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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: Land Planarian (Family Geoplanidae)

Correction 12/17/18: I initially misidentified this as Hammerhead Flatworm (Bipalium kewense). Jean-Lou Justine, an expert from France noted the following on Twitter:

“The new photograph is not a Bipalium… some Geoplanidae but not a Bipalium. The 2012 photograph is Bipalium vagum, not Bipalium kewense.”

a.k.a. Flatworm

This one was small, about 1-1/2 inches.

Pleased to see it munching away on what appears to be a Ghost Ant nest so beneficial in my book.

Learn: https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston/beneficials/beneficial-57(partial)_land_planarian.htm

Learn more: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/misc/land_planarians.HTM

My take:  https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2018/12/13/its-a-wormits-a-slug-its-a-what/

Photo from 2012 of Mollusc-eating Hammerhead Worm (Bipalium vagum), who is in the same taxonomic family:

From 2012, eating slugs, beetle larvae and millipedes

CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Florida Leatherleaf Slug (Leidyula floridana) I One of the native Mollusca who function mostly as decomposers so are beneficial. “Florida’s generally sandy soil is not conducive to slugs, but they occur where organic matter is abundant, and of course the generally humid conditions favor slug survival.” (source: UF IFAS) soooo, if slugs are a problem in your yard, seems the solution would be to forego all the fertilizers necessary to keep exotics in peak condition and plant native plants which are adapted to the existing soils.

Learn: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/misc/gastro/slugs_of_florida.htm

My take: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2018/07/11/feeling-sluggish/

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Jelly Blob (Bryozoan)

Bryozoans are aquatic animals and those in fresh water are in the Phylactolaemata Class.

They filter water and can be an indicator of good water quality. A beneficial creature which inhabits lakes that have lots of food. they eat diatoms and algae.
Learn: http://www.co.thurston.wa.us/health/ehadm/swimming/bryozoan.html

Learn more: http://web.archive.org/web/20160430090714/http://www.wright.edu/~tim.wood/bryozoans.html

Shown in the pond attached to dried plant debris among Florida Native Plant: COMBLEAF MERMAIDWEED (Proserpinaca pectinata)

My take: The Blob and the Beginning of Winter
http://web.archive.org/web/20120115145123/http://www.beautifulwildlifegarden.com/the-blob-and-the-beginning-of-winter.html

“The predators of freshwater bryozoans are mainlyfish, but raccoons also like to eat the gelatinousspecies.” (source: http://www.des.nh.gov/organization/commissioner/pip/factsheets/bb/documents/bb-59.pdf)  added 3/10/17

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Florida Leatherleaf Slug (Leidyula floridana) I One of the native Mollusca who function mostly as decomposers so are beneficial. “Florida’s generally sandy soil is not conducive to slugs, but they occur where organic matter is abundant, and of course the generally humid conditions favor slug survival.” (source: UF IFAS) soooo, if slugs are a problem in your yard, seems the solution would be to forego all the fertilizers necessary to keep exotics in peak condition and plant native plants which are adapted to the existing soils.

Learn: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/misc/gastro/slugs_of_florida.htm

My take: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2018/07/11/feeling-sluggish/

If placed on their back they quickly roll over.

If placed on their back they quickly roll over.

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Bluegill Fish (Lepomis macrochirus)

Bluegill is in the sunfish family. This guy was swimming along with a softshell turtle and was feeding on some native Mermaidweed (Proserpinaca pectinata) before he came to the top for a picture.

They are an important food source for larger fish predators, including bass and other larger fish, birds (waterfowl, herons), turtles, mammals…including humans.

Range: http://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?speciesID=385

Diet: insects, smaller fish, aquatic larvae such as mosquitoes, vegetation

Learn: http://www.fcps.edu/islandcreekes/ecology/bluegill.htm

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