Monthly Archives: November 2017

CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY:  Common Oblique Syrphid Fly (Allograpta obliqua)

Also commonly called hover fly or flower fly.  Adults pollinate

larvae are important predators, feeding primarily on aphids. “When larval populations are high they may reduce aphid populations by 70 to 100%”


In turn the larvae is a food source for several species of wasps.

How to distinguish species:

Shown on Florida Native Plant: GROUNDSEL TREE; SEA MYRTLE (Baccharis halimifolia)

Common Oblique Syrphid (Allograpta obliqua)

My take: Don’t Swat that Fly


CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Great Pondhawk Dragonfly (Erythemis vesiculosa)

Great Pondhawk (Erythemis vesiculosa)

New to my buggy lifelist. Dragonflies are predatory in both adult and larval stages. Leave some taller, dry plant debris from your Florida native plants as perches. This species tends to fly low to the ground.

Diet: insects, aquatic larvae such as mosquitoes


Adult Key to the Odonate Families of Florida:

Shown on Florida native plant: PILLPOD SANDMAT (Euphorbia hirta)

My take:


CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Salt Marsh Moth Caterpillar (Estigmene acrea)

Native hosts include Dogfennel, Pillpod Sandmat and other potentially aggressive species.

Serves as a host for other species such as tachinid flies and Hymenopterans (Bees, Wasps and Sawflies) which parasitized the eggs/larvae.

Larvae feed on a variety of plants including “cash crops”, so not a favorite with farmers.

Coloring can be highly variable:


Learn more:

Shown on Florida Native Plant: PILLPOD SANDMAT (Euphorbia hirta)



walking between the Florida native White Waterlilies in my pond.

diet: “eats mainly small fish but also eats amphibians, reptiles, birds, small mammals and invertebrates such as crayfish, prawns, shrimp, polychaete worms, isopods, dragonflies and damselflies, whirligig beetles, giant water bugs, and grasshoppers”


Learn more:

My take: Big Winter Birds


CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Darkling Beetle (Bothrotes canaliculatus acutus)

new to my buggy life list.  Darkling Beetles, as scavengers, are usually found in dark locations such as under debris, logs or stones.  This guy must have been “slumming”. They are members of the Tenebrionidae Family.

I arrived at the subspecies given the metallic luster based on this key:


Checklist of Eastern US Tenebrionidae:

Shown on Florida Native Plant: SHYLEAF (Aeschynomene americana) 

A study indicated the genus may feed on moth larvae:

“Species found preying on Mocis larvae were a Tenebrionid, Bothrotes fortis…”

Bothrotes canaliculatus acutus


CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Saltbush Seed Bug (Ochrimnus mimulus)

New to my buggy life list.  A true bug in the Seed Bugs (Lygaeidae) family, it is a “univoltine seed predator occurring on Baccharis sp. and other Asteraceae (Gould & Sweet 2000)”


Shown on Florida Native Plant GROUNDSEL TREE; SEA MYRTLE (Baccharis halimifolia), a.k.a. Saltbush the preferred larval host.

also reared on solidago and horseweed in a controlled study. source:

“The seed feeding habit of the insect, its oviposition behavior and egg shape appear specifically adapted for Baccharis dwelling.” source:

Ochrimnus mimulus

Select resources:

Gould, Georgianna Grimshaw (1994). The biology and ecology of Ochrimnus mimulus (Stal, 1874): an assessment of its coevolution with Baccharis in Brazos County, Texas. Master’s thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from http: / /hdl .handle .net /1969 .1 /ETD -TAMU -1994 -THESIS -G696.