Killer on the Loose

I am not a bee

Tis the time of year when huge “bees” are flying all over the yard.  They aren’t actually bees, but bumblebee mimics and they prey on the very insects they resemble.  Meet a Robberfly (Mallophora bomboides), a member of the insect order Diptera.  This particular species is commonly called “Florida Bee Killer” due to their preferred […]

When the Gall Moves, it Probably isn’t a Gall

Look at the shades of color in the markings

I was walking past the Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum) tree, one of two saplings I have planted on the southwest side of the pond. Bald-cypress are known for getting species-specific insects known as Cypress Twig Gall Midge (Taxodiomyia cupressiananassa). The smaller of my two trees has a few sprinkled throughout. Galls are housing created from […]

Cream of the Gardening Crop: Skimmers

They like to land on fencing too

I’ve a new dragonfly at my place.  I was excited when I saw the overall purple hue of this beauty.  I knew it was one I had never seen before and at first I struggled to identify it. Anyone can make up a  checklist of Dragonflies and Damselflies (order: Odonata) based on their location.  I […]

In the Garden: Cloudy with a Chance of Confusion

None of the angles revealed enough for a firm species identification

I met a new butterfly this week.  This particular butterfly is one of the skippers. Skippers are in the Superfamily Hesperioidea, as opposed to say, Swallowtails or Milkweed Butterflies that are in the Papilionoidea Superfamily encompassing Butterflies (excluding skippers). Skippers are a diverse bunch and often hard to identify. This skipper was rather large, dull […]

The Worms Crawl In but Do They Swim?

A "raft" of webworms float on the waters

This week I noticed that there was some webbing on a Baldcypress tree I planted a while back. At some point my property was likely home to many of these trees as is evident by decaying knees I see when the pond level gets low.  These majestic trees require wet conditions during part of the year […]

Wildlife Deception as a Defense

Closeup of a complete Glass Lizard from November 2010

Tanner, the English Setter was headed out for his afternoon stroll of the yard.  I saw something over behind a tall cluster of Bidens alba and it seemed to be thrashing.  Tanner zoomed on over and flushed out a Red-Shouldered Hawk.  The hawk flew off with its feathers somewhat ruffled in the quick getaway. Tanner […]

Garden Duplicity

Wait, those antenna look threadlike and there are no knobs

When I’m walking around my beautiful wildlife garden, I’m always on the alert for something that just seems out of place.  In the process, I’m often rewarded with some pretty interesting encounters. Recently I was finishing up the morning tour of the dog area when my eye was drawn to the Bidens alba.  I spotted […]

When Wildlife Moves On

Florida Softshell Turtle

I’m a bit sad. Well, not yet, but I will be soon.  I caught Thomasina, *my* Florida Softshell Turtle (Apalone ferox) trying to make a break for it. Generally quite shy, it is the first time I got to photograph her out of the water.  She was slinking her way through a grassy path in […]

Just in Time for National Moth Week

Just look at those BIG green eyes

The third annual National Moth Week is winding down.  This year it started last Saturday July 19 and runs through this coming Sunday, July 27, 2014.  The inaugural celebration was back in 2012 and I highlighted some of my favorite moths at the time in my weekly article. Moths serve as food for reptiles, birds […]

Yellow and Blue make Beauty in the Garden

Female Ceraunus Blue butterfly (Hemiargus ceraunus)

When I see the bright yellow flowers of the Partridge Pea (Chamaecrista* fasciculata) I tend to think of Sulphur butterflies because it is a larval host for several members of the Sulphur butterfly family. The other day I was out enjoying the diversity of insect activity on the Partridge Pea plants back in my pond […]

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