CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY:  Tersa Sphinx Moth (Xylophanes tersa)
larval hosts:  Madder Family, Rubiaceae, including Smooth buttonplant (Spermacoce glabra), Borreria, Manettia; and Bignoniaceae: Catalpa. Also noted, in North Carolina, from Virginia Buttonweed (Diodia virginiana) also in the Rubiaceae.  Non-native starclusters (Pentas spp.)
Caterpillar from 2008:

The caterpillars have large eyespots which make them look adorably inquisitive

Transitioning into pupae



February 27-March 3, 2017 is National Invasive Species Awareness Week.

CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Brown Anole (Anolis spp. likely sagrei)

Anolis sp. likely sagrei

This guy (and yes, it is a male) was either fighting mad, or madly in love with me as evidence of the display of the colorful dewlap.

Native to Cuba/Bahamas.

While good at helping keep pest insect populations in check, this non-native threatens our Florida native green anoles by taking over habitat and eating juveniles.

Learn: http://www.sms.si.edu/IRLSpec/Anolis_sagrei.htm

Learn more: http://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/nonnatives/reptiles/brown-anole/

Anolis sagrei was the Focal Species in the Winter 2011 issue of The Invader Updater: Invasive species news for busy Extension professionals., a newsletter produced by: University of Florida Dept. of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, Dr. Steve A. Johnson, Associate Professor & Extension Specialist and Monica E. McGarrity, Johnson Lab Outreach Coordinator.


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

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

Black Swallowtail, Eastern Papilio polyxenes

Black Swallowtail, Eastern Papilio polyxenes

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)

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

Learn: http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/wildflower/completebutterflydata.asp?id=1

There are color variations in adults.
Learn more: http://butterfliesofamerica.com/t/Papilio_polyxenes_a.htm

Shown on Florida Native Plant: WATER COWBANE (Tiedemannia filiformis)

My take: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2016/11/11/moving-day-black-swallowtail-butterfly/

From past encounters: eggs:


older instar larva:


see also: https://centralfloridacritteroftheday.wordpress.com/2016/09/24/eastern-black-swallowtail-butterfly-caterpillar-papilio-polyxenes/


CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Red Admiral Butterfly (Vanessa atalanta)


One of the brush footed butterfly species. This one landed on the covered patio in 45F cloudy weather.

Learn: http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/wildflower/completebutterflydata.asp?id=36

Citizen Scientist Project: http://vanessa.ent.iastate.edu/node/2170

Larval host: Pellitory (Parietaria floridana), Stinging Nettle (Urtica urens), False Nettle (Boehmeria cylindrica)

From 2016:redadmiralJune2016

June 2016

June 2016


CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: White Ibis (Eudocimus albus)

White Ibis

White Ibis

Hanging out in Florida native Baldcypress tree at my neighbors place, overlooking their pond.

Diet:  mostly insects but also aquatic fauna.

From June 2010, a juvenile in my pond.

From June 2010, a juvenile in my pond.

Learn: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/White_Ibis/id

My take: Treetops to Marsh: The White Ibis


September 2013 Across the street in a marshy lot.

September 2013 Across the street in a marshy lot a mix of adults and juveniles.


CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY:  Cribellate Orb Weaver Spider (Uloborus sp.)

Cribellate Orb Weaver Spider (Uloborus sp.)

New to my buggy life list.  Very tiny. This one has brushes of hairs on front tibiae which would indicate it is female.

Learn: http://bugguide.net/node/view/1956

Species in the Uloboridae family do “not possess venom glands, relying instead on cribellate, a fuzzy non sticky silk that they use to trap and then wrap their prey.” source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uloborus_glomosus


Shown on Florida Native Plant: DOCTORBUSH (Plumbago zeylanica)


How tiny is this Cribellate Spider? Those are seeds of Florida Native Plumbago zeylanica aka Doctorbush