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…

Tumbling Flower Beetle

This beetle is so tiny (approximately 2-3mm long) that I wasn’t even sure it was an insect when I snapped its photo. This minuscule insect is a tumbling flower beetle, or pintail beetle, in the family Mordellidae. These beetles all share the long, pointed abdomen extending past the elytra, the bent-over posture with the angle…

Harmostes Serratus

Harmostes serratus is distinguished from other North American species in the genus by the toothed (serrated) edges of the pronotum (the bit behind the head). This little dude is in the family Rhopalidae, known as “scentless plant bugs” because, although these insects look like and are (distantly) related to stink bugs, they are not actually…

Grass Tubeworm Moth

Another in the unexpectedly immense category of “little brown moths”, Acrolophus arcanella has some neat geometric patterns and — well, I’m sure that real entomologists don’t call it a “pompadour”, but it’s a neat little lion’s mane of fluffy scales on the back of the head and “shoulders”. The name Acrolophus actually comes from the…

Casemaking Clothes Moth

To get a sense of how tiny this moth is, it’s sitting on my window screen. The whole moth is perhaps 3mm long. The casemaking clothes moth gets its common name from its behavior — its larvae, which look like regular caterpillars, form flattened cases for themselves out of whatever’s handy, and primarily eat fibrous…

Saddleback Caterpillar

This spectacular fellow is the saddleback caterpillar, Acharia stimulea. It is named for that bright green “saddle” on its abdomen, but its most notable feature is the four tubercles (one on each “corner”), each featuring some serious-looking, spiky armament. The sharp spines on those tubercles are venomous, and will break off in your skin if…

Collared Ground Cricket

I am somewhat nervous about this identification. The collared ground cricket (Neonemobius nr. mormonius) which is found in Florida may or may not be the same species as the geographically separate mormon ground cricket (Neonemobius mormonius), which lives in the western US. All I can say is that this dainty little (probably juvenile) girl is…

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…

Salvinia Stem-Borer

A small (1cm) white and brown mottled moth with an astonishingly close resemblance to its cousin, S. ecclesialis, the Salvinia stem-borer feeds on many types of aquatic plants, including water lettuce (Pistia stratiotes) and, of course, Salvinia rotundfolia, a water fern. Since its caterpillars can do a lot of damage to those plants, even to…

Three Spotted Skipper

Who knew? — searching for “small brown butterfly” is just as frustrating as searching for “small brown moth”. This particular small brown butterfly happens to be a three-spotted skipper, Cymaenes tripunctus, a grass skipper in the butterfly family Hesperiidae. It lives all over the Caribbean, and of course Florida because everything lives here. “Skipper” type…

Florida Leatherleaf Slug

I walk through my yard every morning pretending that our leaf piles are not full of these three-inch-long, flat slugs. I love slugs, but I’d prefer not to step on one! Florida leatherleaf slugs (Leidyula floridana), like other terrestrial slugs, eat fungi, decaying plant matter, and sometimes live plants. They are generally active in damp,…

June Bug / May Beetle

Technically, this is neither a June bug nor a May beetle as I found this individual in April. It is not a true bug; it is instead a scarab beetle, Phyllophaga sp. Alas, further identification would require me becoming very personal with this little guy, and, as always, I prefer not to damage my photo…

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!”)…

Pantropical Jumping Spider

I assumed at first this was a wolf spider, Lycosidae sp. I am hesitant to call it a jumping spider because this individual was “huge” — I would have put it at half an inch long — and pantropical jumping spiders seem to max out at 12mm with the females. On the other hand, half…

Southeastern Five-Lined Skink

The southeastern five-lined skink lives, as one might expect, all over the southeastern United States. It looks a great deal like the American five-lined skink, Plestiodon fasciatus, but based on geographic range (this individual was found in central Florida) this is more likely the southeastern than the American five-lined skink. The scientific name “inexpectatus“, which…