Archives for category: August


Romalea microptera (Romalea guttata)

Size: adult female 50-70mm (2-2.8″), males 43-55mm (1.7-2.2″)

Location: Southeastern US, broad range in low, wet areas in pastures and woods and along ditches.  In north Florida from about March to November.

Food:  broad variety, but prefers broad-leafed plants.  Polyphagous — eats small amounts of a large variety of plants.  In Florida can create problems in citrus groves, vegetable plots and landscape ornamentals.

Life cycle:  One generation per year, with eggs over wintering (this stage can be as long as 8 months), egg laying begins about one month after reaching adult hood, usually the summer months.  Eggs are deposited in soil located in drier areas although adults prefer damp or wet habitats.

Predators:  tachinid fly (Anisia serotina).   Most birds and lizards avoid these insects, except loggerheard shrikes (Lanius ludovicianus) will capture them, impale and cache the grasshoppers on barbed wire and return when the toxins have degraded.

Generally the adult is dull yellow color, but in North Florida adults remain black.

The common name describes the walking and crawling behaviour of the grasshopper.  “Lubber” is from an old English word meaning lazy or clumsy.  Novice seamen were called “landlubbers”.



Amblycorypha oblongifolia

Male nymph.

Green is the most common color of this species, but it can also be pink and tan (rare), or dark tan or orange (both very rare).  The color determined by genes and remains constant from birth through adulthood.




Libellula vibrans

Either female or immature male

Habitats:  ponds, slow streams and especially swamps

Frequency:  common April, May, June, July, August, September

Behaviour:  unwary

Information from Giff Beaton, Dragonflies and Damselflies of Georgia and the Southeast.




Ardea herodias

Family:  Ardeidae

Great blue herons can be seen throughout Tate’s Hell, in the rivers, creeks and ditches along the roads that crisscross the forest.   These are large, elegant birds with blue-gray backs, black sides and gray and white striped bellies.  The heron’s has a white face, cap and black crest on its head.  The juvenile is duller color and without a crest.  White and intermediate phases occur in Florida.  Great Blues are easily recognized in flight by 6-foot wind span and neck folded into an “S”.

Great blues can be found anywhere in the continental US and southern portions of Canada.   Though they are migratory birds, they can be seen in Florida throughout the year.  Their preferred habitats include lakes, ponds, rivers and marshes.  They lay two to seven pale blue or blue green eggs on a shallow platform of sticks lined with finer material, usually in a tree, but sometimes on the ground or concealed in a reed bed.  They often nest in colonies.  The eggs incubate from 25 to 30 days and both adults share in the sitting.  The average life span is 15 years.

They are carnivorous and eat fish, frogs, salamanders, lizards, snakes, shrimps, crabs, crayfish, dragonflies, grasshoppers and other aquatic insects.  They forage while wading, of belly deep, impaling prey with their sharp bills.  They are active day and night.

The great blue heron in Womack Creek is particularly skittish and therefore we have not been able to get closer to the bird, unlike other places where it is fairly easy to get close enough to great blues while paddling.  All photographs on this blog are all taken on Womack Creek so until we are able to get closer to the bird(s), this photo will have to suffice.

Most of the information is from iBird PRO, a great I-touch application for bird ID.

P1010546Smilax laurifolia

Vine; perennial

Native: L 48

Blooming:  July, August, green-white

Location: N 30 00.173’W084 32.651′(.2RL), N 30 00.176’W084 33.485′(1.75RL), N 30 00.569’W084 34.059′(3.2RL)

There are at least two species of Smilax on Womack Creek.

Laurel greenbrier are important to black bears and birds which feed on its fruit which is shiney-black.   The fruit matures the second season after the vines set fruit and overwinters.   This photo of the fruit was taken on 3/13/2013.

Native Americans used the root bark for as medicine for burns and sores and urinary disturbances.  The root was also pounded and ground into flour for bread.  The Seminoles used the plant for buckskin dye.

On a field trip Professor Anderson noted that the early spring tips of the vine have been known to be eaten.  One of us took a sample and it had a taste which seemed similar to young fern fronds which she had gathered as a  child in Hawaii, which her grandmother considered a delicacy.   Her grandmother lightly stir fried it.

Nuphar advena
Nuphar advena
Forb/herb, Perennial
Native: L 48
Blooming: May, June, July, August, September, October, yellow
Roots and seeds used in traditional medicine. Provides sheltered spawning area for fish and aquatic invertebrates. A host plant of bonnet worm, favorite food of blue gill and sunfish. Manatees will not eat spatterdock because the tannic acid and alkahloids in plants are toxic to them.
Location: N30 00.161′ W 084 32.075′  (.2RR), N30 00.405′ W084 33.784′ (2.2RL), N30 00.504′ W084 33.991′ (2.8RR)

Swamp Leatherflower
Clematis crispa
Vine, Perennial
Blooming: April, May, June, July, August, September, October
Location: N30 00.087′ W084 33.130′ (.9RL), N30 00.304′ W084 33.514′ (1.9RR), N30 00.353′ W084 33.666′ (2.4RR), N30 00.505′ W084 33.830′ (2.4RL)

In 2013 the season was extremely short, ending by mid-May.