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Monthly Archives: April 2017

CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis)

american alligator

This big guy (at least 6 foot) was walking around in my next door neighbor’s yard last evening looking along the fence line for a way out.  Drought + mating season = alligators showing up where they normally would not.  Not sure how this fella wound up in their fenced yard.

He was a tad camera shy and walked away in the opposite direction when I started taking photos.

He will likely move on because there is no water source at my neighbors…even my pond has gone dry.  Last time I saw an alligator in our yards was back in 2013 when we also were experiencing lack of rainfall.  At that time one found comfort in my pond for a brief time, but it wasn’t anywhere near the size of this guy who was scary big.

Learn: http://myfwc.com/media/152524/alligator-brochure.pdf

My take: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2015/10/21/big-guns-in-the-wildlife-garden/

scary BIG!

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY:

Mordella sp. on Oakleaf Fleabane

Tiny. about 1/4 inch.

“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

Learn more: http://texasinsects.tamu.edu/bimg162.html

http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/1987-02-14/business/0110070069_1_flower-beetle-beetle-species-tumbling-flower

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: OAKLEAF FLEABANE (Erigeron quercifolius) 

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY:  Satellite Fly

Satellite Fly on Oakleaf Fleabane

New to my buggy life list.

A member of the Flesh Flies family (Sarcophagidae)
Subfamily Miltogramminae
Kleptoparasites of wasps. They are called satellite flies because of their habit of tracking sphecid wasps looking for nest provisions. Where ever the wasp goes the fly is sure to follow hovering behind until the wasp finds its prey and brings it to the nest location.

Learn: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00098813/00041/43j

“This group of flies has a rather interesting way of reproducing. Unlike most insects, they don’t lay eggs. Instead of eggs, they lay young larvae which immediately begin feeding. This puts them at an advantage over the wasp eggs, which must incubate a few days to a few weeks before they hatch.”

Learn: https://askentomologists.com/2015/04/01/the-perfect-april-fools-day-post-whats-going-on-in-this-video/

Adults pollinate.

Shown on Florida Native Plant: OAKLEAF FLEABANE (Erigeron quercifolius)


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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Fiery Skipper Butterfly (Hylephila phyleus)

Many thanks to @AndyBugGuy for the identification of this female.

Learn: https://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/wings/completeButterflyInfo.asp?id=49

Larval host: grasses

Shown on Florida Native Plant: OAKLEAF FLEABANE (Erigeron quercifolius)

My take: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2015/09/12/skip-skip-skip-to-my-lou/

More photos from prior years:

Fiery Skipper on Bidens alba

Fiery Skipper on Bidens alba

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Whirlabout Skipper Butterfly (Polites vibex)

Polites vibex on Oakleaf Fleabane

Learn: https://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/wings/completeButterflyInfo.asp?id=67

Larval host: grasses

Shown on Florida Native Plant: OAKLEAF FLEABANE (Erigeron quercifolius)

My take: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2015/09/12/skip-skip-skip-to-my-lou/

More photos from prior years:

From March 2014 Mating on grasses

From September 2015 on Bidens alba

Dorsal view from September 2013

September 2013 on Sedge

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