Archives for category: October

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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”.

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Lyssomanes viridis

Size:  females 7-8-mm (2.8-3.1 inch), males 6-8mm (2,4-3.1 inch)

Range:  throughout Florida, from spring to early autumn

Habitat:  woodlands, on broad leaf evergreens (e.g. magnolias, bays) and live oak.

Food:  aphids, mites, ants, other plant insects and other jumping spiders

The photo above seems to be that of a female.

 

 

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Family:  Tetragnathidae

Spiders have 8 legs, 2 body parts and no antennae.

Longjawed spiders are called because their fangs (chelicerae) are as long or longer than their cephalathorax.  All Tetragnathidae have 8 eyes.  They are called orb weavers because they build a web which has a circular grid, although the spokes (radii) are not as many and the webs look a bit disorganized compared to regular orb weavers.

The spiders hatch from eggs in the spring and look like small adults, molting as they grow.  They live for about 1 year, mating and laying eggs at the end of summer.

The genus Tetragnatha are often found near or over water, as the spider above was.

They do bite, but are not considered dangerous.

 

 

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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.

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Diodia virginiana L.

Forb/herb/annual/perennial

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

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Elphantopus carolinianus Raeusch.

Forf/herb/perennial

Native: L 48

Blooming:  September, October, purplish white

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

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Lobelia cardinalis L.

Forb/herb/perennial

Native:  Threatened in Florida

Blooming:  September, October, red

Location:  (We do not identify locations of threatened and endangered species)

Standing like red-coated sentinels on the forest floor, these flowers are pollinated by  ruby-throated hummingbirds.  The spicebush swallowtail butterflies drink it’s nectar, but cannot penetrate deep enough to act as pollinators.  Bees can also be seen on the flowers.

The roots were used by native Americans for a variety of conditions and ailments including epilepsy, fever, sores, parasitic worms, typhoid, bronchial conditions, catarrh,rheumatism, swelling,  witchcraft and grieving sickness.   The plant contains alkaloids and has caused death in humans.

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Mikania scandens (L.) Willd.

Vine/perennial

Native: L 48

Blooming:  September, October, white

Location:  N 30 00 167′ W 84 32 628′ (RL .38 m), N 30 00 088′ W 84 33 142′ (1.09 RL)

Visited by skipper butterflies, gulf fritillary,  honeybees, bumble bees, hornets and other invertebrates not yet identified.  An orb-weaver spider had built a web across the vines.  Also look for anoles looking for an opportune meal of the insects.

The Seminole Indians used it for skin itch.  Current research indicates some anaelgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.  Other folk medicine use outside the US document use for insect bites and stings (west Bengal, India) and as an anti-coagulant.  There is continuing pharmacological tests on the plant to determine its medical applications.

P1050344Lycopus rubellus Moench

Forb/herb/perennial

Blooming:  September, October, white

Location: N 30 00.088′, W084 33.122′ (1.06RL), N 30 00.129′,W084 32.979′ (.5RR),N 30 30 363′, W084 33 613′ (2.1 RL); N 30 00.551′,  W084 34.190′ (3.29RL)

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Melanthera nivea (L) Small

Forb/herb/ Perennial

Native L 48, VI

Blooming:  September. October, white

Nectar source of numerous butterfly species and bees.

Location: N 30 00.204′,W084 32.690′ (.95RL)