Jikradia Olitoria

The description of this species on bugguide.net reads: “variably light brown to grayish or bluish, sometimes yellowish or brownish-yellow”, which I find covers the entire color spectrum pretty well. The females have white stripes on their wings, except when they don’t; the males are generally a uniform color, whatever color they’ve chosen. The nymphs can…

Mantis Fly

Okay, technically, this is a shore fly, and it’s definitely a fly, not a mantis, but what else can you call this little dude? Meet Ochthera tuberculata, one of about 13 North American species, and 40 species worldwide, of “shore flies with raptorial forelegs”. (They’re not technically “mantis flies”, because that’s an entirely separate family…

Stiletto Fly

About the size of a house fly but unaccountably much longer in the abdomen, with long legs, and in color resembling a flesh fly (red eyes, black and white striped thorax, black and white striped abdomen), this is in fact a stiletto fly, Penniverpa festina. You’d think something this big would have more than a…

Acanalonia Servillei

This charming little planthopper nymph is in the process of destroying the leaf of this succulent by sucking all the useful stuff out of the stem. As adults, Acanalonia servillei are charming little bright green wedges with a yellow dorsal stripe and red eyes; the nymphs are white, and look like they have brown eyeshadow….

Longlegged Fly

Technically, “longlegged fly” describes the family, not this individual species, but that’s the common name for Condylostylus longicornis. This small, iridescent green fly with red eyes is tiny — about 5mm (I need a better measurement, I describe everything as 5mm) — and fast! This individual really, really wanted to sit on that plant, but…

Omolicna Joi

The identification here makes me nervous, since Omolicna joi was only recently discovered (2014) and the pattern on the wings on this little dude/ette really reminds me of the much more common citrus flatid planthopper, Metcalfa pruinosa. I always try to assume that I’ve found the more common/boring species, because who the hell am I…

Eastern Green Grass Springtail

This is an entirely new genus for me — and family — and class! These tiny little insects (only about 2mm long) are very common, but also extremely small, and they like to hide under decaying plant and animal matter so we don’t really see them much. This is the eastern green grass springtail, or…

Flesh Fly

This photo is most notable for the fly having been chilly enough (“winter” in Florida) that it held still for me to get within 3 inches and get a photograph. I cannot normally catch flies, so to speak, with my macro rig. The 108 genera, and 2500 species, of flesh flies eat carrion, dung, and…

Green Lacewing

There are 22 species of “green lacewing” in Florida, spread across a number of families, and the identification key reads like marketing material from the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation, reminding me of a quote from Carl Sagan: “Before you can identify a green lacewing, you must first invent the universe…or at least look up the definition…

Root Maggot Fly

This is one of those species where the scientific web sites say almost nothing, other than to argue over semantics and exactly who named the insect last, and the pest control sites have a lot to say. (What can I say, nobody seems to want to write a PhD thesis on small, feces-eating flies.) As…

Stilt Legged Fly

Grallipeza nebulosa is a species of stilt-legged fly from the family Micropezidae. These little guys are notable for their “dancing” — they can often be seen running back and forth, waving their brightly marked forelegs around. The tiny white feet are visible even at a distance to the human eye. There is not a lot…