Archives for the month of: October, 2013



Dolomedes triton

Family:  Pisauridae

Although there are over a hundred of Dolomedes in the world, only nine are found in North American.   Almost all are semi-aquatic and are nocturnal.

The six-spotted fishing spider can walk, glide, row on water and dive into the water, capturing an air bubble which allows it to remain submerged for over 1/2 hour.   They detect prey by the vibrations in water when hunting on water, although they can hunt on land or underwater.

The six-spotted fishing spider hunts during the day for mosquitoes, crane flies, common whitetails, eastern dobsonflies, northern caddis flies, field crickets, true katydids, honey bees, wood frogs, spring peepers, southern leopard frogs, eastern mosquitofish, creek chubs, golden shiner, bluegills, eastern newts, ebony jewelwings, green stinkbugs, giant willow aphids, blue bottle flies and other six-spotted fishing spiders.   If a male approaches a female who has already mated, he may be eaten by her.

The spiders, in turn, are hunted by bluegills, yellow perch, largemouth bass, channel catfish, creek chubs, great blue herons, bullfrogs, southern leopard frogs, common snapping turtles, black crappie and their own species.

The female will encase her eggs in a sac and carry it to a protected area where she will stand guard until the eggs hatch and the spiderlings are ready to fend for themselves.   Spiders overwinter over two seasons before they mate.

This photo was taken on May 28, 2013.  Another spider was hidden under a tent of spatterdock leaves and a spent spider casing was hanging from the edge of that “tent”.

The second photo was taken on May 4, 2018 on native apple snail eggs.




Nyssa sylvatic var biflora


Native L 48, Canada

Blooming:  March, before Ogeechee tupelo, white

Pollinated by insects, primarily bees, but pollen also spread by wind.  Honey produced usually called baker-grade honey, which, unlike white tupelo, will granulate.

Foliage and twigs eaten by deer.   Black bears, foxes, wood ducks, wild turkeys and robins eat fruit in the fall.  The photo above was taken on October 10, 2013.

Early settlers used hollowed trunks as bee hives or rabbit traps which traps were called  bee-gums or rabbit-gums.  Twigs  broken at right angles were once used as toothbrushes, hence the common name, pioneer’s toothbrush.

Location: N 30 00 306, W084 33 566′ (2.9 RL)


Diodia virginiana L.


Native L 48

Blooming:  September, October, white

Location:  Nick’s Road primitive camp site (3.75 RR upstream from Womack Creek campground landing), good take-out

P1050350Callicarpa americana L.


Native L 48

Blooming:   white

Location:  Nick’s Road primitive camp site (take-out on RR 3.7 miles north (upriver) from  Womack Creek  campground landing

These seeds were photographed on September 26, 2013.   Blooming times indicated only if we have seen the plant bloom.


Elphantopus carolinianus Raeusch.


Native: L 48

Blooming:  September, October, purplish white

Location:  Nick’s Road Primitive Camp site (take-out on RR)



Pontederia cordata L.


Native L 48, Canada

Blooming:  May, purple

Pickerel weed stands  attract fish which eat insects which visit the flowers, such as bees, wasps and butterflies. It also provides safe cover for fish, aquatic invertebrates and small mammals.   Manatees seem to favor pickerel weed over other food and the leaves and roots are eaten by geese and muskrats.  Seeds are eaten by ducks and other water birds and deer.   Apparently trhe young leaves are edible as salad greens or as a potherb, lightly boiled and dotted with butter.  (David Byres,

Native Americans used infusion to prevent pregnancy and for illness in general.

Location: N 30 00 179′, W 084 32.650′ (RL .2 miles);  N 30 00 229′, W 084 33 563′ (RR 1.75 m); N 30 00 718′, W 094 34 242′ (RL 3.5 m);  N 30 00 609′, W 084 34 196′ (RL 3 m); N 30 00 377′, W 084 33 540′ (RL 2.11m)

P1020499Iris virginica L.


Native L 48, Canada

Blooming:  April, May, purple

Location: N 30 00 209′, W 084 33 548′ (1.7RL), N 30 00 830′, W 084 34 449′ (3.8 RL).

The flower of the iris attracts large bumble bees, flies, skipper butterflies, moths and other insects.  The iris rely on both seeds and rhizomes for propogation.

Cherokees used the root as a salve for ulcers, infusion for liver health, and a decoction from root for “yellowish urine.”

Iris was a goddess in the Greek Pantheon who acted as a messenger between the denizens of Olympus and humans on earth.  Her presence was always noted with a rainbow and ancient Greeks interpreted a rainbow as a message being transmitted by Iris from a god to a human.   Because she was also responsible for guiding women’s souls after death, iris were often planted on graves.

The symbol of the iris was used by royalty as early as the  Eygyptian pharoahs and from Clovis of the Franks to Louis VII embarking on the Crusades.   Fleur-de-louis (Flower of Louis) became “fleur-de-lys”, “fleur-de-luce”, or  “fleur-de-lis”, a symbol associated with France.

While the blue flag iris is native to the US, there are many species of Iris in the world, which appear in many colors.  The yellow iris, seen on riverbanks in other areas of the  US, are not native.

The resin in the tubers, if over ingested, is dangerous.  Iridin or Irisin, used as a diuretic was once produced from the plant.  In India the root is still used today to combat obesity and it is believed that the chemicals may be able to increase the rate of consumption of fat into waste.   Orris root is iris root. The iris root was dried which then smells like violets.  Ground orris roots were put into pomander balls to perfume the air.   Witches used the powder to induce abortions.   Iris roots are still used as fragrances.

Blue flag flowers, when mixed with water, produces a blue dye which, like litmus paper, will turn red when exposed to acid, or back to blue when re-exposed to an alkali.

Because it grows in areas where sunlight is at a premium, both sides of the iris leaf can assimilate light, unlike other broad-leafed plants.

There are not as many patches of blue flag iris on Womack creek compared with Crooked River just 2 miles downriver,  where there are large stands.  Look for stands on Womack Creek where there are patches of sunlight on the forest floor.    They bloom earlier on the Crooked River, the river in Tate’s Hell which connects the Ochlockonee, south of Womack creek, to the Carrabelle/New River on the west side of Tate’s Hell State Forest.

We expect to see more Iris blooming in 2014  on Womack Creek because so many of the large trees have fallen in 2013 opening up more areas exposed to sun.


Panoquina ocola

Family/Subfamily:  Skippers (Herperiidae)/Banded Skippers (Hesperiinae)

Egg: single green on host plant leaf

Laval host:  various grasses

Frequency:  common in Florida all year round

Nectar:  On Womack creek in early fall on Marsh sunflower, climbing aster and climbing hempvine.  In the summer buttonbush and pickerel weed.


P1050585Urbanus proteus

Family/subfamily:  Skippers (Hesperiidae)/Spread-wing skippers (Pyrginae)

Egg: single pale yellow on underside of host plant leaf

Larval host: legumes, wisteria, kudzu, beggarweeds

Nectar:  On Womack Creek commonly seen on fall flowers:  climbing hempvine, climbing aster, swamp sunflower

Migrates to frost-free areas of Florida in winter.

The lower photo is of the underside (ventral) of the wings.


Agraulis vanillae

Family/subfamily:   Brush-foots (Nymphalidae)/Longwing Butterflies (Heliconiinae)

Egg:  single yellow laid on host leaf

Larval host: Passion flower species, maypop

Larva: orange with greenish black stripes and black branches spines

Frequency:  All Florida

Gulf fritillary can also be seen on climbing hempvine which blooms on the creek at the same time.

In the spring and summer the gulf fritillary can be seen in southeastern US where they lay their eggs.  In late summer they migrate further south to frost-free areas of Florida.   They can be found throughout Florida.