Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Milkweed Assassin Bug

 Florida Nature Pictures

Milkweed Assassin BugThe Milkweed Assassin Bug (Zelus longipes Linnaeus) is a beneficial insect that helps to control populations of pests in Florida gardens. They are not aggressive and do not pose a threat to humans or pets. Unfortunately, these bugs are also predators of caterpillars, including those of the monarch butterfly. They are also known to feed on other insects, such as aphids, leafhoppers, and beetles.

 Milkweed assassin bugs are slender, brown insects with long antennae. They are about 1 inch long and have a distinctive needle like proboscis which it keeps folded under its head.. This piercing mouthpart is not used to inject venom, but to inject digestive enzymes into their prey. They are sometimes confused with Milkweed Bugs (Micracanthops floridanus). Assassin bugs have longer more slender heads and the piercing mouthpart that the Milkweed Bugs do not.

Milkweed Assassin Bug

Milkweed assassin bugs are found in a variety of habitats, but they are most common in gardens and other areas where there are plenty of milkweed plants.

Here are some additional facts about the milkweed assassin bug:

  • They are solitary insects and do not form colonies.
  • They are active during the day and can be seen hunting for prey on milkweed plants and other vegetation.
  • The female milkweed assassin bug lays her eggs in clusters on milkweed plants. The eggs hatch into nymphs, which resemble miniature adults.
  • The nymphs go through several stages of development before they become adults.
  • The milkweed assassin bug has a lifespan of about one year.

*** Please visit Florida Nature Pictures for more pictures of Florida Wildlife.
***Visit the Insects page to see more wonderful Insects!

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Red Admiral Butterfly

Red Admiral Butterfly
The red admiral butterfly is a common sight in Florida, flying from spring to fall. It is a medium-sized butterfly with a wingspan of 58-76 mm. The upper side of the wings is orange with black borders and a distinctive red band across the forewing. The underside of the wings is brown with orange markings.

Red admiral butterflies are found in a variety of habitats in Florida, including forests, woodlands, gardens, and fields. They are most common in moist open areas near woods. Their host plants are nettles, such as stinging nettle, false nettle, and Pellitory.

The red admiral butterfly has a two or three generation life cycle in Florida. The adults lay their eggs on the host plants in the spring. The caterpillars hatch and feed on the leaves of the host plant. They pupate in the fall or winter, and the adults emerge in the spring.
Red Admiral Butterfly

Red admiral butterflies are important pollinators. They help to transfer pollen from one flower to another, which helps plants to reproduce. They are also preyed upon by birds, spiders, and other insects.

Red admiral butterflies are a beautiful and beneficial part of Florida's ecosystem. They are a welcome sight in gardens and other outdoor areas.

Here are some tips for attracting red admiral butterflies to your yard:

Plant nettles or other host plants for the caterpillars.
Provide a source of nectar for the adults, such as flowers, fruit, or sap.
Create a moist environment by watering your plants regularly and providing a birdbath or shallow dish of water.
Avoid using pesticides in your yard.
By following these tips, you can help to create a butterfly-friendly habitat in your yard!

*** Please visit Florida Nature Pictures for more pictures of Florida Wildlife. ***
*** Visit my Butterflies & Moths page to see more wonderful butterflies! ***

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

An introduction to Butterfly Gardening in South Florida

Zinnia Flower

South Florida is home to a variety of beautiful butterflies, and creating a butterfly garden is a great way to attract these amazing creatures to your yard. Here are a few tips on how to get started!

- Choose a location that receives at least 4 hours of full sun per day. Butterflies need sunlight to warm their bodies and help them fly.

- Plant a variety of flowers that bloom throughout the year. Butterflies are attracted to brightly colored flowers with nectar. Listed below are some good choices for South Florida.

-Milkweed: This is the host plant for monarch butterflies, and it's also a beautiful flower.

-Passionflower: This vine is a favorite of gulf fritillaries and many other local caterpillars.

-Lantana: This shrub produces colorful flowers that attract a variety of butterflies.

-Butterfly bush: This shrub is covered in nectar-rich flowers from summer to fall.

-Zinnias: These flowers come in a variety of colors and bloom all summer long.

-Create a water source for butterflies to drink and bathe in. A birdbath or shallow dish filled with water will do the trick.

-Add some shelter for butterflies to rest in. A small tree or shrub can provide a shady spot for butterflies to relax.

-Avoid using pesticides and herbicides in your butterfly garden. These chemicals can harm butterflies.

-With a little planning and effort, you can create a butterfly garden that will attract these beautiful creatures to your yard for years to come.

Black Swallowtail Caterpillar
Here are some additional tips for butterfly gardening in South Florida ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

-Plant native plants. Native plants are better suited to the local climate and conditions, and they're more likely to attract butterflies.

-Avoid using fertilizers. Fertilizers can make plants grow too quickly and produce weak flowers that are less attractive to butterflies.

-Deadhead flowers regularly. Deadheading removes spent blooms and encourages new flowers to form.

-Monitor your garden for pests and diseases. Butterflies are susceptible to some of the same pests and diseases as other plants, so it's important to be on the lookout for problems.

Butterfly Host Plant

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Help me ID this Orchid

Can anyone help me ID this beautiful Orchid?
Beautiful Burgundy color flowers.
They have a soft sweet scent to them.
It has been growing in this hanging basket for about 4 years
and now is when it finally flowers.

Check out for some Orchids I have been able to ID.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Key Lime Harvest September 2016

My little Key Lime tree gave a good harvest this year. It is only about 2 feet tall right now. It gave about 35 nice sized Key Limes. Nice and juicy inside too. For this size tree I am very happy.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Giant Swallowtail Butterfly Caterpillars!

Just posted a New video to YouTube.
I have several stages of the Giant Swallowtail Butterflies Caterpillars on my Calamondin Citrus plant!
They are hungrily eating up the leaves.
Keeping Citrus plants in my home ensures I will see these beautiful Butterflies
flying around my yard. 

Please visit my website page dedicated to the
Giant Swallowtail Butterflies Life Cycle to learn more.

Thank you!

Sorry about the shaky and blurry video! It was really windy and I was having camera issues :)

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Lichen or Fungus? Help me ID!

Saw this pretty large beauty on the ground in
Windley Key State Park.
It was about 8 inches across in size
right next to the base of a tree in the shade.

Is this a Fungus or Lichen?

Can anyone help me ID this???