Archive

Monthly Archives: July 2018

CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Spotless Lady Beetle (Cycloneda sanguinea)

This species of ladybug is native to Florida.

Diet: aphids. The larval stage may be even more beneficial than as adults since the larvae have voracious appetities. If you wash your aphids off your ornamental plants, you remove the food source for the beneficial so they will go elsewhere to reproduce. Be patient.

Keep in mind that Not all ladybugs without spots are native. Harmonia is an introduced species which can outcompete our natives, especially the species in the photo. (source: https://esa.confex.com/esa/2001/techprogram/paper_1422.htm)

If you buy ladybugs, check what species you are introducing. Many sold commercially are non-native species.

Learn: http://susanleachsnyder.com/GopherTortoisePreserve/Insect%20Order%20Coleoptera.html#Spot

Shown on Florida Native Plant: Bidens alba

a.k.a. Blood-Red Ladybird Beetle

My take: There are Different Types of Ladybugs? (includes side by side photos to tell the exotic from our native species)
http://web.archive.org/web/20150203103908/http://www.beautifulwildlifegarden.com/there-are-different-types-of-ladybugs.html

Cycloneda sanguinea

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Horace’s Duskywing Butterfly (Erynnis horatius)

One of the spreadwing skippers (Family Hesperiidae)

Learn: http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/species/Erynnis-horatius

Larval host: Various oaks (Quercus spp.) including Myrtle Oak (Quercus myrtifolia), Water Oak (Quercus nigra), Live Oak (Quercus virginiana), and Turkey Oak (Quercus laevis)

photo of Female: https://centralfloridacritteroftheday.wordpress.com/2014/09/22/horaces-duskywing-butterfly-erynnis-horatius/

Shown on Florida Native Plant: Bidens alba

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

One of the Spotted Orbweavers.  Seems this one is missing a leg.

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

Diet: insects

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

Learn more: https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/page/4753653#page/495/mode/1up

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

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

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Grass Fly (Subfamily Chloropinae possibly Chlorops sp.)

New to my buggy life list.  This fly is miniscule.

One of the Frit Flies (Family Chloropidae)

larvae of Chlorops sp. feed on grasses.

Learn: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/271949507_Grass-fly_larvae_Diptera_Chloropidae_Diversity_habitats_and_feeding_specializations

Shown on Florida Native Plant: Bidens alba

grass fly

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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: Bidens alba

Photo of egg from 2017: https://centralfloridacritteroftheday.wordpress.com/2017/08/08/white-peacock-butterfly-anartia-jatrophae-egg/

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

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Scentless Plant Bug (Niesthrea louisianica)

New to my buggy life list.

“an important biocontrol agent of velvet leaf” [Abutilon theophrasti]

Learn: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/choate/rhopalidae.pdf (includes key)

Family: Rhopalidae

The Rhopalidae Family eats seeds of herbaceous plants, but some are arborea (source: bugguide.net)

“native from Arizona to Florida north to New York and West to Iowa in the Mississippi Valley” source: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF02373178

Shown on Florida Native Plant: CUBAN JUTE; INDIAN HEMP (Sida rhombifolia)

scentlessplantbugPairSidaJuly2018###

CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Jagged Ambush Bug (Phymata fasciata)

Predatory on other insects. They lie in wait for insects to happen by and then grab them. Although they sometimes grab other beneficials, they arent fussy and will do in thrips and other insects that may achieve pest status if left unabated so considered quite beneficial.

Learn: http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston/beneficials/beneficial-10_jagged_ambush_bug_(Phymata_sp.).htm

key: http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/choate/phymatidae.pdf

Shown on Florida Native Plant: Bidens alba

photo with prey: https://centralfloridacritteroftheday.wordpress.com/2013/03/18/jagged-ambush-bug-phymata-fasciata/
photo of immature: https://centralfloridacritteroftheday.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/jaggedambushnymphironweedaug2013.jpg

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY:  Sharpshooter (Phera insolita)

Phera insolita

New to my buggy life list, it flew and landed low on a blade of grass.  They suck fluids out of plants and also can be vectors for virus.

syn. Homalodisca insolita

“natural enemies of sharpshooters include predatory insects such as mantids and dragonflies. Free living and snare-building spiders also capture and eat sharpshooters. In Florida, anoles have been observed eating sharpshooters. Small parasitic wasps in the genus Gonatocerus”

Learn:  http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/fruit/sharpshooters/sharpshooters.htm

Phera insolita

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Bird Grasshopper Nymph (Schistocerca sp.)

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.)

Learn more about grasshoppers in Florida: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in010

Learn about Bird Grasshoppers: http://www.schistocerca.org/

Shown on Florida Native Plant: Bidens alba

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Flesh Fly (subfamily Sarcophaginae)

Part of nature’s cleanup crew. Since it is feeding on a dead caterpillar this may be Sarcophaga sp.

“The majority of species within the large genus Sarcophaga may be scavengers of small carrion like dead insects and snails as well as smaller vertebrates, and only few species are breeding in larger vertebrate carcases and feces. ” source: http://www.zmuc.dk/entoweb/sarcoweb/sarcweb/biology/Srcphgna/Bio_Sarc.htm

Learn: http://www.zmuc.dk/entoweb/sarcoweb/sarcweb/Sarc_web.htm

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

flesh fly

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Syrphid fly Larvae Possibly Ocyptamus sp.

New type to add to my buggy life list.

BENEFICIAL. Can easily be mistaken for caterpillars. In the larval stage they eat soft bodied arthropods such as aphids (shown). As flying adults they are important pollinators.

“When larval populations are high, syrphid flies may kill 70 to 100% of an aphid population.” source: https://ipm.ifas.ufl.edu/pdfs/SyrphidFly.pdf

Identification possibility based on photos of similar larva found via search engine
http://entopcastillo.blogspot.com/2010/12/ocyptamus-sp_11.html
https://bugguide.net/node/view/1095255/bgimage

I am ruling out Ocyptamus fuscipennis which I previously documented in the larval stage: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2015/08/05/aphids-are-good-wait-what/

It may be Ocyptamus cylindricus species group since I’ve documented adults of that species on Bidens in the past. https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2017/09/01/war-on-aphids/

Shown on Florida Native Plant: Bidens alba

syrphid fly larvae

More on Syrphid larvae: http://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2015/08/04/who-are-you-calling-a-caterpillar/

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Yellow-Striped Armyworm Moth Caterpillar (Spodoptera ornithogalli)

Generalist who eat multiple crops so not a favorite with farmers. There are many native hosts and they are parasitize by wasps and tachinid fly which are needed pollinators. Also preyed upon by the likes of damsel, big-eyed and pirate bugs making these moths have an important roll in the circle of life.

Larval host: include but are not limited to Florida native Rumex sp., Lactuca sp. and Plantago sp.

Learn: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/veg/leaf/yellowstriped_armyworm.htm

Adult: https://centralfloridacritteroftheday.wordpress.com/2016/09/25/yellow-striped-armyworm-moth-spodoptera-ornithogalli/

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

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Spined Assassin Bug (Sinea sp. possibly diadema) nymph

Predaceous on pest insects such as this Skeletonizing Leaf Beetle larva (Ophraella sp.) 

Learn: https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Sinea_diadema

Key: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25002917

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

My take: Killer in Our Midst: The Assassin Bug
http://web.archive.org/web/20120115214302/http://www.beautifulwildlifegarden.com/killer-in-our-midstthe-assassin-bug.html

Take 2: Hit Men in the Native Plant Garden
https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2016/08/14/hit-men-in-the-native-plant-garden/

Sinea sp.

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Pygmy Grasshopper (Tetrigidae Family)

pygmy grasshopper

New to my buggy life list. Tiny! Less than an inch long. Saw something hop in the mulch next to the driveway but really didn’t know what I had seen until I zoomed the photo up on the computer screen.

“tetrigids are a very difficult group to identify to species” Source: http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/summary?doi=10.1.1.702.7769

Key: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/choate/florida_tetrigidae.pdf

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Starbellied Orbweaver Spider (Acanthepeira sp. possibly venusta)

“It is exceedingly difficult to separate some Acanthepeira specimens from the southeastern United States and it appears that three species interbreed” source: http://bugguide.net/node/view/1994

Because of the small size, I believe this is A. venusta.

Shown on Florida Native Plant: TURKEY TANGLE FOGFRUIT; CAPEWEED (Phyla nodiflora)

Diet: insects

Learn: http://bugguide.net/node/view/1994

My take: http://web.archive.org/web/20150330224710/http://www.beautifulwildlifegarden.com/new-spider-in-my-life.html

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Florida Leatherleaf Slug (Leidyula floridana) I One of the native Mollusca who function mostly as decomposers so are beneficial. “Florida’s generally sandy soil is not conducive to slugs, but they occur where organic matter is abundant, and of course the generally humid conditions favor slug survival.” (source: UF IFAS) soooo, if slugs are a problem in your yard, seems the solution would be to forego all the fertilizers necessary to keep exotics in peak condition and plant native plants which are adapted to the existing soils.

Learn: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/misc/gastro/slugs_of_florida.htm

My take: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2018/07/11/feeling-sluggish/

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Eastern Mole (Scalopus aquaticus)

“Moles are not rodents but belong to the mammalian Order Insectivora. Insectivora means insect eater…”

Beneficial since they eat garden pests such as grubs and mole crickets. Their tunneling loosens and aerates the soil.

My take: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2018/02/10/the-hills-are-alive-at-my-housethe-beneficial-mole/

Learn: http://gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu/design/gardening-with-wildlife/moles.html

moleJuly2018AmoleJuly2018B

Select resource:

William H. Kern, Jr., associate professor, Entomology and Nematology Department, Ft. Lauderdale, Research and Education Center, Davie, FL 33314, and the Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, 32611. WEC-66 (UW080): Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences,  University of Florida. Publication: May 1994. Revised: August 2009. Please visit the EDIS Web site at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

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