Monday, July 16, 2012

It is time to Vote!

It is time to vote in Olivia's Artwork Contest.  I received so many awesome pictures. I was blown away how many creative and talented kids entered the contest.

Directions for Voting:

Like my Facebook page, then view the contest album.
Like all of the pictures you think are worthy of winning.
The artist with the most likes will win a Barnes and Noble gift card and a signed copy of Olivia Brophie and the Pearl of Tagelus.

Click Here to go to my Facebook Page
The winner will be announced on August 15!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Hidden Iridescence of the Moustached Tiger Beetle (Cicindela hirtilabris)

You may remember my original post about the moustached tiger beetle. In that post, we never got a really close look at this amazing beetle. The moustached tiger beetle is perfectly camoflaged for life on the white sands of the Florida scrub. The violin pattern on its back resembles the bits of detrius that litter the sand. Its long legs allow it to regulate its temperature on the hot sand.

It turns out, I underestimated the beauty of this beetle! If you look closely at the edges of its elytra, its tiny joints, knees, the border of its eyes, you will find a wonderful iridescence.  What a gorgeous, magical beetle!

Giant Millipedes in Florida! (Narceus gordanus)

Narceus gordanus, also known as the Grayish-Green Millipede or Smoky Ghost Millipede, is the largest North American millipede, reaching lengths of four inches. The beautiful animals are not rare and can be found all over pennisula Florida, particularly at night after rain. During the hot days, they bury themselves beneath logs and leaf litter. Out here in the scrub, they bury themselves  in the sand. Here is a picture of where a Narceus emerged from its underground burrow.

This particular millipede set off into the night and 24 inches later did a half-pipe on a small ridge of sand, spun out, then did a 90 degree turn before moving on.

Their color varies wildly. Most of them here in the Florida scrub are grayish white. The one I found tonight was darker then most.

Notice the tiny toes on each foot. The black spots are the left eyefield. Who can resist that face??

Closeup of the pores on each segment that secret a noxious liquid when the millipede is threatened

Like the two-lined walkingsticks (Anisomorpha buprestoides), Narceus mllipedes are hosts to tiny commensal acari mites. The size of a sand grain, these tiny mites ride around the forest on their free bus.  Here one is hiding in a mathematical tangle of legs.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Two Florida Beetles and a Bug

This beautiful green weevil is called...a Northern Citrus Root Green Weevil! Pachnaeus opalus. I found it at a black light trap along with the other photos on this post. Don't get too attached to this cute little guy though. He is an invasive species and, as his name suggests, he likes to eat citrus roots. Not a good combination if you are trying to make your way in Florida.

This red and black beetle is a scarab, Bolbocerosoma hamatum. It is slightly larger than a pencil eraser and it is only found in the extreme southeast, Florida, southern Georgia and southern Alabama. Basically nothing is known about its lifestyle and food.

Finally, here is a mug-shot of a stink bug.