CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Carolina Saddlebags Dragonfly (Tramea carolina)
These guys and gals are always perching about 5-6 feet off the ground and surprisingly away from the pond area. Leave some tall, dried vegetation or thin dead branches as a landing site. This one was hovering and landing in the brambles of the Florida Native Plant BLACKBERRY (Rubus sp.).
CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Thread-waisted Wasp (Ammophila pictipennis)
They provision their ground nests with Lepidoptera or sawfly larvae, many considered pest species of cash crops. (http://natl.ifas.ufl.edu/biota/sphecid_wasps.php)
Learn more: http://bugeric.blogspot.com/2010/11/wasp-wednesday-ammophila-pictipennis.html
Shown on Florida Native Plant: TALL ELEPHANTSFOOT (Elephantopus elatus)
CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Tachinid fly (Gonia crassicornis)
Beneficial: Parasitic Fly. controls pest caterpillars of cash crops (think armyworm!) which they use as food for their developing larva. The larvae of this one apparently also feed on May beetles. (source: https://bugguide.net/node/view/1041335)
Shown on Florida Native Plant: TICKSEED (Coreopsis sp.)
See also: http://calhouncountywaspsandflies.org/Gonia-crassicornis/
CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Broad-headed Bug (Hyalymenus sp. possibly longispinus)
Sort of new to my buggy life list. I discovered one last year on the same plant but never got around to identifying it. It is one of the leatherbugs which are plant feeders.
There are three species in this genus that are endemic to Florida. One that occurs in TX has the common name bow-legged bug which is apropo.
“it is not possible to reliably identify the species in this genus” (source: Key to Florida Alydidae (Hemiptera: Heteroptera) and selected exotic pest species. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/303722336_Key_to_Florida_Alydidae_Hemiptera_Heteroptera_and_selected_exotic_pest_species [accessed Jun 17 2018].
Shown on Florida Native Plant: SOUTHERN BEEBLOSSOM (Oenothera simulans)
CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Gray Hairstreak Butterfly (Strymon melinus)
Multiple larval host plants, many in the pea and Desmodium families
Shown on Florida Native Plant: BLACKROOT (Pterocaulon pycnostachyum)