CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Yellow-Striped Armyworm Moth Caterpillar (Spodoptera ornithogalli)

Generalist who eat multiple crops so not a favorite with farmers. There are many native hosts and they are parasitize by wasps and tachinid fly which are needed pollinators. Also preyed upon by the likes of damsel, big-eyed and pirate bugs making these moths have an important roll in the circle of life.

Larval host: include but are not limited to Florida native Rumex sp., Lactuca sp. and Plantago sp.



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



CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Elongate Twig Ant (Pseudomyrmex gracilis)

Dragging a live moth through the groundcovers presumably to its nest.

Although the ant is not a Florida native, it does help keep a balance in the garden since it is a predator.


My take:

Ant Supermodels in the Garden?


CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Clouded Crimson Moth Caterpillar (Schinia gaurae)

looks like an anorexic Monarch caterpillar. This one was tiny….very early instar.

Larval host: SOUTHERN BEEBLOSSOM (Oenothera simulans)


Shown on Florida Native Plant: SOUTHERN BEEBLOSSOM (Oenothera simulans) (synonym: Gaura angustifolia), the larval host.

My take:


CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Cypress Emerald Moth (Nemoria elfa)

Cypress Emerald Moth

Family Geometridae (Geometrid Moths)
Subfamily Geometrinae (Emeralds)
Tribe Nemoriini

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

This tiny beauty was seeking moisture on my kitchen sponge.

larval hosts:  SWEETGUM (Liquidambar styraciflua) (source: Natural History Museum, London)

“reported (Ferguson 1985) as being reared on sweetgum leaves (Liquidambar styraciflua), but the more common host plant appears to be baldcypress (Taxodium distichum). Wagner’s Field Guide to Eastern caterpillars gives the species the name Cypress Emerald and reports baldcypress as the host plant.”



CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Salt Marsh Moth Caterpillar (Estigmene acrea)

Native hosts include Dogfennel, Pillpod Sandmat and other potentially aggressive species.

Serves as a host for other species such as tachinid flies and Hymenopterans (Bees, Wasps and Sawflies) which parasitized the eggs/larvae.

Larvae feed on a variety of plants including “cash crops”, so not a favorite with farmers.

Coloring can be highly variable:


Learn more:

Shown on Florida Native Plant: PILLPOD SANDMAT (Euphorbia hirta)


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

I can officially confirm that this is P. tyralis.  How do I know?  I reared one that was a little older in a container.  Best part is that it was reared using the plant I found it on which was BIDENS ALBA!!!!!!!!!

Small diurnal moth (flies during the day)


native larval hosts:

(a) Bidens alba (source:  personal observation)

(b) WILD COFFEE (Psychotria nervosa)

Shown on Florida Native Plant: Bidens alba

Adult from 2016:


on Bidens alba


CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY:  Black-dotted Spragueia Moth (Spragueia onagrus)

Tiny little thing.

Larval hosts as listed in the HOSTS database are: Baccharis halimifolia, Castanea pumila, Zea mays (

In my yard that would be the Baccharis Halimifolia aka Groundselbush or Saltbush.


Shown on Florida Native Plant: Bidens alba

Superfamily Noctuoidea – Owlet Moths and kin
Family Noctuidae – Owlet Moths
Subfamily Acontiinae – Bird Dropping Moths
Tribe Acontiini