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)
CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Sheetweb Spider (Florinda coccinea)
This tiny red spider is a member of the Sheetweb Spiders family (Linyphiinae). Easily overlooked in the garden, the best time to see them is early morning when the dew forms on their grass-based webs and glistens in the sun. Food for birds. predator to other insects.
Learn more: http://www.uky.edu/Ag/CritterFiles/casefile/spiders/sheet/sheet.htm#fcoccinea
Shown on Florida Native Plant: TURKEY TANGLE FOGFRUIT; CAPEWEED (Phyla nodiflora)
CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Southern Leopard Frog (Lithobates sphenocephalus)
One of the larger aquatic frogs.
Diet: insects, crayfish, other aquatic invertebrates
My take: http://web.archive.org/web/20140713174525/http://www.beautifulwildlifegarden.com/a-leopard-is-loose-in-my-garden.html
CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Black Stink Bug (Proxys punctulatus)
“Although the black stink bug is a phytophagous species, it can also be predaceous, and has been found attacking insect larvae in cotton.” ( polyphagous: Feeding on many different kinds of food)
Shown on Florida Native Plant: BLUEJACKET; OHIO SPIDERWORT (Tradescantia ohiensis)
My take: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2019/03/28/it-just-stinksor-does-it/
CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Clouded Crimson Moth Caterpillar (Schinia gaurae)
looks like an anorexic Monarch caterpillar. This one was tiny….very early instar.
Larval host: SOUTHERN BEEBLOSSOM (Oenothera simulans)
Shown on Florida Native Plant: SOUTHERN BEEBLOSSOM (Oenothera simulans) (synonym: Gaura angustifolia), the larval host.
My take: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2017/07/27/just-in-time-for-national-moth-week-2014/
CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Blue Dasher Dragonfly (Pachydiplax longipennis)
Dragonflies are predatory in both adult and larval stages. Leave some taller, dry plant debris or thin dead branches as perches.
Shown on Florida Native Plant: CHICKASAW PLUM (Prunus angustifolia)
Diet: insects, aquatic larvae such as mosquitoes
CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Florida Viceroy Butterfly (Limenitis archippus floridensis)
Adult is a mimic of the milkweed butterflies (Monarch and Queen).
subspecies info: http://bugguide.net/node/view/548
Larval host: Larvae feed mainly on leaves of willow (Salix) and poplar and cottonwood (Populus); other hosts include apple (Malus) and cherry (Prunus) (source: bugguide.net)
Adults feed on: Early in the season when few flowers are available Viceroys feed on aphid honeydew, carrion, dung, and decaying fungi. Later generations feed more often at flowers, favoring composites including aster, goldenrod, joe-pye weed, shepherds needle, and Canada thistle (SOURCE: http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/species/Limenitis-archippus)
Shown on Florida Native Plant: SWAMP BAY (Persea palustris)
My take: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2017/03/21/viceroy-butterfly-puts-up-a-smokescreen/
CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Gulf Fritillary Butterfly Caterpillar (Agraulis vanillae)
member of the Brushfooted Butterflies Family (Nymphalidae)
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)
Mating Pair From June 2014:
CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Corn Snake (Pantherophis guttatus)
a.k.a. Eastern Corn Snake, Chicken Snake, Red Rat Snake
NON-VENOMOUS. Caught this beauty eating the eggs in the Ground Dove’s nest..
Diet: lizards, frogs, rodents, and birds and their eggs.
Shown on Florida native Plant: Saltbush (Baccharis halimifolia)
My take: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2018/06/04/nothing-goes-to-waste-in-a-wildlife-garden/
Big and beefy, the bottom has very interestingl markings
CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: White Checkered-Skipper Butterfly (Pyrgus albescens)
host plants include many species of mallows (Malvaceae); in my yard that would likely be Sida spp.
My take: http://osceolaflgardenblahblahblog.blogspot.com/2011/06/blur-of-butterfly-missed-opportunity.html
CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) Juvenile
I think this one may be a earlier brood sibling of those nestlings found this week in one of my wax myrtles.
Beautiful bird with distinctive call. The males are bright red, the females a more subdued reddish brown as are the juveniles.
Shown on Florida Native Plant: AMERICAN ELDER; ELDERBERRY (Sambucus nigra L. subsp. canadensis)
My take: Gardening Payoff
CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Regal Darner Dragonfly (Coryphaeschna ingens)
New to my buggy lifelist. The gal who helps me clean heard this loud buzzing coming from the kitchen skylight. I was able to get the dragonfly to climb aboard a feather duster. Of course I needed a photo and scared it a bit when I grabbed the camera. It settled on the back of one of the window cornices so I could take the photo. Then I gathered it into a towel for the safe release.
Dragonflies are predatory in both adult and larval stages. Leave some taller, dry plant debris from your Florida native plants as perches.
Diet: insects, aquatic larvae such as mosquitoes
Adult Key to the Odonate Families of Florida: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in632