In 2010 and 2011 as my last post for the year I have shown a critter or plant that was a special encounter or a photographic moment for each month of the year at my place. Once again I will keep with tradition and do the same. May I present to you, Two-thousand and twelve:
January: Milkweed Assassin Bugs (Zelus longipes). A nymph doing its thing.
February: Royal Fern (Osmunda regalis var. spectabilis). I love when a new species just appears in my yard. This popped up in the margin of the pond.
March: Carolina Saddlebags Dragonfly (Tramea carolina)
April: Ivory Millipede (Chicobolus spinigerus) is detritivores, breaking down both dead plant and animal matter returning the nutrients to the soil.
May: Mockingbird takes on Red Shouldered Hawk. Those mocks are really tough birdies.
June: I think this may be a Grass-carrying Wasps (Isodontia spp.) shown on snakeroot, a plant native to Florida. They bring grass to nest and paralyze katydids (or similar) to lay eggs on.
July: The first cicada I encountered since moving to Florida.
August: Southern Flatcoil Snail (Polygyra cereolus), a native to Florida helps in decomposition and are a food source for turtles and birds such as doves. I’ve seen hundreds of the shells around, but this is the first time I ever had the actual snail peak out so I could get a good look.
September: Bee Killer (Mallophora spp.) lives up to his name. In the robber fly family, they mimic bees and while the adults kill wasps and bees (not such a good thing), the larvae parasitize soil-dwelling scarab beetle larvae which family includes “june bugs” so it’s a winner in my book.
October: Caterpillar à la mode? Double whammy for this poor caterpillar; first, it is dealing with parasitic wasp eggs hatching along its side, and now the Green Lynx spider (Peucetia viridans) is going in for the kill of both species.
November: Food preparation: I always appreciate a good love story even if it involves grasshoppers. Grasshoppers often get a bad rap, but keep in mind that the nymphs are a primary food source for baby birds.
December: Carolina Satyr (Hermeuptychia sosybius) is one of several beautiful butterflies that are often seen during the winter months in Florida.
Here is looking forward to 2013 being the most biodiverse year in all your gardens. Happy New Year!
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