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Monthly Archives: September 2018

CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Earth-Boring Scarab Beetle (Geotrupes sp.)

New to my buggy life list.

3 species listed for Florida:  G. blackburnii blackburnii; G. egeriei; G. splendidus (source: http://www.fsca-dpi.org/Coleoptera/Mike/geotrup.htm)

“Adults feed on dung, fungi, and decaying vegetable matter. Larva feed on old cow dung.”
Learn:   https://bugguide.net/node/view/12539

Key: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00000088/00001/176

Earth-Boring Scarab Beetle (Geotrupes sp.)

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Giant Swallowtail Butterfly Caterpillar 1st Instar (Papilio cresphontes)

1st instar.  note eggshell above right in the photo

Larval hosts are in the citrus family and Florida Native Plants include WILD LIME (Zanthoxylum fagara), Hercules club (Zanthoxylum clava-herculis) and hop tree (Ptelea trifoliata).

To avoid predation, it mimics the look of bird poop.

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

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

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

Other photos:

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/

adult: https://centralfloridacritteroftheday.wordpress.com/2018/08/20/giant-swallowtail-butterfly-papilio-cresphontes-laying-eggs/

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Polka-dot Wasp Moth (Syntomeida epilais)

aka Oleander Moth

Does not sting. Wasp mimic. Adults pollinate. Flies during the day. The caterpillar of this species has the common name: oleander caterpillar.

Larval hosts: Florida native: DEVIL’S POTATO; RUBBERVINE (Echites umbellatus) (limited to coast of southern Florida); Exotic: Oleander which has expanded it range throughout the U.S.

Learn: http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/species/Syntomeida-epilais

Learn more: http://beautifulnativeplants.blogspot.com/2016/02/an-exception-to-rules.html

Learn more2: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/orn/oleander_caterpillar.htm

Shown on Florida Native Plant: Bidens alba

Polka-dot Wasp Moth (Syntomeida epilais)

Photo of caterpillar on Oleander from 2010: https://centralfloridacritteroftheday.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/oleandercat100110.jpg

CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Masked Chafer Beetle (Cyclocephala sp.)

Adults nocturnal, come to lights. Larvae feed on roots. This one was in the clutches of a tiny spider under the patio light.

Family Scarabaeidae – Scarab Beetles
Subfamily Dynastinae – Rhinoceros Beetles
Tribe Cyclocephalini
Genus Cyclocephala – Masked Chafers

Learn: https://bugguide.net/node/view/11449

Learn more: https://texasinsects.tamu.edu/masked-chafer/

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY:  Davis’ Southeastern Dog-Day Cicada (Neotibicen sp. probably davisi davisi)

an annual species. Periodical cicadas do not occur in Florida.

There has been a taxonomic change to the Family Cicadidae – Cicadas

Learn: https://bugguide.net/node/view/734698

Cicadas are seldom of economic importance in Florida. source: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/misc/bugs/cicadas.htm

“On the positive side, it should be noted that cicadas do not bite or sting and harbor no organisms known to be harmful to vertebrates. They provide food for many kinds of wildlife, including birds, small mammals, and other insects. Newly emerged adults are easily caught and have been used for food by humans, either raw or cooked, and are even credited with having saved some family groups from starvation early in the history of North America.” ibid.

Learn: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in602

Shown on Florida Native Plant: Blackberry (Rubus sp.)

My take: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2015/09/18/sing-sing-a-song-annual-cicada/

Take Two: You say Ci-KAY-da and I say Ci-kAHHH-da

http://web.archive.org/web/20131005185550/http://www.beautifulwildlifegarden.com/you-say-ci-kay-da-and-i-say-ci-kahhh-da.html

Davis’ Southeastern Dog-Day Cicada (Neotibicen sp. probably davisi davisi)

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly Caterpillar  (Papilio troilus)

1st Instar.

Larval host: Sassafras (Sassafras albidum), spicebush (Lindera benzoin), red bay (Persea borbonia), swamp bay (Persea palustris) and the category I invasive camphortree (Cinnamomum camphora)

Learn: https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/wildflower/completeButterflyData.asp?id=5

Shown on Florida Native Plant: SWAMP BAY (Persea palustris)

Photos of Adult: https://centralfloridacritteroftheday.wordpress.com/2018/08/05/spicebush-swallowtail-butterfly-papilio-troilus/

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Withered Mocis Moth (Mocis marcida)

Came to patio light after dark.

New to my buggy life list. My encounter was submitted and accepted to add this species to the Osceola county Florida checklist at butterfliesandmoths.com https://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/sighting_details/1188829

Superfamily Noctuoidea – Owlet Moths and kin
Family Erebidae
Subfamily Erebinae
Tribe Euclidiini

larval hosts: grasses; (non-native Panicum maximum (source: Natural History Museum, London))

Learn: https://bugguide.net/node/view/7776

larvae said to be a pest of pasture and turf grasses in Florida (source: https://www.jstor.org/stable/3493999?origin=crossref&seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents)

Host for wasps “Parasites reared from the pupae were not specific to any single Mocis species; they comprised two Sarcophagids, three Braconids, two Chalcidids and four Ichneumonids. Species found preying on Mocis larvae were a Tenebrionid, Bothrotes fortis Csy., and a Carabid, Pinacodera sp. ” (source: https://www.cabdirect.org/cabdirect/abstract/19750531212)

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