Anolis equestris, 24 May 2022 (5 of 5)

Anolis equestris, the Cuban knight anole;
Volusia county, Florida (24 May 2022).

Here’s a slightly-wider profile shot. Here you can see the large, fleshy-pink dewlap of the anole. You can also see that impress line of chompers. Cuban knight anoles have a fairly strong bite. The bite pressure is particularly impressive — but not as impressive as that massive-yet-subtle dewlap!

Later in the Floridensis stream, we’ll eventually see more of the Cuban knight anole in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Anolis equestris, 24 May 2022 (4 of 5)

Anolis equestris, the Cuban knight anole;
Volusia county, Florida (24 May 2022).

Here’s a view of the lesser-seen side of the Cuban knight anole — its belly. The lime-yellow/green of its belly is really beautiful, right? And check out how the lower jaw fades to a nearly-white base pattern… When extended, the dewlap is a bit pinkish, as we’ll see in our fifth and final post for this particular individual.

Anolis equestris, 24 May 2022 (3 of 5)

Anolis equestris, the Cuban knight anole;
Volusia county, Florida (24 May 2022).

Again, just check out those textures! While anoles generally seem to sport fairly fantastic scale variations, I find these variations to be extremely dynamic with the Cuban knight anole. And don’t get me started on the eye scales… Oh, my… Just look at that pattern!

Anolis equestris, 24 May 2022 (2 of 5)

Anolis equestris, the Cuban knight anole;
Volusia county, Florida (24 May 2022).

A tight macro shot of the Cuban knight anole’s scaling. Check out the variations of scale-and-tissue around the forearm joint. Cuban knight anoles are noted for their brilliant colors, but I’m particularly impressed by their variable texturing!

Anolis equestris, 24 May 2022 (1 of 5)

Anolis equestris, the Cuban knight anole;
Volusia county, Florida (24 May 2022).

The first of five shots for today and tomorrow, this is an adult Cuban knight anole I finally managed to get close to in Daytona Beach, Florida. Though abundant in south Florida, this was the first season I found the Cuban knight anole in the Daytona Beach area of Volusia county, Florida. We’ve had a few isolated spottings recorded in Daytona, and I expect there will be plenty more to come in the future.

Ascia monuste, 30 June 2014

Ascia monuste, the Great southern white;
Volusia county, Florida (30 June 2014).

The Great southern white is a butterfly species that ranges throughout much of South America, Central America, and the southeastern United States. In Florida, this is also one of the few butterfly species I encounter at night. Whereas most moths are active nocturnally, most butterflies are active diurnally. Despite this, I often come across southern whites at night when trekking about for frogs and what-not. I probably notice them, however, because their white pattern sort of sticks out at night! It’s hard to not see them when you’re swinging a beam of light through the darkness.

Storeria victa, 28 February 2015

Storeria victa, the Florida brown snake;
Lake county, Florida (28 February 2015).

The Florida brown snake is native to, as you might expect, the state of Florida, mostly concentrated throughout the peninsula. They are not commonly seen due to their secretive and reclusive lifestyle. The Florida brown snake spends most of its day fairly well hidden beneath surface detritus. At night, they are more active and hunt for prey (worms, slugs, and small insects). When I do find one, the odds are high there are several more nearby. I tend to find them in clusters. This species isn’t noted as being particularly social, but they do seem to cluster around fertile territory for hunting.

Hemidactylus mabouia, 27 November 2015

Hemidactylus mabouia, the Tropical house gecko;
Monroe county, Florida (27 November 2015).

Native to sub-Saharan Africa, the Tropical house gecko is now well established throughout much of South America, the Caribbean, southern Asia, and many portions of the eastern United States. In Florida, they’re very well established and are among our more-commonly observed gecko species. As is the case with most geckos, they are nocturnal and often feed on the abundance of arthropods attracted to artificial lights.

Iguana iguana, 01 January 2010

Iguana iguana, the Green iguana;
Miami-Dade county, Florida (01 January 2010).

A fairly robust male Green iguana throwing out some communicative action in Miami-Dade county. Large males can actually turn fairly orange during the breeding season. This is to impress both females and competing males. This male is also doing a bit of head-bob/dewlap displaying. The dewlap is that large fold of skin under the head. For many lizards, the dewlap is an important component of their communicative displays.

Arenaeus cribrarius, 22 May 2014

Arenaeus cribrarius, the Speckled swimming crab;
Volusia county, Florida (22 May 2014).

This crab species is quite abundant along the beaches of Volusia county, Florida. Really, they can be found on nearly any sandy beach — typically in shallow water. They range from New England all the way south to Argentina, but, again, you’ll typically only find them in the shallows of sandy beaches. For the most part, they’re really only active at night and go about their business in solo mode. When you do see them frolicking together, mating is usually the name of the game. That’s what’s happening in this photograph. These are two Speckled swimming crabs going about the business of making even more Speckled swimming crabs.

Scolopocryptops sexspinosus, 15 February 2015

Scolopocryptops sexspinosus, the Eastern red centipede;
Volusia county, Florida (15 February 2015).

The Eastern red centipede is a fairly large Chilopodan species. They range throughout much of the eastern portion of North America and are fairly abundant in central Florida (at least in my experience). This species is what’s called a blind centipede (Family Scolopocryptopidae). They scurry about the undergrowth without the gift of vision. Still, they sense their way through life with 23 sets of legs and a healthy, robust bite. Though not considered lethal, the Eastern red centipede can deliver an uncomfortable and painful bite if/when handled. Fortunately, however, they are entirely non-aggressive towards people. They’re also quite reclusive and typically well hidden.

Anolis equestris, 24 May 2022

Anolis equestris, the Cuban knight anole;
Volusia county, Florida (24 May 2022).

My second-day encounter with the two Cuban knight anoles in the Daytona Beach area last year. This was the first set of shots of these two Cuban knight anoles on this day. As you can see, one is a decent-sized young adult, and the other (below) is a juvenile. Later that same day, I managed to get a bit closer for another round of shots (as we’ll see later on in the photostream).

Trichonephila clavipes, 11 July 2015

Trichonephila clavipes, the Golden silk spider;
Volusia county, Florida (11 July 2015).

Locally, we called these “banana spiders” when I was a kid in the late 70s and early 80s. Golden silk spiders (also known as Golden silk orbweavers) are fairly large and have a tendency to build their vast webs over path clearings. Many a time as a kid did I take a Golden silk orbweaver (and its accompanying web) to the face as I raced around Ormond Beach bike trails pretending I was Luke on an Endor speeder. For all the inadvertent contact I’ve had with this species, I’ve never been bitten once. It’s simply not an overtly reactive species. I think 1983-Janson was far more freakish and spastic than any Golden silk orbweaver I’ve ever encountered.

Pantherophis alleghaniensis, 03 April 2012

Pantherophis alleghaniensis, the Eastern (Gray) rat snake;
Lowndes county, Georgia (03 April 2012).

Here’s a fairly defensive Eastern rat snake I photographed at Grand Bay Wildlife Management Area in Lowndes county, Georgia — just outside Valdosta and not far from the Florida border. In this stretch of southern Georgia, Eastern rat snakes exhibit a mix of the “Yellow” pattern found throughout much of the Florida peninsula and the “Gray” pattern found throughout much of Georgia. Lowndes county is right on the line between the two phenotypic standards. As adults, most of the Valdosta-area Eastern rats are solidly gray-based. However, some, like this one, still sport a bit of the “Yellow rat snake” striping you’re more likely to see down south.

Atomic City, 08 June 2011

Atomic City
Bingham county, Idaho (08 June 2011).
AK2FL (Mile 3470)

Atomic City is located in Bingham county, Idaho. As of the 2020 census, its population was up from 29 the decade prior to 41. Atomic City earned its name due to its location a little south of the Experimental Breeder Reactor I, which first ushered atomic-powered electricity onto planet Earth in December of 1951. The EBR-I was eventually decommissioned in 1964.

Athabasca Glacier Informational Placard, 05 June 2011

Informational Placard at Athabasca Glacier
Alberta, Canada (05 June 2011).
AK2FL (Mile 2305)

A part of the Columbia Icefield in the Canadian Rockies, Athabasca Glacier serves as a powerful exemplar of Canadian landscapes along the edge of British Columbia and Alberta. Situated just to the west of the Icefields Parkway, Athabasca Glacier is a popular tourist stop. Many travelers from around the globe park nearby and hike up the leading edge of the glacier. Guided tours are available for those more prone to explore safely. Over the years, a number of tourists have died by slipping into otherwise-hidden crevasses. This placard is an attempt warn parents to keep an eye out for their kids. Glaciers are active systems, and it only takes a few haphazard missteps to end up on the wrong side of gravity and inertia.

Featured below is a shot of Athabasca Glacier itself.

Papilio troilus, 24 July 2020

Papilio troilus, the Spicebush swallowtail;
Volusia county, Florida (24 July 2020).

Here’s a quick iPhone snapshot of a Spicebush Swallowtail loitering around our backyard a few short years ago. We have a variety of Papilio species in this region, and I’d definitely like to see more of this specific species. Some awesome dark, dark blues going on there.

Coluber constrictor priapus, 22 July 2016

Coluber constrictor priapus, the Southern black racer;
Volusia county, Florida (22 July 2016).

Southern black racers make for great photos if you can get them to pause and peer back at your for a few seconds. This is truly an incredibly rowdy and active species. They sport sharp visual acuity and can indeed race their away across your lawn at the first sight of potential danger. Admittedly, it’s getting harder to catch up to racers as I get older!

Spragueia onagrus, 02 June 2014

Spragueia onagrus, the Black-dotted spragueia moth;
Volusia county, Florida (02 June 2014).

Mostly limited to Florida and some other stretches of the southeastern U.S. coastline, the Black-spotted spragueia is a tiny species of Family Noctuidae. As bright as it may appear here, they’re actually quite easy to miss on a day-to-day basis. This is a fairly tiny moth that quietly goes about its business hidden in otherwise-plain sight.

Nerodia clarkii compressicauda, 09 July 2011

Nerodia clarkii compressicauda, the Mangrove salt marsh snake;
Monroe county, Florida (09 July 2011).

In addition to my fairly standard macro-profile shots, I also routinely photograph “u-coil” reference shots of snake ventral patterns. While some species are fairly consistent in their ventral patterning, other species (such as Nerodia fasciata and Nerodia clarkii) can be quite variable across their respective ranges. Featured here is a fairly fabulous ventral pattern of a Mangrove salt marsh snake very close to ecdysis, the shedding of its scales. There was a nearly glow-like quality to its scales.

Papilio palamedes, 23 April 2016

Papilio palamedes, the Palamedes swallowtail;
Nassau county, Florida (23 April 2016).

In its caterpillar from, the Palamedes swallowtail has a bit of trickery in its patterning, right? sort of looks like a pudgy snake with an exaggerated, massive head. Check out how vividly patterned that fake, black eye is. Remarkable.

Anolis cristatellus, 02 September 2011

Anolis cristatellus, the Puerto Rican crested anole;
Miami-Dade county, Florida (02 September 2011).

I have great love for the Puerto Rican crested anole’s dewlap. Such a brilliant splash of tropicalia.

Charadra deridens, 04 March 2015

Charadra deridens, the Laugher moth;
Volusia county, Florida (04 March 2015).

Laugher moths are pretty cool in an understated way. Honestly, I’m not sure why they’re referred to as “Laugher” moths, but I do love the dotted pattern on their wings. This is another species that’s pretty easy to miss. They’re small and not too colorful, right? Still, check out those awesome patterns. Big designs in little things.

Euclea delphinii, 10 April 2013

Euclea delphinii, the Spiny oak slug moth;
Lowndes county, Georgia (10 April 2013).

A funky photo of a funky species. This is a Spiny oak slug moth, a moth of Family Limacodidae that sports fairly fantastic lime-green patches. The species ranges throughout much of the eastern United States. They’re quite small and perhaps easy to miss. To date, I’ve only seen (“noticed”) a couple of them.

Aspidoscelis sexlineatus sexlineatus, 29 April 2013

Aspidoscelis sexlineatus sexlineatus, the Eastern six-lined racerunner;
Hamilton county, Florida (29 April 2013).

The Eastern six-lined racerunner is exactly that: A wickedly fast, super-speedy subspecies ranging throughout the Eastern United States (mostly in the southeast). These little speedsters are tough to catch up to. They truly are fast — and very reactive. Tiny little Barry Allens — sans the red suits and time travel. Anyhow, I need to make it a point to try to get my hands on one for some decent macro shots.

Furcula borealis, 12 February 2013

Furcula borealis, the White furcula moth;
Lowndes county, Georgia (12 February 2013).

This is easily one of my favorite moth species, visually. What an incredibly beautiful moth, right? Unfortunately, this is the only White furcula moth I’ve ever seen and managed to photograph. Judging by the data on iNaturalist, this species isn’t observed all that often in the American southeast. They seem to be a bit more abundant to the northeast. There are only a handful of observations recorded in Florida and South Georgia. I’m happy to be among the precious few.

Tetraclita stalactifera, 01 July 2019

Tetraclita stalactifera, the Ribbed barnacle;
Flagler county, Florida (01 July 2019).

Stepping back beachside, here’s a shot of a small cluster of Ribbed barnacles. I don’t do much underwater photography (because the gear is a bit pricey), but I do love beachcombing and shoreline shots. Thus, barnacles often make their way into my field of vision. These crustaceans often set up shot right at the shoreline, either in fairly shallow waters or in the intertidal zone. The Ribbed barnacle is one of the species that can commonly be found exposed during low tide. These crustaceans are entirely sessile and scratch out their living from within their cement-like abodes.

Coluber constrictor priapus, 06 October 2020

Coluber constrictor priapus, the Southern black racer;
Volusia county, Florida (06 October 2020).

In my previous home in Ormond Beach, I used to grade papers and record audio feedback on the base stoop of our back patio. I spent a lot of time on that back patio, and every now and then I’d get interrupted by some manner of critter. Racers were the most common interrupters. They’re quite sensitive to movement, but they wouldn’t see me sitting at the base stoop doing my thing. This spot happened to be along a choice route for racers hunting for snacks. Honestly, it’s fairly nifty when the racers come to you. They’re incredibly fast, and it’s harder and harder to catch up to them, so when they come to you, well, that’s a bonus.

Anartia jatrophae, 19 August 2006

Anartia jatrophae, the White peacock;
Lake county, Florida (19 August 2006).

The White peacock can be ridiculously abundant in central Florida. This is one of my most-commonly observed butterflies in my home territory of Volusia and Lake counties. Outside of Florida, they range throughout portions of the American southeast, down through Central America, and even to the northern half (or so) of South America. They may be modest by global butterfly standards, but I find White peacocks to be extremely lovely.

Agkistrodon conanti, 14 March 2018

Agkistrodon conanti, the Florida cottonmouth;
Monroe county, Florida (14 March 2018).

Alas, Summer term has begun, so I have to slow things back down a bit on Floridensis. We’ll shift into the two-a-day mode, one at 9am Eastern, the other at 5pm. Now, what better way to launch a new semester than one of my good friends, the Florida cottonmouth. I photographed this youngster trekking across a rural road in the Big Cypress National Preserve area. Once again, it was entirely non-aggressive. I truly don’t know where people get that idea from. I’ve never seen a single “aggressive” cottonmouth!

Lampropeltis getula, 09 March 2006

Lampropeltis getula, the Eastern kingsnake;
Brevard county, Florida (09 March 2006).

It’s been far too long since I’ve seen an Eastern kingsnake in Florida. What a fantastic, fabulous, and friggin’ powerful species. They are nothing but muscle. I found this one slinking across a dirt road in the Merritt Island NWR area.

Iridopsis defectaria, 26 May 2020

Iridopsis defectaria, the Brown-shaded gray;
Volusia county, Florida (26 May 2020).

Fairly abundant throughout the eastern half the United States and nearly all of Central America, the Brown-shaded gray is one of those easy-to-miss moths. They’re quite small and do their thing when most of us are inside watching television, surfing the web, or straight up passed out. Like many of our moth species, the Brown-shaded gray seems to like hanging out near patio lights at night.

Plestiodon laticeps, 09 April 2013

Plestiodon laticeps, the Broad-headed skink;
Lowndes county, Georgia (09 April 2013).

Chomp. Broad-headed skinks are, predictably and understandably, not fans of being plucked from their turf. In this case, said turf was a trashcan on the Valdosta State University campus. Hopefully the skink eventually forgave me for removing it from its trashcan prison.

Sceloporus undulatus, 03 March 2004

Sceloporus undulatus, the Eastern fence lizard;
Lake county, Florida (03 March 2004).

Hard to believe this picture is nearly twenty years old. By now, this particular Eastern fence lizard has lived its life from start to finish. Hopefully it was a good run loaded with rowdy scampering and bountiful head bobs.

Anolis equestris, 18 May 2022

Anolis equestris, the Cuban knight anole;
Volusia county, Florida (18 May 2022).

On May 18th, 2022, I spotted my first set of Cuban knight anoles in the Daytona Beach area. This non-native species has been in south Florida for quite some time now, and a few pockets of Cuban knight anoles have sprung up here and there over the years. Finally, it seems they’re making their way into Volusia county. The individuals you see in these two photos were adjacent to one another. The second one is clearly a juvenile, and the first one is a larger (but still fairly young) adult. Unfortunately, all I had on my this particular day was my iPhone. Good enough for the record!

Nerodia fasciata pictiventris, 23 April 2016

Nerodia fasciata pictiventris, the Florida banded watersnake;
Nassau county, Florida (23 April 2016).

Check out this young Florida banded watersnake. So young and already such attitude — as it should be. Truth be told, the Florida banded watersnake isn’t the smartest species we have in Florida. They don’t seem as strategically deliberative or reactive compared to their other watersnake cousins… Perhaps that’s why they’re among my favorites? I can’t help but to root for the underdogs. Bless their hearts.

Lithobates sylvaticus, 10 August 2008

Lithobates sylvaticus, the Wood frog;
Anchorage, Alaska (10 August 2008).

Here’s my northernmost species of amphibian: A wood frog, Lithobates sylvaticus, photographed in an Anchorage municipal park. A few years later, I actually found one near Fairbanks, Alaska, even farther to the north, so this one didn’t quite snag the northernmost championship title. Still, I find it fairly impressive that this species has learned to adapt in such a harsh, brutally cold environment with such a short whiff of a summer. Wood frogs are extraordinarily hardy and well-adapted to life up north.

Dione vanillae, 10 October 2006

Dione vanillae, the Gulf fritillary;
Volusia county, Florida (10 October 2006).

The Gulf fritillary is one of the most commonly spotted butterflies throughout central Florida. In fact, they’re quite common across the United States, all the way west to California, and then down through Central and much of South America. They have a considerably impressive range, and locally they can be very, very abundant (and easy to spot with their bright orange coloring).

Apalone spinifera, 14 May 2006

Apalone spinifera, the Spiny softshell turtle;
Lake county, Florida (14 May 2006).

Though native elsewhere in the United States, the Spiny softshell is not native to peninsular Florida. Truly, the Florida peninsula is nothing short of a postmodern mash of ecological swirling. The state is awash with non-native species, and the Spiny softshell is one of many. The individual photographed here is the only Spiny softshell I’ve seen and photographed in central Florida. More specifically, this was in the Mount Dora area — not far from historic downtown. Spiny soft shells are far more established in the Miami area.

Protambulyx strigilis, 20 January 2017

Protambulyx strigilis, the Streaked sphinx;
Miami-Dade county, Florida (20 January 2017).

The Streaked sphinx ranges throughout peninsular Florida as well as much of the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. Sphinx moths are always quite dramatic in form, and the Streaked sphinx is no exception. I absolutely adore those wings.

South Fork Eagle River Valley (Alaska), 08 August 2010

South Fork Eagle River Valley;
Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Alaska (08 August 2010).

Here’s a sudden, dramatic twist to the northwest. This is a view of South Fork Eagle River Valley awhile back. In Alaska, shitty weather makes for good photo material. The whole region is an absolute feast of strong figure-ground contrast and texture. Though I only lived in Alaska for four years, in many ways it feels like a lifetime of memories. Everything in Alaska is BIG and dramatic.

Thamnophis saurita sackenii, 04 February 2018

Thamnophis saurita sackenii, the Peninsula ribbon snake;
Volusia county, Florida (04 February 2018).

Peninsula ribbon snakes are pretty damn adorable. They’re closely related to our garter snakes (different species of the same genus) but are a bit slimmer and trimmer. The distinctive white bar in front of each eye is a key diagnostic when differentiating between the two. Though garters can also have a bit of a slight splash in front of each eye, it’s nowhere near as defined as what you see here.

Anisota pellucida, 27 May 2015

Anisota pellucida, the Southern pink-striped oakworm moth;
Volusia county, Florida (27 May 2015).

The Southern pink-striped oakworm moth is a fairly common, if not abundant, species ranging throughout the American southeast. If you’re in the southeast, I’m sure you’ve seen one at some point in time. They’re hard to miss, right?

Megalopyge crispata, 09 July 2014

Megalopyge crispata, the Black-waved flannel moth;
Flagler county, Florida (09 July 2014).

Flannel moths are famous for their more-dangerous caterpillar form. As caterpillars, they produce a fairly nasty venom that can seriously upset one’s day. As adults, they’re a bit more 90s-flannel mode. That is, they may look sort of dangerous, but, well, you know… They’re just there. Anyhow, I dig flannel moths, and the Black-waved flannel moth is a fairly fantastic and furry representative of the family.

Basiliscus vittatus, 21 January 2017

Basiliscus vittatus, the Brown basilisk;
Broward county, Florida (21 January 2017).

Check out this scrappy Brown basilisk pondering its next move in Broward county, Florida. As it turned out, the next move was what the next move typically is with this species: A burst of energy and propulsion. Brown basilisks are damn fast when they want to be.

Coelodasys unicornis, 23 April 2014

Coelodasys unicornis, the Unicorn prominent;
Flagler county, Florida (23 April 2014).

A member of Family Notodontidae, the Unicorn prominent is a sight to behold. This identification is supported by both iNaturalist and feedback.This is apparently a male, and a fairly green-toned one at that! It was a cacophony of texture and earthen tones. A truly beautiful and distinct moth.

Pantherophis alleghaniensis, 17 August 2017

Pantherophis alleghaniensis, the Eastern (yellow) rat snake;
Volusia county, Florida (17 August 2017).

Here’s one of our backyard Yellow rat snakes (as we refer to them locally). In central Florida, the Eastern rat snake sports this particular patterning (yellow base tone with dark stripes). If you hear tell of Eastern rat snakes and Yellow rat snakes, they are both the same thing. Whatever you choose to call them colloquially, they remain, as ever, entirely awesome. This is a fairly small one.

Darapsa myron, 14 April 2015

Darapsa myron, the Virginia creeper sphinx;
Volusia county, Florida (14 April 2015).

Widely distributed throughout the eastern half to the continental United States, the Virginia creeper sphinx moth is a fantastic, somewhat-understated, species of Family Sphingidae. They can be seen throughout much of the year, especially down south, except November through the start of February.

Atteva aurea, 26 April 2015

Atteva aurea, the Ailanthus webworm moth;
Volusia county, Florida (26 April 2015).

Ranging throughout most of the Eastern United States and nearly all of Central America, the Ailanthus webworm moth is an ermine moth most commonly observed from September through November via iNaturalist. Also reported on iNaturalist, there’s an observation peak around April, which happens to be when I saw this one (back in 2015). I’ve seen a number of Ailanthus webworm moths over the years, but I don’t consider them to be either overly abundant or rare. They just sort of pop up from time to time, and I’m always happy to see them. A very lovely moth.

Anolis equestris, 11 June 2016

Anolis equestris, the Cuban knight anole;
Miami-Dade county, Florida (11 June 2016).

Behold! A mighty Cuban knight anole beefing up beautifully on the side of a tree! I really do have a lot of adoration for this particular non-native species. They’re such beefy tanks. I photographed this one in a residential park in Miami-Dade county. Down south, they’re fairly abundant at this point.