Shining Leaf Chafer Beetle

Oh dear — another glorious little beetle who has been formally named, and then abandoned, a series of tiny stub articles on Wikipedia and not even mentioned in the Britannica article on shining leaf chafer beetles. I understand that even if 50% of the human population each picked a species of beetle and spent their…

Whirlabout

This dainty little yellow skipper butterfly has one of the neatest names I’ve seen — the whirlabout. Its Latin name is Polites vibex. They live in the southeastern US coastal plains (think Texas – Florida – North Carolina), mostly in sunny, open areas. The caterpillars eat grasses, especially Bermudagrass and St. Augustine grass. “Skipper” butterflies…

Swamp Milkweed Leaf Beetle

This globular, yellow creature is the larva of a swamp milkweed leaf beetle, Labidomera clivicollis. Leaf beetles, in the family Chrysomelidae, tend to be named after the plants on which they specialize; as you may guess, the swamp milkweed leaf beetle eats the leaves of the swamp milkweed plant, Asclepias incarnata. These larvae will grow…

Yellow Mocis

Moths in the genus Mocis are generally medium-sized (about 26mm across), and yellowish with closely related spot patterns. There are five such moths in North America, all in the southeastern US, more or less. The range of the yellow mocis is roughly from the east coast of Texas, all along the Gulf coast, through to…

Spiny Orb Weaver

You can tell that a lot of people notice this brightly-colored, distinctive spider in their gardens, as it’s collected so many common names: spiny orb weaver, jewel spider, spiny-bellied orbweaver, kite spider, jewel box spider, smiley face spider, crab spider, crablike spiny orbweaver. Good heavens. The Latin name means roughly “thorn-belly” (Gasteracantha) and “crab shaped”…

Scaphytopius Elegans

A beautiful little leafhopper with, alas, no common name, Scaphytopius elegans can be found all over the southern US, from Californa to Texas, Florida, and North Carolina. Adults are pale reddish brown with a wide cream or yellow midline stripe, striped eyes, a pale transverse stripe with black borders crossing the “nose” and going through…

Asian Tramp Snail

Another of Florida’s fine examples of invasive, destructive wildlife, this petite (13mm) snail originated in Southeast Asia but has spread to many additional places, including Taiwan, the Gulf of Mexico, Florida, and Eastern Australia. It eats live plants, especially growing vegetables or crops, making them a pest for gardeners and farmers. Asian tramp snails are…

Unidentified – Spiders

Do you know these spiders? Please help 🙂 These photos are too good not to share, but I have no idea who’s in them!

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…

Palpada Pusilla

Another fly with no common name. Do I make a “hoverfly” page which will eventually have 6,000+ photos in it, or a separate page for each species of hoverfly? Decisions, decisions. Meet Palpada pusilla, a fly in the family Syrphidae. Syrphid flies, (or flower flies, or hoverflies), are generally beneficial pollinators as adults, eating primarily…

Metacyrba Punctata

I’ve been told that, when a species does not have a common name, I should give it one. This little fellow deserves one, don’t you think? This handsome Metacyrba punctata jumping spider was wandering around on my garage door when I spotted him. He gave me a few choice leg gestures (“Go away! I’m busy!”)…

Episemasia cervinaria caterpillar

Ordinarily I prefer using the common name as the title for the post, but this caterpillar, and the moth it will become, has no common name, and unfortunately “Geometrid Moth Caterpillar” does not narrow it down far enough. Its scientific name is Episemasia cervinaria. For those who follow Hodge nomenclature, this is Hodge #6714. When…

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…

White Peacock Butterfly

The white peacock butterfly, Anartia jatrophae, is found through much of the southeastern U.S., Central and South America, and the Carribbean. They like warm, open, weedy areas near water. Males display a unique territorial behavior, staking out a territory which may be 15m or so in diameter, and defending it aggressively from other males and…

Dorman’s Tree Snail

The Dorman’s tree snail or manatee tree snail, Drymaeus dormani, is a handsome little hermaphrodite which is harmless to plants. It is native to Florida, and has been used in Florida’s orange groves to protect the trees from sooty mold. These snails have thin, fragile shells which appear translucent. Mature snails reach 25-30 mm long….

Arrow-shaped Micrathena Spider

These striking spiders look like they ought to be related to the spiny orb-weaver (Gasteracantha sp). They are in the same family (Araneidae) but a different genus (Micrathena). They have fewer spines than Gasteracantha (and, again, probably a bunch of smaller details, like the number of hairs on the thorax or which way some microscopic…