Attidops cinctipes (Jumping Spider)

The minuscule size of this spider is difficult to convey — I thought it was a lint ball until it moved and tried to pounce on a springtail (which was bigger than it was, to give you an idea of scale). Attidops cinctipes, no common name, is a well-camouflaged and extremely tiny jumping spider which…

Green Hoverfly

This shiny little marble is an adult female Ornidia obesa (most likely)…a green hover fly, or syrphid fly. (Like horse flies, female green hover flies have widely separated eyes while males have contiguous eyes, giving them a wrap-around sunglasses look.) I find these little things charming, and they’re apparently fearless: this one hung around to…

Fragile Forktail

As a macro photographer, whose gear requires that I get pretty personal with my subjects, I generally have a lot of problems with fast-moving, flighty damselflies. I can’t blame them for not wanting something the approximate same size as a semi truck to get within two inches of them, but it makes photos like this…

Admirable Grasshopper

I can see where this gorgeously striped and spotted green grasshopper got her common name — she is truly an admirable grasshopper! (She must have just molted, her colors are so bright!) Also known as the handsome grasshopper, Syrbula admirabilis is a species of slant-faced grasshopper from the family Acrididae. This individual is about 3.5…

Humpbacked Orbweaver

Humpbacked orbweaver spiders (Eustala anastera) are identified primarily by the little bump on the end of their abdomen (sort of visible in this photo) and by lichen-green coloration (although they also come in orange and rusty brown colors). They are pretty variable, pattern-wise; you can see some of the color variation here. This one has…

Surinam Cockroach

Honestly, living in Florida, I’m surprised I didn’t run into a photographable roach sooner. You are, at this moment, eye to eye with the nymph of a Surinam cockroach, Pycnoscelus surinamensis. She’s adorable, isn’t she? When she’s an adult, she’ll be about 18-25mm long (almost an inch) — right now, she’s about 8mm long. Surinam…

Swift Crab Spider

Crab spiders get their name from their widely-splayed and elongated first two pairs of legs, which they use to catch prey bigger than they are. They do not build webs but wander around and hunt, often in flowers. Wrestling with prey several times their size can damage the spider — this one is missing a…

Pantropical Jumping Spider

I assumed at first this was a wolf spider, Lycosidae sp. I am hesitant to call it a jumping spider because this individual was “huge” — I would have put it at half an inch long — and pantropical jumping spiders seem to max out at 12mm with the females. On the other hand, half…

Stained Glass Moth

This gorgeous little girl (males have big, unique “tufts” along their abdomens) is a stained-glass moth or assembly moth, Samea ecclesialis. These very common moths are notable for being abundant, flying all year round, and for being of “no reported economic importance” (does that phrase bother anyone else?). They range all over North and South…

Gray Wall Jumper

I glanced to my side while walking and happened to notice this minuscule little lady hanging out on the pier at Wilderness Lodge at Walt Disney World — so she might actually be a clever animatronic spider. Gray wall jumper spiders (Menemerus bivittatus) are actually human imports to Florida, but fortunately they’re one of the…

Common House Spider

My garage door looks pretty clean from a distance, but upon inspection it has a couple dozen, probably, of these little spiders keeping the local mosquito, gnat, and ant population down (thank you!) A ludicrous number of species are lumped under the name “common house spider”, but these particular individuals are comb-footed or cobweb spiders…

Rainbow Scarab Beetle

I never thought I’d find dung beetles exciting, but here we are. This gorgeous lady is a female rainbow scarab beetle, Phanaeus vindex, almost an inch long and with the cutest little bright yellow antennae! The ancient Egyptians worshiped scarab beetles. Looking at these colors, I can see why! Like all dung beetles, she looks…

Mabel Orchard Orb Weaver

Leucauge comes from Greek roots which mean “with a bright gleam”. The family is differentiated from other tetragnathid spiders by their oval bodies and the brilliant orange markings on the underside of the abdomen. Honestly, this may also be a Leucauge venusta. The two species are essentially identical unless you want to get extremely intimate…

Pink-striped Oakworm Moth

This fuzzy little pink-to-orange silk moth of the family Saturniidae is found across Canada and the US. The females are larger (maybe an inch and a half long); the males have large transparent spots on their wings. Both sexes have the little white spot. In Florida, these guys reproduce year round. Males attract the females…

Blue Dasher Dragonfly

Whoever named the blue dasher dragonfly (Pachydiplax longipennis) clearly hadn’t seen a female; this female has almost no blue on her whatever. The males, of course, have bright blue abdomens, a green striped thorax, and green eyes. Blue dashers are “perching” dragonflies; they regulate their body temperature by basking in the sun. If they really…

Io Moth

The io moth, Automeris io, is notable for large eyespots in the middle of the hind wings. There are seven species in the US; Automeris io is the only one found in Florida. Its range extends through most of the eastern US. These moths are sometimes also called the corn emperor moth and peacock moth….