Archive

Monthly Archives: August 2018

CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Short-winged Green Grasshopper (Dichromorpha viridis)

New to my buggy life list.  probably male.

Learn: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/ghopper/strid.pdf

Learn more: https://bugguide.net/node/view/9031

Shown on Florida Native Plant: Bidens alba

DONT THINK PEST, THINK BIRD FOOD! 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://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00066916/00001

Short-winged Green Grasshopper (Dichromorpha viridis) (male?)

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Spinybacked Orbweaver (Gasteracantha cancriformis) with prey

This one was smaller than the diameter of a pencil eraser so I suspect male which are substantially smaller than the females.

Learn: http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/creatures/beneficial/G_cancriformis.htm

Learn more: https://bugguide.net/node/view/2026

Was hanging from Florida native plant: SWAMP BAY (Persea palustris)
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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Flea Beetle (Altica sp.)

Hard to get this genus down to species. There is one that is called a primose beetle, so it *may* be A.litigata although most I see are a vivid metallic blue and not this beautiful bronze color.

Learn: https://bugguide.net/node/view/39785

Shown on Florida Native Plant: MEXICAN PRIMROSEWILLOW (Ludwigia octovalvis)

Feeds on ludwigia sp. keeping this prolific native in check.

May feed on crepe myrtle and if that concerns you the best method to control is to hand pick and squish. (http://www.pcmg-texas.org/images/trees/crape_myrtle_pest.pdf)

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Leaf Beetle (Ophraella sp. likely conferta)

one of the Skeletonizing Leaf Beetles.

Larval host: Solidago spp.

Life Cycle: http://bugguide.net/node/view/650674/bgimage

Shown on Florida Native Plant: GOLDENROD (Solidago sp. likely fistulosa)

larval stage preyed upon by assassin bugs: https://centralfloridacritteroftheday.wordpress.com/2018/07/16/spined-assassin-bug-sinea-sp-nymph/

Lifecycle at my place: https://centralfloridacritteroftheday.wordpress.com/2016/08/03/leaf-beetle-ophraella-sp-likely-conferta/

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Obscure Bird Grasshopper (Schistocerca obscura)

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.)

Obscure grasshopper, Schistocerca obscura (Fabricius). This species belongs to a group of especially strong fliers called bird grasshoppers. Its taste for certain valuable ornamental plants such as hibiscus often brings it into conflict with humans. (Source: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in010)

Learn more about grasshoppers in Florida: https://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00066916/00001

Shown on Florida Native Plant: Bidens alba

Obscure Bird Grasshopper (Schistocerca obscura)

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Rabid Wolf Spider (Rabidosa rabida) with egg sac

Rabid Wolf Spider (Rabidosa rabida)

Female. Egg sac starts off white and gradually changes to brown before spiderlings emerge. This was a slate grey color so I guess about half way through the process.

Wolf Spiders drag their egg sacs behind them from the spinnerets (which are close to that spiders butt). They then carry the hatched spiderlings on their back.

Learn: https://animaldiversity.org/site/accounts/information/Rabidosa_rabida.html

Rabid Wolf Spider (Rabidosa rabida)

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Southern Green-striped Grasshopper (Chortophaga australior)

New to my buggy life list.

A bandwinged grasshopper. There are two color forms present in this species, green and brown.

Learn: https://entnemdept.ifas.ufl.edu/ghopper/band.pdf

Synonym: Chortophaga viridifasciata australior (source: https://bugguide.net/node/view/666535)

DONT THINK PEST, THINK BIRD FOOD! 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://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00066916/00001

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Giant Swallowtail Butterfly (Papilio cresphontes)

Florida Native Larval Hosts: wild lime (Zanthoxylum fagara), Hercules club (Zanthoxylum clava-herculis), hop tree (Ptelea trifoliata)

Non-native host: various cultivated and ornamental citrus (Citrus spp.)

Shown on Florida Native Plant: WILD LIME; LIME PRICKLYASH (Zanthoxylum fagara)

Learn: https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/wildflowers/butterfly/giant-swallowtail/

Larval host: in my yard is WILD LIME; LIME PRICKLYASH (Zanthoxylum fagara) and non-native Meyer Lemon (Citrus sp.) although since I planted the native species they don’t tend to use the citrus much.

My take: http://osceolaflgardenblahblahblog.blogspot.com/2011/02/awakening-giant-swallowtail.html

egg: https://centralfloridacritteroftheday.wordpress.com/2016/06/18/giant-swallowtail-butterfly-papilio-cresphontes-egg/

caterpillar: https://centralfloridacritteroftheday.wordpress.com/2014/04/02/giant-swallowtail-butterfly-caterpillar-papilio-cresphontes-4/

Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes)

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Milky Urola Moth (Argyria lacteella)

Can be differentiated from the similar snowy urola moth (Urola nivalis) by the spots on the wings. Tiny details matter when determining insect identification.

Larval host listed for Puerto Rico is Lima Bean (Phaseolus lunatus) (source: HOSTS database)

Shown on Florida Native Plant: Bidens alba

Superfamily Pyraloidea – Pyralid and Crambid Snout Moths
Family Crambidae – Crambid Snout Moths
Subfamily Crambinae – Crambine Snout Moths
Tribe Argyriini
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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly (Eurytides marcellus)

The only regularly-occurring Kite Swallowtail in North America.

Larval host: Pawpaw (Asimina spp.)

Learn: http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/wildflower/completeButterflyData.asp?id=7

Caterpillar: https://centralfloridacritteroftheday.wordpress.com/2013/04/23/zebra-swallowtail-butterfly-caterpillar-eurytides-marcellus/

Shown on Florida Native Plant: Bidens alba

Learn more: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/bfly/zebra_swallowtail.htm

My take:
Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly: What Pizzazz
http://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2016/09/07/zebra-swallowtail-butterfly-what-pizzazz/

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Eastern Lubber Grasshopper (Romalea microptera)

 

Surprisingly, this fella (or gal) which is native to the southeastern U.S. is not as destructive as many smaller grasshoppers found here.

“Lubber grasshoppers consume less food than other smaller grasshoppers do, but they have a large host range (at least 100 species of plants from 38 plant families).” source: http://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/hernandoco/2018/03/16/dreaded-lubber-grasshopper/

From personal observations, natural enemies include spiders, hawks and ants.

Learn: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/orn/lubber.htm

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Mantidfly (Dicromantispa sp. probably interrupta)

Beneficial. In the same suborder of insects as lacewings (Hemerobiiformia)

This odd looking creature is a predator. This one was resting on the patio cover and it was hard to get any clear shots.

Life Cycle: Stalked eggs typically laid in large numbers. Larvae undergo hypermetamorphosis. In some genera, larvae are parasitoids of spiders. Others are more generalist predators of other insects, especially terrestrial larvae of scarab beetles, noctuid moths, and certain wasps.

Learn: https://bugguide.net/node/view/4796

Photographic lifecycle: https://bugguide.net/node/view/138279/bgimage

Mantidfly Dicromantispa sp. possibly interrupta

From 2014, Shown on Florida Native Plant: Bayberry/Wax Myrtle (Morella cerifera)

Mantidfly (Dicromantispa sp.)

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Syrphid Fly (Toxomerus sp. likely boscii)

a.k.a. Hover fly, flower fly, hoverfly

This bee mimic is BENEFICIAL in both adult and larval stages.

“Hoverflies are important generalist predators of aphids” source: https://www.ars.usda.gov/research/publications/publication/?seqNo115=315556

Re: identification: “The main characters are: the yellow stripe on the mesonotum is not very thick and the hind femur has a black ring.” source: https://bugguide.net/node/view/351203

You can see the black ring around the leg in this photo.

Shown on: Buttonweed (Spermacoce sp.) (likely a non-native variety)

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Syrphid Fly (Ocyptamus sp. probably fuscipennis)

These types of syrphids are also referred to as hover flies and likely mimic Ichneumon wasps.

They are beneficial. Larvae preys on softbodied insects including aphids.

Adults pollinate

Learn: http://syrphidae.myspecies.info/taxonomy/term/877

Learn more: https://bugguide.net/node/view/43727

general syrphid fly info: http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/NE/syrphid_flies.html

Shown on Florida Native Plant: TROPICAL SAGE; BLOOD SAGE (Salvia coccinea)

2014 Photo of “teneral” (recently emerged) individual showing color variation: https://centralfloridacritteroftheday.wordpress.com/2014/12/04/syrphid-fly-ocyptamus-fuscipennis/

Larvae: https://centralfloridacritteroftheday.wordpress.com/2018/07/18/syrphid-fly-larvae/

From 2014:

laying eggs on Water Cowbane © 2014

My take: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2015/08/05/aphids-are-good-wait-what/

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Soldier Fly (Hoplitimyia sp. possibly mutabilis)

Hoplitimyia sp. possibly mutabilis

New to my buggy life list.  Identification is tentative. This genus is said to not be found in Florida but a check of bugguide.net has another instance and I can’t find any other similar soldlier flies that match up as well.  I’ve submitted my photos and am awaiting confirmation.

The larvae are aquatic.

Family Stratiomyidae
Tribe Stratiomyini

Learn: https://bugguide.net/node/view/55085

Shown on Florida Native Plant: Bidens alba

Hoplitimyia sp. possibly mutabilis

only bees (and a few wasps) pollinate more plants than flies

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Citrus Blackfly (Aleurocanthus woglumi)

Citrus Blackfly (Aleurocanthus woglumi)

A Plant-parasitic Hemipterans type of Whitefly (Family Aleyrodidae)

Shown are fourth instar, or so-called pupa case and a couple of adults.

” it is usually under effective biological control in Florida”

Learn: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/citrus/citrus_blackfly.htm

Shown on Meyer Lemon

Hopefully the parasitic wasps will infiltrate soon and control it on my tree.

CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Green Anole (Anolis carolinensis)

Green anole is the only anole species native to the U.S. They compete with exotics for territory and you can help them by planting taller shrubbery. The natives are willing to climb up higher than the brown anole, so if you provide this type of habitat they will stand a better chance.

Learn: http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston/beneficials/beneficial-19_lizard_green_anole.htm

http://srelherp.uga.edu/lizards/anocar.htm

Diet: insects and spiders

Shown on Florida Native Plant: : Bidens alba

My take: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2016/06/20/nature-knows-bestthe-little-lizard-who-could/

http://osceolaflgardenblahblahblog.blogspot.com/2013/10/arnold-surfs-windshield.html

It only blinked, but caught this shot where it looks like it is sleeping

Green Anole (Anolis carolinensis)

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Brown-winged Striped-Sweat bee (Agapostemon splendens)

Agapostemon splendens female

In the sweat bee family (Halictidae).  a.k.a. Metallic Green Bee

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

Learn: http://entnemdept.ifas.ufl.edu/HallG/Melitto/floridabees/agapostemon.htm

Learn more: http://www.discoverlife.org/mp/20q?search=Agapostemon+splendens

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