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

Drying wings early in the morning.

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: SOUTHERN BAYBERRY; WAX MYRTLE (Myrica cerifera)


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:





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

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.)”


Shown on Florida Native Plant: DOCTORBUSH (Plumbago zeylanica)

My take:

Caterpillar from October 2013:

Longtail Skipper Butterfly Caterpillar


CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Pearl Crescent Butterfly (Phyciodes tharos)

Phyciodes tharos

One of the Brush-Footed Butterflies.


Learn more:

Larval host: Asters

Shown on Florida Native Plant:  MANYFLOWER MARSHPENNYWORT (Hydrocotyle umbellata) 

My take:


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

Nectaring on Florida native Bidens alba the dots on the body are an identifying characteristic of this beauty. This one is male.

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

In my yard they use Florida Native Plant WATER COWBANE (Tiedemannia filiformis) as the larval host.

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


Learn more:

There are color variations in adults.
Learn more:

My take:

From past encounters:

Photo of female:



older instar larva:


see also:


CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Painted Lady Butterfly (Vanessa cardui)

Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)

New to my (Florida) buggy life list. My encounter was submitted and accepted to add this species to the Osceola county Florida checklist at

Larval host: thistles

“migratory temporarily colonizes U.S. each year annual occurrence in Southeast varies considerably from year to year”



Shown on Florida Native Plant: Bidens alba


CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: White Checkered-Skipper Butterfly Caterpillar (Pyrgus albescens)

I’d been watching this caterpillar for a few days.  They roll in leaves during the day and I was surprised to find it rolled in a Bidens alba leaf.  It had nipped off a bud from its larval host and then secreted itself making its tent out of the bidens which was growing within the Sida.


Larval Host Plants: Herbaceous Pants (Malvaceae)—Cuban Jute (Sida rhombifolia) and Common Fanpetals (Sida acuta) [source:


Special thanks to @AndyBugGuy a.k.a. Andrew D. Warren, Ph.D. for the correct identification.

Earlier instars shown on Florida Native Plant:  CUBAN JUTE; INDIAN HEMP (Sida rhombifolia):



Photos of adult from 2013: