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Monthly Archives: February 2019

CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Cassius Blue Butterfly (Leptotes cassius)

Florida Native Larval host: Milkpea (Galactia pp.), DOCTORBUSH (Plumbago zeylanica) and for extreme south Florida, wild tamarind (Lysiloma latisiliquum)

non-native Leadwort (Plumbago auriculata) is another potential larval host.

Learn: https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/wildflowers/butterfly/cassius-blue/

Lifecycle: https://centralfloridacritteroftheday.wordpress.com/2016/11/14/cassius-blue-butterfly-leptotes-cassius-egglarvae/

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides)

At this stage, this fish really doesn’t live up to the “Large”mouth. He is rather small, maybe 2.5 inches long. A little too large to be a “fry”, perhaps juvenile describes it best. A fish native to Florida, they can take on coloration based on the water they are in.

“Largemouth bass may consume small fish, insects, mosquitoes, blackfly larvae, mayfly nymphs, worms, adult insects, mussels, crayfish, snails, tadpoles, frogs, small fish, salamanders, mice, turtles. In general largemouth bass feed at all hours, but most often in the early morning or late in the day. In some cases, the prey is not completely swallowed up initially; it is caught and held in the jaws and then it is sucked in.”

Learn: http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/Gallery/Descript/LargemouthBass/LargemouthBass.html

Shown swimming amid Florida Native Plant: COMBLEAF MERMAIDWEED (Proserpinaca pectinata)

My take: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2019/02/25/pondering-new-residents-in-the-garden/

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Carolina Satyr Butterfly (Hermeuptychia sosybius)

larval hosts are various grasses. Carpetgrass (Axonopus spp.), a Florida native and Centipedegrass (Eremochloa ophiuroides) which is not native to Florida are two listed hosts.

Learn: http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/species/Hermeuptychia-sosybius

My take: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2017/03/22/see-spot-fly-carolina-satyr-butterfly/

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY:  Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus)

Scavenger. Smaller size, pale head, white legs and wings with only the underside tips showing white distinguish this one from its Turkey Vulture cousin.

Diet: mainly carrion

Shown in Florida native plant: LONGLEAF PINE TREE (Pinus palustris)

Learn: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Black_Vulture/id

My take:  Nature’s Cleanup Crew
http://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2016/12/13/natures-cleanup-crew/

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Long-tailed Skipper Butterfly (Urbanus proteus) EGG

Watched the butterfly lay this egg on the non-native Desmodium incanum 

Larval host: “Numerous members of the Pea family (Fabaceae) including Beaked Butterfly Pea (Centrosema virginianum), American Wisteria (Wisteria americana), Kudzu (Pueraria Montana), and ticktrefoils (Desmodium spp.)”

Learn: http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/wildflower/completebutterflydata.asp?id=46

My take: http://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2017/03/23/dont-skip-the-long-tailed-skipper-butterfly/

 

Caterpillar ©2013

 

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Owlet Moth (Epidromia sp. likely rotundata)

Found before dawn on the patio cover where it meets the house.

Superfamily Noctuoidea – Owlet Moths and kin
Family Erebidae
Subfamily Eulepidotinae

larval hosts: no listings at the HOSTS database

Learn:  https://bugguide.net/node/view/87272

Learn more:  nitro.biosci.arizona.edu/zEEB/leprefs/Epidromia.pdf

I had found this species one other time inside the house back in Sept 2016: https://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/sighting_details/1103171

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY:   Fish Crow (Corvus ossifragus)

 

Over the past few days I have heard this guy (gal?) calling loudly. Is it a mating call?????? I’ve had a nest in this particular tree two years.  Could they make it three?

The tree overlooks my pond so I suspect it is prime real estate.  Time to practice my drone skills so hopefully I can check out the nestlings without knocking them out of the tree.

Learn: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Fish_Crow/lifehistory

Shown on Florida Native Plant Longleaf Pine  (Pinus palustris)

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

a.k.a. Hover fly, flower fly, hoverfly; Thin-lined Calligrapher

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

Shown on Florida Native Plant: Bidens alba

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Ox Beetle Grub (probably Strategus sp.)

I suspect my English setter girl dug up this large, beefy larva and now ants are attacking it.

 

“…they serve a vital role of recycling organic matter.”  Another reason to avoid using chemical grub control.

Learn: http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston/beneficials/beneficial-44_ox_or_elephant_beetle.htm

One of the Scarabs; Rhinoceros Beetles (Dynastinae) is the subfamily. https://bugguide.net/node/view/6277

Some people raise these.  “Adults will eat apple slices and many other types of fruit. Grubs eat rotten wood and composted vegetation.” (source: https://web.archive.org/web/20100920225147/http://www.beetle-experience.com/care-aloeusl.htm

Adult photos of Strategus aloeus: https://centralfloridacritteroftheday.wordpress.com/2014/01/16/ox-beetle-strategus-aloeus/

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: White Ibis (Eudocimus albus)

White Ibis (Eudocimus albus) juveniles under cloudy skies

This juvenile pair was somewhere around my pond but flew up into the Pine when I opened the gate to enter the pond area. I’m guessing they are near adulthood since the beaks were pink.  Their mottled feathers will soon turn all white.

Diet:  mostly insects but also aquatic fauna.

Learn: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/White_Ibis/lifehistory

Shown on Florida Native Plant: LONGLEAF PINE TREE (Pinus palustris)

My take: Treetops to Marsh: The White Ibis

https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2017/03/13/treetops-to-marsh-the-white-ibis/

White Ibis (Eudocimus albus) pretty close to be a full fledged adult as the feathers are close to being all white.

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum)

Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum)

Distinct yellow eye.

They nest in low dense shrubbery or sometimes on the ground. Secretive, they like my place because I leave dense patches of grasses around so they can safely hide.

I have been lucky to have had this species nest at my place in a tangle of Virginia Creeper and Wax Myrtle.

Learn: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Brown_Thrasher/id

Diet: insects (including many pest species such as grubs and tent caterpillars), lizards and berries…I see them quite often close to the elderberry and the virginia creeper.

Shown on Florida Native Plant: WINGED SUMAC (Rhus copallinum)

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)

 

Beautiful bird with distinctive call. The males are bright red, the females a more subdued reddish brown.

Learn: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Northern_Cardinal/id

Male Shown on Florida Native Plant: AMERICAN ELDER; ELDERBERRY (Sambucus nigra L. subsp. canadensis)

My take: Gardening Payoff
https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2016/11/03/gardening-payoff/

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Mole Cricket Hunter Wasp (Larra bicolor)

This one is likely female since it seemed to be on the hunt through the meadow looking for mole crickets which are the larval hosts for its larvae.

Photos of it using various nectar sources are at the link below under “my take”.

Introduced to the U.S. to control exotic mole cricket pests. Does not target native species, only the exotics.

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

My take: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2019/02/06/when-an-introduced-species-does-the-job/

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)

It’s that time of year in Central Florida when the swallows show up.

Fascinating behavior.  Hundreds will gather together and perform an aerial show right out of the Alfred Hitchcock book of bird swarming.

A cavity nesting bird. Non-breeding in Florida

Diet: Tree Swallows may supplement their insect diet with berries, such as fruit from bayberry and wax myrtle shrubs.

Learn:  https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Tree_Swallow/lifehistory

My take: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2018/01/06/hard-to-swallow-hardly/

video from 2013, landing in a Wax Myrtle:

 

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY:  Hairy Maggot Blow Fly (Chrysomya sp.)

Calliphoridae Family (blowflies).  Introduced.  Potential to cause disease in livestock.  Larval Stage provides significant benefits in Forensic Medicine

larvae feed on carrion
Adults pollinate
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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis)

Often heard but not seen.  This one was hopping in a tangle of Florida native plants listed below.

Favors insects but does eat fruits and seeds. Secretive. Non-breeding in Florida.

Learn: www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Gray_Catbird/lifehistory

Shown on Florida Native Plant:  a mix of SWAMP BAY (Persea palustris)SOUTHERN BAYBERRY; WAX MYRTLE (Morella cerifera)VIRGINIA CREEPER; WOODBINE (Parthenocissus quinquefolia); MIDSORUS FERN; SWAMP FERN (Telmatoblechnum serrulatum); MUSCADINE {GRAPE} (Vitis rotundifolia)

My take: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2016/12/20/when-a-yard-cat-is-ok/

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronatagal)

a.k.a. Butter Butt and you can see why in this photo 🙂

Beneficial
Diet: insects, bayberry, seeds

“The Yellow-rumped Warbler is the only warbler able to digest the waxes found in bayberries and wax myrtles.”

Learn: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Yellow-rumped_Warbler/lifehistory

Are they on their way out? https://www.allaboutbirds.org/goodbye-yellow-rump-will-we-see-a-return-to-myrtle-and-audubons-warblers/

Shown on Florida Native Plant: LAUREL OAK; DIAMOND OAK (Quercus laurifolia)

My take: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2018/01/30/warblers-if-one-is-a-butterbutt-should-the-other-be-a-butterhead/

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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: BUSHY BLUESTEM GRASS (Andropogon sp. likely glomeratus) (gone to seed)

Superfamily Pyraloidea – Pyralid and Crambid Snout Moths
Family Crambidae – Crambid Snout Moths
Subfamily Crambinae – Crambine Snout Moths
Tribe Argyriini

Learn: https://bugguide.net/node/view/55379
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