Tree Cattle (Cerastipsocus venosus)

These delicate, ephemeral little black “flies”, about 6-8mm long, are actually bark lice — Cerastipsocus venosus — with the appallingly banal common name of tree cattle. (They actually share this common name with a number of other species of bark lice.) Both adults and nymphs of C. venosus form crazy-large groups (like herds of cattle,…

Cryptotermes cavifrons

This gorgeous little fairy-like insect is, tragically, a termite, a rather unfortunate insect to find in my backyard. I can only hope that one of my native population of anoles later made itself a snack after I let this pestiferous creature go on about its way. (I try to always properly thank my photo subjects.)…

White-Banded Fishing Spider

The white-banded fishing spider, Dolomedes albineus, is named for a light or white “moustache” which is sometimes found just above its chelicerae, on its clypeus (roughly its “face”). This individual does not display the white band, but it does have the many bristly setae (hairs) on its legs, and the forest-green coloration which mark it…

Lone Star Tick

A horror movie in one sentence: This is the female Lone Star tick (Amblyomma americanum) that bit me on the butt while I was minding my own business in bed! Fortunately, she didn’t have a lot of time with me; she did not have enough time to get engorged. Lone Star ticks (named after the…

Monarch Butterfly

Butterflies are hard to catch with my usual rig — you have to get very close and most butterflies won’t tolerate that, monarch included. This lovely female monarch (Danaus plexippus) was kind enough to let me try out my new iPhone 12 Pro Max on her — she’ll have to be my representative of an…

Myrmex Floridanus

This handsome little black weevil (about 5mm long), with white setae and a white stripe along the outer edge of the elytra is Myrmex floridanus, without a common name. As you may guess from the lack of a common name, this poor little dude has Wikipedia Stub Syndrome. Weevils in general are vegetarians, sometimes to…

Tuftlegged Orbweaver

The kind folks at iNaturalist.org identified this one for me — I was looking in entirely the wrong family. This lovely lady is a tuft-legged (or tuftlegged) orbweaver spider, Mangora placida, with the definitive feature, I think, being those two white spots on her abdomen, along with the shape of the dark brown stripe they’re…

Ambiguous Moth

The ambiguous moth! This delightfully-named little moth may well become my spirit animal. About 2cm across, this tiny brown moth, resembling a very small leaf with a rhinoceros horn, is in the family Erebdiae, the litter moths. Litter moths are named because many of their caterpillars feed on dead plant matter. Adults come in a…

Tigrosa annexa (Wolf Spider)

This is a tentative identification, because I can see from the bugguide forums that not everyone is decided on what this species is or even what genus it’s in, but based on “two yellow dashes flanking the median stripe in the cephalic region“, I’m pinning this lovely female wolf spider as Tigrosa annexa. Formerly members…

Southern Armyworm Moth

This tiny (8mm) little friend was making him/herself at home on one of my baby sunflowers, and unfortunately had to be (humanely) relocated to other green stuff a distance away. Southern armyworm caterpillars are blackish green to green with a uniform light brown or orange head; otherwise they are quite variable in appearance. There is…

Saddled Prominent Moth

Meet the caterpillar of the saddled prominent moth, Heterocampa guttivitta. This spectacular, bright green caterpillar is speckled with red spots, and has longitudinal yellow stripes, and a huge, flat, almond-shaped head with black, red, and yellow stripes. Apparently the defining characteristic here is the two red and yellow horns, or warts, at the back of…

Plain Red-Brown Long Horn Sedge

I’m proud of this identification. This insect looks very much like a moth, except for one thing — there appears to be an extra antenna, or possibly an extra leg, kind of furry, under its head. I had exactly this one photo of it, so I didn’t know if that was a leg, or an…

Broad-Headed Skink

Florida is home to three Plestiodon species, which all look very similar as juveniles. The southeastern five-lined skink and the common five-lined skink both look a lot like the image above as youngsters. You can tell the five-lined skinks apart if you can turn them over: the common five-lined skink has a line of broad…

Soldier Fly (Sargus fasciatus)

This large, strikingly-colored fly (metallic red/purple thorax, striped abdomen, white “racing” stripe and white spot between the eyes) is about 1 cm long. It’s one of many species of soldier flies, in the family Stratiomyidae. I wish I could say more about it, but here is the complete Wikipedia entry (other flies in the family…

Fairy Inkcap

The fairy inkcap mushroom, also known as trooping crumble cap, is a small white mushroom with a long, thin, hollow stem and an almost round white cap which will eventually turn gray-brown as the fungus ages. It is a “vegetarian” fungus, and typically appears in often quite large clusters around the bases of tree stumps….

Crab Spider (Mecaphesa sp.)

One of the pitfalls of the identification of tiny things is that, eventually, you get a pile of things you can’t tell apart without dissecting them putting them under a microscope. Crab spiders are one such group. There are 18 species of crab spider in the genus Mecaphesa in North America, and — well, not…