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…

Oak Treehopper

I love treehoppers, and it was a delightful treat to find this brilliantly-colored white one with bright red eyes, orange and black stripes, and a prominent horn. The oak treehopper (Platycotis vittata) is generally about 8-9 mm long, not including the horn, which doesn’t seem to be related to the insect’s gender, and indeed may…

Green Lynx Spider

The green lynx (Peucetia viridans) is a gorgeous, brilliant green spider commonly found on shrub-like plants all over the southern U.S. It is the largest North American lynx spider. Spiders in the family Oxiopidae are fast-moving diurnal predators which do not construct webs; they use webbing mostly as as safety draglines when they move. They…

Brown-Winged Striped Sweat Bee

The brown-winged striped sweat bee (Agapostemon splendens) is another victim of Extremely Obvious Naming; it’s unfortunate that this gorgeous, metallic green bee has such a boring name. This is actually a male A. splendens; the abdomens of females are metallic green, and their tibia are furry. Sweat bees (family Halictidae) come in a huge variety…

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…

Stimulopalpus japonicus (Bark Louse)

This insect was so tiny in person that I was not entirely sure it was an insect. My eyes could only pick up a small, moving white dot. Once “blown up” through the camera lens, I saw…what was that? It looks kind of like a baby grasshopper or cricket, except the legs are wrong for…

Eastern Eyed Click Beetle

This huge (~5cm) black beetle, with its distinctive black and white eyespots, is commonly referred to as the big-eyed click beetle or eastern eyed click beetle for what I hope are obvious reasons. It is also known as the eyed elater. The Latin name is Alaus oculatus. “Click” beetles have have a spinelike structure on…

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…

Sexton Beetle (Nicrophorus carolina)

I think this is where I have to admit I have a problem. I was hanging around in the backyard, waiting for our dog do what she does best, and noticed that one of our local anole lizards had passed on. I knelt down to look, and saw that it was swarming with ants. “Oooh,…