“control is seldom necessary because the damage is generally of aesthetic rather than economic importance.”

Fed on by wasps, tachinid flies

Learn: http://bugguide.net/node/view/453

Shown on Florida Native Plant: BALD-CYPRESS (Taxodium distichum)

My take: The Worms Crawl In but Do They Swim?
https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2016/10/31/the-worms-crawl-in-but-do-they-swim/

###

CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Anchor Stink Bug (Stiretrus anchorago)

A predatory stink bug. Beneficial. markings and color can be highly variable.

New to my buggy life list.

“feeds on the larvae of beetles, butterflies, and moths, incl. many pest spp. (notably Mexican Bean Beetle and Japanese Beetle)” source: Bugguide.net

Learn: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/beneficial/stiretrus_anchorago.htm

Learn more: http://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Stiretrus_anchorago/

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

My take: It Just Stinks… or Does It?
https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2019/03/28/it-just-stinksor-does-it/

anchorstinkbuggoldenrodoct2016side

###

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

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

eggs feed parasitoids including 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.

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

Mating pair and Learn more: https://centralfloridacritteroftheday.wordpress.com/2016/07/17/leaffooted-bug-leptoglossus-phyllopus-mating/

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

###

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 Ive 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

and more: http://bugguide.net/node/view/2032

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

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

###

CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Leaf-Cutter Bee (Megachile sp.)

This was initially misidentified as a Cuckoo-leaf-cutter Bee (Coelioxys sp.). See the comment section below regarding the correction.

Pollinator.

Learn: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/misc/bees/leafcutting_bees.htm

https://bugguide.net/node/view/174139

Key: https://entnemdept.ifas.ufl.edu/HallG/Melitto/floridabees/litomegachile.htm

Shown on Florida Native Plant: Bidens alba

###

CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Roseate Skimmer Dragonfly (Orthemis ferruginea)

Male. Predatory in both larval and adult stages. Was landing on the dried stems of Ironweed.

Adult Diet: insects

Learn: http://www.odonatacentral.org/index.php/FieldGuideAction.get/id/47384

Learn more: http://bugguide.net/node/view/2708

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

My take:
A Dozen Dragonflies
https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2016/06/21/a-dozen-dragonflies/

###

CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Citrine Forktail Damselfly (Ischnura hastata)

female. smallest damselfly in North America. Predatory in both larval and adult stages.

Adult Diet: Tiny flying insects

Learn: http://www.odonatacentral.org/index.php/FieldGuideAction.get/id/43072

Learn more: http://bugguide.net/node/view/597

Shown on Florida Native Plant: GROUNDSEL TREE; SEA MYRTLE (Baccharis halimifolia) a.k.a. Saltbush

My take:
Ladies of the Day
http://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2016/09/03/ladies-of-the-day/

###

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

member of the Brushfooted Butterflies Family (Nymphalidae)

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

Larval hosts: maypop (Passiflora incarnata), yellow passion flower (Passiflora lutea), corky-stemmed passion flower (Passiflora suberosa)

Shown on Florida Native Plant: PURPLE PASSIONFLOWER (Passiflora incarnata)

photo of Adult:
https://centralfloridacritteroftheday.wordpress.com/2016/07/19/gulf-fritillary-butterfly-agraulis-vanillae-3/

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

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

###

CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: White Peacock Butterfly (Anartia jatrophae)

member of the Brushfooted Butterflies Family (Nymphalidae)

Learn: http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/wildflower/completebutterflydata.asp?id=31

Larval hosts: water hyssop (Bacopa monnieri), frogfruit (Phyla nodiflora)

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

My take:
When a Peacock isnt a Bird
http://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2017/03/20/when-a-peacock-isnt-a-bird/

###

CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Palm Warbler (Setophaga palmarum)

I’ve been watching this bird all week long snagging insects but also enjoying the seeds of Bidens alba. This is a new bird for me and it caught my eye as it “wagged” its tale which is why I’m pretty confident of this identification. It stays low in the Bidens and as seen in the photo will occasionally hop up on low branches of some shrubs.

A winter resident in Florida.

Diet: Insects; some seeds and fruits in fall and winter.

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

Learn more: http://identify.whatbird.com/obj/335/overview/Palm_Warbler.aspx

Shown on Florida Native Plant: CHICKASAW PLUM (Prunus angustifolia)

###

CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Orchard Orbweaver Spider (Leucauge argyrobapta)

This was originally posted as L. venusta.

Species UPDATE 2018:  “L. argyrobapta is resurrected regaining the status of type species for the genus.” (source:
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1055790317306292?via%3Dihub)

see also: https://wsc.nmbe.ch/species/51479/Leucauge_argyrobapta

orchardspidergoldenrodoct2016.jpg

One of the Long-jawed Orb Weavers (Tetragnathidae). I was surprised to see this one walking on the flowers as they usually are hanging from their large intricate webs. They use several flower stalks to support their webs.

Diet: small insects

Learn: https://bugguide.net/node/view/1587425

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

###

CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Greenhouse Frog (Eleutherodactylus planirostris)

Terrestrial Frog. Exotic (native to Cuba) likely introduced to U.S. through trade. Threat to natives probably minimal as it has natural enemies in snakes. I found this one burrowed inside a crate that was holding some potting soil bags to start my winter veggies.

Diet: Ants, beetles, other tiny invertebrates

Learn: http://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/nonnatives/amphibians/greenhouse-frog/

Learn more: http://ufwildlife.ifas.ufl.edu/frogs/greenhousefrog.shtml

###

CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Southern Green Stink Bug (Nezara viridula) nymph

This one is quite close to adulthood (5th instar). People worry so much that this insect is a pest because it may munch on edible fruits, but here it is controlling the fruits (seeds) of Shyleaf which can be aggressive in the wrong situation. I rarely see stink bugs or their damage on my edibles…could it be because I give a home to Shyleaf in some areas of the yard so they have an alternative crop? Every creature has it’s place in the circle of life….it’s all about balance. Food for thought.

“Parasites, usually wasps and flies, provide biological control of the southern green stink bug” including a tachinid fly, Trichopoda pennipes which parasitizes adults and nymphs. This guy better watch out. I’ve seen those flies at my place.

Learn: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/veg/bean/southern_green_stink_bug.htm

Shown on Florida Native Plant: SHYLEAF (Aeschynomene americana)

###

CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Arabesque Orbweaver Spider (Neoscona arabesca)

One of the Spotted Orbweavers. Don’t let the macro shot scare you…Tiny….about the size of a pencil eraser.

Larval host: Ichneumon Wasp (Acrotaphus wiltii) source: http://bugguide.net/node/view/44031

Diet: insects

Learn: http://bugguide.net/node/view/1991

Shown on Florida Native Plant: SHYLEAF (Aeschynomene americana)

My take:
Dont be Spooked by Spiders
http://web.archive.org/web/20150330133737/http://www.beautifulwildlifegarden.com/dont-be-spooked-by-spiders.html

###

CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Hyacinth Glider Dragonfly (Miathyria marcella)

New to my buggy life list, I may not be overly excited that it has appeared at my place. Seems as Water Hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes), a prohibited invasive aquatic plant spread, so has the range of this beauty, arriving in the U.S. in 1950. So, I fear that somewhere in my neighborhood there is a population of the plants. I will be keeping a watchful eye on my pond although the datasheet indicates that it lays eggs on other aquatic plants. Hopefully my waterlilies caught their eye.

One of the Skimmers (Libellulidae)

Learn: http://www.odonatacentral.org/index.php/FieldGuideAction.get/id/47209

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

CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Black Saddlebags Dragonfly (Tramea lacerata)

Larva is aquatic. Dragonflies are predatory in both larval and adult stages. This one is immature and hasn’t reached it’s final coloring.

Learn: http://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Tramea_lacerata/

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

My take:
A Dozen Dragonflies
https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2016/06/21/a-dozen-dragonflies/

blacksaddlebagsdragonflysideironweedoct2016

###

CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Oak Toad (Anaxyrus quercicus)

formerly Bufo quercicus, this is the smallest North American toad getting be about 1.5 inch max.

Diet: Ants, beetles, centipedes, spiders, and other invertebrates.

Unlike many toads who tend to be more nocturnal, you’ll see these guys quite often during the daylight. He was visiting my driveway which is a mix of native groundcovers including but not limited to spadeleaf, pennywort, frogfuit and various sedges.

Learn: http://ufwildlife.ifas.ufl.edu/frogs/oaktoad.shtml
Learn more: https://web.archive.org/web/20160701213258/http://www.wec.ufl.edu/extension/wildlife_info/frogstoads/anaxyrus_quercicus.php

Spatial and temporal ecology of oak toads (Bufo quercicus) on a Florida landscape: www.srs.fs.usda.gov/pubs/23625

Shown on Florida Native Plant: SPADELEAF (Centella asiatica)

###

CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Obscure Bird Grasshopper (Schistocerca obscura)

DONT THINK PEST, THINK BIRD FOOD! Nymphs of grasshoppers are an important food source for birds especially fledglings who cannot eat seed.

If you maintain a balanced garden and dont use pesticides which can kill the beneficial insects, damage should be minimal to ornamentals.

Tachinid flies (Tachinidae family) are parasites of grasshoppers

Predators: Birds, lizards,mantids, spiders, and rodents eat grasshoppers. (source: http://web.archive.org/web/20150920015140/http://insected.arizona.edu:80/ghopperinfo.htm)

Positive Impact on the Ecosystem:
As herbivores, grasshoppers link plants to the rest of the ecosystem. Frass (droppings) contribute to nutrient turnover by returning nutrients as fertilizer for the plants. They provide food for birds and other arthropods. (ibid.)

Obscure grasshopper, Schistocerca obscura (Fabricius). This species belongs to a group of especially strong fliers called bird grasshoppers. Its taste for certain valuable ornamental plants such as hibiscus often brings it into conflict with humans. (Source: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in010)

Learn more about grasshoppers in Florida: https://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00066916/00001

Shown on Florida native plant AMERICAN ELDER; ELDERBERRY (Sambucus nigra subsp. canadensis)
###