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…

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

A common and striking yellow and black butterfly seen across the eastern United States, this is the eastern tiger swallowtail, Papilio glaucus. It’s a male, because its hindwings have almost no blue — in females, there are big blue patches right above the black parts on the hindwings. Females are actually dimorphic, and have two…

Sylvan Jumping Spider

A new species for me — this tiny dude (females are light brown) was off the marked path and I was unable to get closer, but he was at least kind enough to sit and stare at me long enough for me to get some photos. This is a sylvan jumping spider. Alas, both Colonus…

Yellow Fever Mosquito

Mosquitoes love me; I loathe mosquitoes. I don’t get a lot of photos of them, because if I venture out of my house I must be coated in an inch-thick layer of DEET to repel them. I try to maintain an indifferent, if not affectionate, attitude toward bothersome, scary, or venomous species, but — and…

Tmarus Floridensis

Crab spiders are much like jumping spiders — they don’t build a permanent web, and instead go hunting for their prey. Crab spider have smaller eyes than jumpers (relatively), and the eyes appear to extend out of a “hood” on the head. Their first two pairs of legs are much longer than their last two,…

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!”)…

Common House Spider

My garage door looks pretty clean from a distance, but upon inspection it has a couple dozen, probably, of these little spiders keeping the local mosquito, gnat, and ant population down (thank you!) A ludicrous number of species are lumped under the name “common house spider”, but these particular individuals are comb-footed or cobweb spiders…

Dog Day Cicada

Growing up in Kentucky and Indiana, I saw one or two of the big “cycles” of the 17-year cicadas. Those periodical cicadas don’t live in Florida, but here we get serenaded each summer by a variety of annual cicadas which brood every year. The dog day cicada (Tibicen canicularis or Neotibicen canicularis, depending on whom…

Hentz Orb-Weaver

This immense nope of a spider, about two inches in diameter and very peeved to be disturbed, was encountered strung, at face-height, across a walking path at the Oakland Nature Preserve in Florida. I originally abandoned Neoscona crucifera (the Hentz orb-weaver) as a possible identification, since Wikipedia says they only get to be an inch…

Broad-tipped Conehead Katydid

Slender, untapered antennae and nearly round eyes distinguish this broad-tipped conehead katydid (Neoconocephalus triops) from some very similar-looking toothpick grasshoppers. About three inches long, and apparently they make some pretty funky noises. This is very probably a male; the ovipositors on the females are very distinct. That top photo was taken with my little mirrorless…