Sweetpotato Armyworm Moth

Meet the sweetpotato armyworm caterpillar, a reasonably common backyard denizen in the southeastern US, Central and South America. This particular fat little bugger had an uninterrupted evening eating the only one of my sunflowers to successfully bloom, and was not gracious at all when I pulled it off my sunflower and set it on the…

Barred Owl

This adult barred owl (Strix varia) and almost-fledged juvenile were out and about in the early morning in May. The adult was absolutely silent in flight, and I would not have noticed it if it had not flown directly in front of me. Barred owls live all over the eastern half of the US. They…

Green Trig Cricket

This tiny beast, about 3mm long without, and 8mm long with, the antennae, is a nymph of a green trig cricket or green sword-tailed cricket, a member of the genus Cyrtoxipha. Cyrtoxipha means “curved sword”, and refers to the females’ ovipositor. “Trig” comes from the subfamily name for sword-tailed crickets, Trigonidiinae. This is either C….

Rugosana Querci

Another no-common-name, no description on Wikipedia, nothing beyond “It’s a leafhopper”. I understand the problems involved with trying to do field research on an animal 1/4″ long, but it just seems sad that just about all I can say about this striking little insect is “It’s a leafhopper”. Bugguide.net tells me it’s probably a second…

Grizzled Mantid

Also known as the lichen mimic mantid or Florida bark mantid, Gonatista grisea is very well camouflaged — I would never have noticed this 10mm baby if it had not moved! (When it’s grown, it will only be about 35-40mm long.) Their coloring resembles that of lichen, and they are practically invisible on tree bark….

Blue-Winged Grasshopper

This photo was taken in Costa Maya in 2019. (I’m walking around visiting ancient ruins — Kohunlich, for the curious — and taking photos of insects. I know, I have problems.) These little red-and-black insects are juvenile (probably about second instar) blue-winged grasshopper nymphs (Tropidacris collaris) clustering together. As adults, they’ll be huge — up…

Six-Spotted Fishing Spider

Fish-eating spiders are found on every continent except Antarctica. They use surface tension to run on the surface of the water, hunting insects, small fish, tadpoles, and anything else that lives at or near the surface. The spiders can walk on the water by using their paired legs in a manner not unlike boat paddles,…

Juvenile Brown Anole

Meet Anolis sagrei, the brown, or Cuban anole. Also known as the Bahaman anole or De la Sangra’s anole, this invasive species originated in Cuba and has wandered north into Florida and much of the southeastern United States, brought by the pet trade and by hiding away with landscaping plants. An opportunistic and fecund species,…

Cattle

These three juvenile beef cattle all wanted to know if cameras were edible.