Archive

Monthly Archives: May 2019

CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Ornate Bella Moth (Utetheisa ornatrix)

a diurnal moth.

Learn: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/beneficial/leps/bella_moth.htm

Larval host: (Crotalaria spp.) which in my yard is the Florida native RABBITBELLS (C. rotundifolia)

Caterpillar: https://centralfloridacritteroftheday.wordpress.com/2014/01/19/ornate-bella-moth-caterpillar-utetheisa-ornatrix/

Shown on Florida Native Plant: TICKSEED (Coreopsis sp.)

My take: Whats in a day?

https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2017/03/12/whats-in-a-day/

Take 2: Half Hidden Beauty in the Garden

https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2019/05/30/half-hidden-beauty-in-the-garden/

Take 3 is about the caterpillar: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2017/04/29/we-dont-all-eat-leaves-you-know/

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Twice-stabbed Lady Beetle (Chilocorus sp. probably stigma)

Predatory.  Feeds on scale insects

Learn: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/beneficial/lady_beetles.htm includes a listing of the four species found in Florida

Learn more: https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston/beneficials/beneficial-16_twicestabbed_ladybug.htm

food:  Scale insects, especially in trees.

Learn more: https://bugguide.net/node/view/372

 

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

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula)

Noisy, but beautiful iridescent coloring especially the males.  This one is likely female. The coloring was less intense.

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

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

My take: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2019/05/28/day-of-the-grackle/

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Scoliid Wasp (Scolia nobilitata)

In addition to pollination duties, they are parasitoids of scarab beetle larvae found in the soil.

Learn: http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/creatures/misc/wasps/scoliid_wasps.htm

At dusk they congregate together and sleep: https://centralfloridacritteroftheday.wordpress.com/2014/05/21/scoliid-wasp-scolia-nobilitata/

Shown on Florida Native Plant: TICKSEED (Coreopsis sp.)

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Stiletto Fly (Penniverpa sp. possibly festina)

Order Diptera – Flies
No Taxon Orthorrhapha
Superfamily Asiloidea
Family Therevidae – Stiletto Flies
Subfamily Therevinae

Adults are nectar feeders, while the larvae are voracious predators of soil arthropods

source: http://web.archive.org/web/20161221220045/https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/plant/ppd/Lucid/Therevidae/Worldtherevidae/Media/Worldstiletto/html/introduction.html

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

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

 

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

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

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: Long-horned Beetle (Eburia distincta)

Caught between the screen and the window glass, not sure how he managed that.

One of the boring coleoptera (lived up to that description ….not much of a conversationalist) 😉

Key: http://www.freshfromflorida.com/content/download/10782/140983/ent396.pdf

“reared from cypress, but probably uses other hosts, too
Learn more:
http://bugguide.net/node/view/27713

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Spotless Lady Beetle larva (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 appetites. 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: WILD LIME; LIME PRICKLYASH (Zanthoxylum fagara)

a.k.a. Blood-Red Ladybird Beetle

Photos of early instar from 2018: https://centralfloridacritteroftheday.wordpress.com/2018/12/12/spotless-lady-beetle-cycloneda-sanguinea-larvae-newly-hatched/

Photos of adult: https://centralfloridacritteroftheday.wordpress.com/2018/07/30/spotless-lady-beetle-cycloneda-sanguinea-3/

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

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Jumping spider (Hentzia palmarum) with prey

Male. miniscule.  I can’t quite make out what he has in his clutches.

Learn: http://salticidae.org/salticid/diagnost/hentzia/palmarum.htm

drawings: http://www.jumping-spiders.com/php/tax_drawings.php?id=2005

distribution of genus: http://salticidae.org/salticid/catalog/hentzia.htm

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

Female: https://centralfloridacritteroftheday.wordpress.com/2014/12/03/jumping-spider-hentzia-palmarum/

My take: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2019/05/22/itzy-and-bitzynew-spiders-for-me/

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Coffee-loving Pyrausta Moth (Pyrausta tyralis)

Small diurnal moth (flies during the day)

Learn: http://bugguide.net/node/view/26387

native larval hosts:

(a) Bidens alba (source:  personal observation)

(b) WILD COFFEE (Psychotria nervosa)
(source: http://www.nhm.ac.uk/our-science/data/hostplants/search/list.dsml?searchPageURL=index.dsml&Familyqtype=starts+with&Family=&PFamilyqtype=starts+with&PFamily=&Genusqtype=starts+with&Genus=Pyrausta&PGenusqtype=starts+with&PGenus=&Speciesqtype=starts+with&Species=tyralis&PSpeciesqtype=starts+with&PSpecies=&Country=&sort=Family)

Caterpillar: https://centralfloridacritteroftheday.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/coffee-moth-caterpillar/

Shown on Florida Native Plant: TICKSEED (Coreopsis sp.)

My take:  https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2017/03/07/a-dozen-diurnal-moths/

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Great Black Wasp (Sphex pensylvanicus)

No Taxon Apoid Wasps (Apoidea)- traditional Sphecidae
Family Sphecidae – Thread-waisted Wasps
Subfamily Sphecinae
Tribe Sphecini

Fossorial (nests in the ground); prey Tettigoniidae (katydids) in genera Microcentrum & Scudderia (source: http://natl.ifas.ufl.edu/biota/sphecid_wasps.php)

Learn:  G. K. Lechner, Interesting Incidents with Sphex pensylvanicus Wasps and Their Prey Items in Sioux City, Iowa, USA

Click to access lechner-leb-41-interesting-incidents-with-sphex-pensylvanicus-linnaeus.pdf

Shown on Florida Native Plant: WILD COFFEE (Psychotria nervosa)

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Tachinid fly (Archytas sp. possibly rufiventris)

Beneficial: Parasitic Fly. control of pest caterpillar (think armyworm and cutworm!) which they use as food for their developing larva.

Performs some pollination as adults take nectar.

Tachinids are parasitoids of other insects, but the most common hosts are caterpillars.
Owlet Moths (Noctuidae) » Cutworm or Dart Moths (Noctuinae) and armyworms are known hosts per Taxonomic and Host Catalogue of the Tachinidae of America North of Mexico
http://www.nadsdiptera.org/Tach/Nearctic/CatNAmer/Genera/Archytas.html

Learn: https://texasinsects.tamu.edu/tachinid-and-flesh-flies/

Family Tachinidae – Parasitic Flies
Subfamily Tachininae
Tribe Tachinini

Shown on a False Buttonweed (Spermacoce sp. probably verticillata) which is not native to Florida.

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Brown Lacewing Larvae (Family Hemerobiidae)

possibly Micromus sp.

As you can see in the photo it is dining on aphids.

“larvae prey on aphids, other soft-bodied insects and mites. ”

Learn/key:  https://entnemdept.ifas.ufl.edu/creatures/beneficial/brown_lacewings.htm

Learn more: http://www.restoringthelandscape.com/2014/10/beneficial-insect-profile-lacewings.html

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

another photo:  https://centralfloridacritteroftheday.files.wordpress.com/2019/05/brownlacewinglarvaaphidsgoldenrodapr2019a.jpg

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Regal Jumper Spider (Phidippus regius)

Regal Jumper Spider (Phidippus regius) female

I think they are the cutest spider in the world. This is a female.

Males are black and white with blue eyes. Very beneficial, I have even seen them capture and eat invasive cuban treefrogs.
https://centralfloridacritteroftheday.wordpress.com/2013/07/16/regal-jumping-spider-phidippus-regius/

predatory

Learn: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/misc/regal_jumping_spider.htm

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

another photo: https://centralfloridacritteroftheday.files.wordpress.com/2019/05/regaljumpingspiderfemalegoldenrodmay2019full.jpg

Photos from 2013: https://centralfloridacritteroftheday.wordpress.com/2013/09/30/regal-jumper-spider-phidippus-regius/

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Four-toothed Mason Wasp (Monobia quadridens)

A parasitoid wasp that paralyzes caterpillars as the food to provision their nest for their larvae.

Shortly after this photo, I watched it grab a small giant swallowtail caterpillar and take off.

Learn: http://bugoftheweek.com/blog/2018/9/8/humans-help-wasps-wasps-help-humans-four-toothed-mason-wasp-imonobia-quadridensi

Learn more: https://uwm.edu/field-station/four-toothed-mason-wasp/

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

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Hyacinth Glider Dragonfly (Miathyria marcella)

I may not be overly excited that it has appeared at my place. Seems as Water Hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes), a prohibited invasive aquatic plant spread, so has the range of this beauty, arriving in the U.S. in 1950. So, I fear that somewhere in my neighborhood there is a population of the plants. I will be keeping a watchful eye on my pond although the datasheet indicates that it lays eggs on other aquatic plants. Hopefully my waterlilies caught their eye.

One of the Skimmers (Libellulidae)

Learn: http://www.odonatacentral.org/index.php/FieldGuideAction.get/id/47209

Shown on the dried debris from Florida Native Plant: Goldenrod
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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Paper Wasps (Polistes sp.) with caterpillar prey

I saw this wasp struggling with its *prize* in a patch of grass and Pepperweed so I figured it had a Great Southern White butterfly caterpillar. On closer inspection via the magic of computer monitor zoom, I believe it has a Mobile Groundling Moth caterpillar (Condica mobilis) which I’ve found feeding on Bidens alba in the past. The B. alba was the next plant over.

The black and greenish-yellow “goo” is the caterpillar entrails (guts). Learn more: http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston/beneficials/beneficial-01_paper_wasp.htm

Paper Wasps can be aggressive if you disturb the nest although I have been able to relocate nests with no stinging incidents. People with bee allergy should keep their distance. If it is in a location that people will not get too close, leave them as an efficient biocontrol agent.

Beneficial: control of pest catepillar species which they use as food for their developing larva. (think your vegetable garden pests) Adults also feed on fruits

Learn: http://bugguide.net/node/view/572

Learn the habits of Polistes spp.: https://blogs.cornell.edu/insectid/files/2013/11/Paper-Wasps-1qxfw0c.pdf

Shown on Florida Native Plant: Bidens alba

My relocation tale: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2019/03/06/the-wildlife-garden-fashionista/

My take: http://web.archive.org/web/20140709140116/http://www.beautifulwildlifegarden.com/wasp-that.html

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Surinam Cockroach (Pycnoscelus surinamensis)

Order Blattodea – Cockroaches and Termites
Superfamily Blaberoidea
Family Blaberidae

“In greenhouses and urban landscapes it can damage tender young plants and seedlings. Occasionally, this cockroach may invade various structures where it may feed on indoor plants.” source: file.lacounty.gov/SDSInter/acwm/235109_SurinamCockroach.pdf

“a classic feature of this species is the glossy front and the matte back end of the abdomen.~~ John Carlson” source: https://bugguide.net/node/view/508584

Reproduces through parthenogenesis in the US, where no males are found per bugguide
of Asian origin

key: A Dichotomous Key for the Identification of the Cockroach fauna (Insecta: Blattaria) of Florida
entnemdept.ifas.ufl.edu/choate/blattaria_new.pdf

Learn: http://susanleachsnyder.com/GopherTortoisePreserve/InsectOrderBlattodea.html#Cock

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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: NUTTALL’S THISTLE (Cirsium nuttallii)

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/

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