Monthly Archives: October 2018


A true bug in the Broad-headed Bugs Family (Alydidae)

member of subfamily Micrelytrinae which apparently dines mainly on grasses


Download key:

Superfamily Coreoidea – Leatherbugs

Shown on Florida Native Plant BLUESTEM GRASS (Andropogon sp.)

Rice Bug (Stenocoris sp.)



CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Syrphid Fly (Meromacrus acutus)

Also known as Hover flies, flower flies or drone flies, they are bee/wasp mimics who pollinate. Some syrphid larva prey on aphids while this particular species is one of the aquatic “rat-tailed maggots” that grow by eating detritus.  It seems to be a good mimic of a yellowjacket, similar in size.


Lifecycle photos:

Shown on Florida Native Plant GROUNDSEL TREE; SEA MYRTLE (Baccharis halimifolia), a.k.a. Saltbush

Syrphid Fly (Meromacrus acutus)


CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)

Visiting my pond.

Diet: fish, reptiles, frogs, small mammals, crustaceans, and (ahem!) other birds.

“Great Blue Herons live in both freshwater and saltwater habitats, and also forage in grasslands and agricultural fields, where they stalk frogs and mammals. Most breeding colonies are located within 2 to 4 miles of feeding areas, often in isolated swamps or on islands, and near lakes and ponds bordered by forests.”



CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Striped Mud Turtle (Kinosternon bauri)

Striped Mud Turtle (Kinosternon baurii)

Jorja found this one under the live oak tree.  I’ve had them dig and nest in the past but despite protecting and monitoring locations, haven’t seen any eggs hatch. These are a pretty shy bunch.  They shut themselves into the shell until you go away.


Learn more:

Shown under Florida Native Plant: LIVE OAK (Quercus virginiana)

My take:

Striped Mud Turtle (Kinosternon bauri)


CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Pale-edged Selenisa Moth Caterpillar (Selenisa sueroides)

Beneficial: larval host for several parasitic Wasps including Ichneumon, Chalcid and Braconid.


Can damage irrigation systems so not exactly welcome by the citrus industry:


Larval host: Shyleaf (Aeschynomene americana), and other members of the pea, spurge and grass families


Shown on Florida Native Plant: Shyleaf (Aeschynomene americana)

My take:


CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Eastern Black Swallowtail Butterfly Chrysalis (Papilio polyxenes)

Spotted on a rush stem in the culvert.  Surrounded by the larval host, water cowbane.

Larval host: carrot family (Apiaceae) including parsley (Petroselinium crispum), dill (Anthum graveolens), fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), mock bishop’s weed (Ptilimnium capillaceum)

In my yard they use Florida Native Plant WATER COWBANE (Tiedemannia filiformis).

Despite having mock bishops weed in my yard, I have never seen this species use it.


There are color variations in adults.
Learn more:

Photos of most phases from egg to adult:

Eastern Black Swallowtail Chrysalis (Papilio polyxenes)

My take: