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.

8/25/2017

Larval Host Plants: Herbaceous Pants (Malvaceae)—Cuban Jute (Sida rhombifolia) and Common Fanpetals (Sida acuta) [source: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/uw057%5D

Learn: http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/species/Pyrgus-albescens

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):

08/17/2017

08/19/2017

Photos of adult from 2013: https://centralfloridacritteroftheday.wordpress.com/2013/06/06/checkered-skipper-butterfly-pyrgus-spp-oileus-or-communis/

 

 

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Red-banded Hairstreak Butterfly (Calycopis cecrops)

Eggs are laid on fallen leaves. If you are overly tidy in the garden, you wont attract this beauty.

Only Florida butterfly to utilize detritus (leaf litter) as larval food from wax myrtle (Myrica cerifera), sumac (Rhus spp.) and the highly invasive and prohibited (in FL) Brazilian pepper (Schinus terebinthifolius).

Learn: http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/wildflower/completebutterflydata.asp?id=21

Shown on Florida Native Plant: Spanish needles (Bidens alba)

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: BLISTER BEETLE (Nemognatha nemorensis) mating

adults feed on flowerparts of Asteraceae (Rudbeckia, Bidens, Erigeron, Heterotheca, Eupatorium spp.)
larvae feed on eggs, larvae, and food reserves of ground-nesting bees

Learn: http://bugguide.net/node/view/41093

Learn more: http://www.entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/urban/medical/blister_beetles.htm

Shown on Florida Native Plant: Bidens alba

 

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Blue Dasher Dragonfly (Pachydiplax longipennis)

Dragonflies are predatory in both adult and larval stages. Leave some taller, dry plant debris from your Florida native plants as perches which they use in addition to tall native plants such as this Florida native PINEBARREN GOLDENROD (Solidago fistulosa)

Diet: insects, aquatic larvae such as mosquitoes

Learn: http://www.odonatacentral.org/index.php/FieldGuideAction.get/id/47452

My take:

https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2016/06/21/a-dozen-dragonflies/

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Anchor Stink Bug (Stiretrus anchorago)

A predatory stink bug. Beneficial. markings and color can be highly variable.

“feeds on the larvae of beetles, butterflies, and moths, incl. many pest spp. (notably Mexican Bean Beetle and Japanese Beetle)” source: Bugguide.net

Learn: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/beneficial/stiretrus_anchorago.htm

Learn more: http://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Stiretrus_anchorago/

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

My take: It Just Stinks… or Does It?
http://web.archive.org/web/20120723020819/http://www.beautifulwildlifegarden.com/it-just-stinksor-does-it.html

The markings remind me of a monkey face.

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY:  Spined Soldier Bug (Podisus maculiventris)

A predatory stink bug. Beneficial.

Family Pentatomidae – Stink Bugs
Subfamily Asopinae – Predatory Stink Bugs

“…most common predatory stick bug in North America…
This insect is a generalist predator with a broad host range, reportedly attacking 90 insect species over eight orders (De Clercq 2008), including several important economic pests….”

Learn more: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/beneficial/podisus_maculiventris.htm

Shown on Florida Native Plant: Bidens alba

My take: It Just Stinks… or Does It?
http://web.archive.org/web/20120723020819/http://www.beautifulwildlifegarden.com/it-just-stinksor-does-it.html

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Glassy-winged Sharpshooter (Homalodisca vitripennis)

This interesting looking and colorful leafhopper is a distant relative of the Cicada although miniscule in comparison. This species can be a major pest outside their native range as they are a vector for Pierce’s disease which affects wine grapes. Unfortunately, the insect was transported into California likely by the nursery trade. (an example of why not to swap plants outside your region). Things are safe at my place because it is native to the southeast and mom nature has natural controls to keep the peace.

parasitic wasps and a fungus that is in the southeast are being explored as biocontrols.

“Muscadine grapes are resistant, and may someday provide resistant rootstocks for the grape industry.”

Learn: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/fruit/glassywinged_sharpshooter.htm

Shown on Florida Native Plant: Bidens alba

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