Nemoria lixaria, 12 March 2015

Nemoria lixaria, the Red-bordered emerald moth;
Volusia county, Florida (12 March 2015).

Oh yeah, I do love the Red-bordered emerald moth. This is one of those easy-to-miss species. They’re very, very tiny and easy to miss at night. When you do spot them, however, and look closer…? Well, then it seems amazing anyone could miss them. What a beauty.

Palpidia pallidior, 17 May 2020

Palpidia pallidior, the Pale palpidia;
Volusia county, Florida (17 May 2020).

A species seemingly limited in range to the Florida peninsula and perhaps Cuba, the Pale palpidia is another easy-to-miss species. Fairly tiny, this is one of the tiny moths we see flapping about near our outdoor lights at night. Zooming in, however, we can see its subtle-yet-dynamic patterning. Another reminder to look closer at the world around us. There is beauty everywhere.

Spilosoma congrua, 11 May 2015

Spilosoma congrua, the Agreeable tiger moth;
Volusia county, Florida (11 May 2015).

Of the white moths we see at night, the Agreeable tiger moth is one of the most common. I’ve seen many of these over the years, as I’m sure many people have across the eastern half of North America. For a little added excellence, check out the bright yellow under its head!

Gastrophryne carolinensis, 07 June 2013

Gastrophryne carolinensis, the Eastern narrowmouth toad;
Lake county, Florida (07 June 2013).

I do adore the awkward frumpiness of an Eastern narrowmouth toad. This chunky nub of amphibia is mostly fossorial; they spend most of their time somewhat hidden under surface detritus and in loose soil. They do, however, seem to come out into plain view after a solid rain.

Artace cribrarius, 09 September 2013

Artace cribrarius, the Dot-lined white moth;
Volusia county, Florida (09 September 2013).

I do love a little lateral-rotation window-reflection action. Here’s a fairly lovely Dot-lined white moth hanging out on one of our back windows a few years back. This species ranges throughout much of the eastern United States and nearly all of central America (and even into the northern stretches of South America).

Megalopyge opercularis, 19 September 2020

Megalopyge opercularis, the Southern flannel moth;
Flagler county, Florida (19 September 2020).

Now, this is a cool damn species. As adults, the Southern flannel moth is awesomely furry. You can sort of see that here, right? What you can’t see is how much furrier they are as caterpillars. You also can’t see how much more dangerous they are as caterpillars. Truly, in their caterpillar form, Southern flannel moths are not to be trifled with. They sport venomous spines that can deliver an extremely painful sting to anyone unfortunate enough to make contact. Fortunately, I’ve abstained from such contact so far. In fact, I’m never lucky enough to see them as caterpillars. Just the furry adults like the one you see here. No complaints. I dig the less-dangerous, winged-and-fuzzy form.

Anaxyrus terrestris, 14 May 2013

Anaxyrus terrestris, the Southern toad;
Lowndes county, Georgia (14 May 2013).

I nicknamed this young Southern Toad THOR. Behold! The mighty Thor on a thumb.

Spodoptera dolichos, 23 March 2014

Spodoptera dolichos, the Dolichos armyworm moth;
Volusia county, Florida (23 March 2014).

The March of Moths (or should I say May of Moths?) continues with one of my local favorites: The Dolichos armyworm moth. Ranging from the southeastern United States down through much of South America, this species is easy to miss at night but remarkable to see if/when you look closer. I find their wing pattern to be a cacophony of coffee and mocha textures. If I wanted to practice drawing moths, this would be the one to use as a subject. Their ornate figure/ground patterns are remarkable.

Actias luna, 07 September 2015

Actias luna, the Luna moth;
Volusia county, Florida (07 September 2015).

From what I can gather, the Luna Moth is a favorite among many moth enthusiasts (and, yes, there are moth enthusiasts). I’m not sure I consider them one of my favorites, though — with all due respect. I think that’s probably because I only see them as they’re dying. Seriously, Luna moths only have about a week-long lifespan in their adult form. They don’t really even have a functioning mouth. Their short adulthood is pretty much focused on two things: Mating and dying. Thus, whenever I see an adult Luna Moth, I’m pretty much seeing a short burst of sex followed by a quick death. Kind of morose. They are lovely though, right? As for this one, I hope it made its week count because it was clearly knocking on death’s door — sluggish and seemingly defeated by the weight of a week’s worth of time.

Anolis sagrei, 16 December 2012

Anolis sagrei, the Cuban brown anole;
Lake county, Florida (16 December 2012).

Small as they may be, Cuban brown anoles must appear mighty powerful to their prey. Check out this Cuban brown taking down a hapless spider, itself an adept (albeit smaller) predator. Backyard action shots – anoles rarely disappoint.

Empyreuma pugione, 31 May 2016

Empyreuma pugione, the Spotted oleander moth;
Volusia county, Florida (31 May 2016).

The Spotted oleander moth is one cool little species. They range throughout a good portion of the Caribbean and north through the Florida peninsula. With their brilliantly red wings, Spotted oleander moths can be quite surprising at first sight. They seriously stand out from all that ambient green.

Dryocampa rubicunda, 09 April 2014

Dryocampa rubicunda, the Rosy maple moth;
Flagler county, Florida (09 April 2014).

Rosy maple moths are quite amazing. Though you wouldn’t know it from their pale green caterpillar form, Rosy maple moths are bright yellow with pink accents in their adult form. They’re also wicked furry. One of my favorite species to come across at night. Rosy maple moths range throughout most of the eastern half of the United States — and even a bit into southern Canada.

Eleutherodactylus planirostris, 19 September 2012

Eleutherodactylus planirostris, the Greenhouse frog;
Lowndes county, Georgia (19 September 2012).

An unexpected perk to living in southern Georgia for a few years was the overabundance of nonnative Greenhouse frogs in our neighborhood. Valdosta is just at the northern edge of their current range, and in 2011/2012, I was super surprised to find them doing so well there. Honestly did not expect to find freakin’ Greenhouse frogs in southern Georgia. I wonder how well they’re doing now — a decade later?

Halysidota tessellaris, 24 May 2020

Halysidota tessellaris, the Banded tussock moth;
Volusia county, Florida (24 May 2020).

Seems I’m in a bit of a mothman mood right now. Fair enough! This is a Banded tussock moth, one of the more common species in my neck of the woods, photographed a few years back. We get plenty of these in Ormond Beach, Florida. Always a welcome sight. This particular individual was fairly roughed up. We’ll see some super clean ones later down the Floridensis pipeline.

Papilio cresphontes, 04 June 2016

Papilio cresphontes, the Eastern giant swallowtail;
Volusia county, Florida (04 June 2016).

Also known simply as the Giant swallowtail, Papilio cresphontes is a magnificent and large butterfly species. With wingspans reaching somewhere between five and seven inches across, they’re hard to miss, especially with that fantastic yellow-on-black wing design. This species ranges throughout most of the eastern United States. 0

Xylophanes tersa, 18 July 2020

Xylophanes tersa, the Tersa sphinx;
Volusia county, Florida (18 July 2020).

Sphinx moths are fairly awesome. As far as moths are concerned, they sport particularly wild and sleek wing designs. This particular species ranges throughout most of the eastern United States and nearly all of Central and South America.

Callopistria floridensis, 26 May 2020

Callopistria floridensis, the Florida fern moth;
Volusia county, Florida (26 May 2020).

Another squiggly little nocturnal moth. This is the Florida fern moth, a particularly striking wee mothen species. I must admit I love stepping out on a well-lit patio late at night. The lights just bring ’em in.

Synchlora frondaria, 17 May 2020

Synchlora frondaria, the Southern emerald;
Volusia county, Florida (17 May 2020).

I’m feeling the need to beef up my Lepidopteran arsenal on Floridensis. So many moths (and butterflies); so little time. Featured here is a wee Southern emerald — one of those tiny moths you’ve seen a million times without really seeing them. Snagging a few half-decent shots of this tiny one was not easy.

Anolis garmani, 11 June 2016

Anolis garmani, the Jamaican giant anole;
Miami-Dade county, Florida (11 June 2016).

I’ll never get tired of my previous-few Jamaican giant anole photos. If memory serves, I’ve seen three of these in south Florida to date. I would like to see more, but this is an elusive and difficult-to-find non-native species. It was one of my “holy grail” species. I guess it still is? 00

Lithobates grylio, 12 June 2016

Lithobates grylio, the Pig frog;
Collier county, Florida (12 June 2016).

Here’s a chunky one from south Florida a few clicks back. This is a Pig frog found chilling on the edge of annihilation — that is to say it was chilling out along the edge of US-41, a fairly busy road ushering an unrelenting parade of amphibian-killing automobiles. Pig frog likes to live on the edge, I guess.

Nerodia fasciata fasciata, 05 April 2012

Nerodia fasciata fasciata, the Southern banded watersnake;
Lowndes county, Georgia (05 April 2012).

Hard to believe it’s already been a decade since I lived in southern Georgia. The years roll by quite quickly, don’t they? Anyhow, here’s a fantastic banded watersnake from Lowndes county, Georgia. In southern Georgia, the Florida banded watersnake subspecies fades into the Southern banded waternsake subspecies. I don’t put too much stock into subspecies distinctions (I see it more as a spectrum than a binary), but the South Georgia bandeds definitely tended to be quite dark in their patterning. Really bold patterning.

Osteopilus septentrionalis, 30 August 2013

Osteopilus septentrionalis, the Cuban treefrog;
Volusia county, Florida (30 August 2013).

Ah, the notorious Cuban treefrog… Truly, this is a seriously problematic invasive species in Florida. They like to eat our smaller, native treefrog species.

Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis, 04 January 2015

Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis, the Eastern garter snake;
Volusia county, Florida (04 January 2015).

Here’s a lateral macro study of an Eastern garter snake’s scaling. Check out those awesome keels (the ridges at the center of each scale). Check out the incredible coloring that splashes from one scale to the next. Yeah, snakes really are quite fantastic, aren’t they?

The University of Alaska Anchorage, 14 April 2010

University of Alaska Anchorage;
Anchorage, Alaska (14 April 2010).

Alaska was a place both strange and magical. Truly, this is one of the most Alaskan shots I took of cultural life in Alaska (that doesn’t involve moose). Alaskans certainly did like their guns. In all fairness, though, I should note that most of the Alaskans I encountered seemed to actually understand how to use guns. I can’t say the same for Lower 48 people and their toys guns.

Cyathus striatus, 15 July 2013

Cyathus striatus, the Fluted bird’s nest fungus;
Lowndes county, Georgia (15 July 2013).

In Valdosta, for a time we had a fantastic cluster of Fluted bird’s nest fungi on the edge of our front patio. I could look at these for hours. In fact, I did. I couldn’t get enough of them.

Sistrurus miliarius barbouri, 04 September 2016

Sistrurus miliarius barbouri, the Dusky pigmy rattlesnake;
Volusia county, Florida (04 September 2016).

I tend to focus more on tight macro shots than full body perspectives, especially when it comes to snakes, but every now and then I think to hold back and snag the wider view. Here’s a fairly typical Dusky pigmy rattlesnake pondering its next move beneath the shaded palms and oaks of Volusia county, Florida.

Ganoderma zonatum, 29 December 2014

Ganoderma zonatum, the Zonatum bracket fungi;
Volusia county, Florida (29 December 2014).

One fun thing about rebooting Floridensis is launching into a new clade for the site. With the arrival of summer (and our seasonal rains) in real time, I’m getting a hankering for All Things Fungi. Of course, I’m fairly ignorant of fungi-at-large, but still… They’re endlessly fascinating — even if elusive and mysterious. This one’s a Zonatum bracket fungus, a particular plant pathogen fairly common in our woods. There’s a bit of artistry in that fungus.

Bard Peak and Portage Lake (Alaska), 01 May 2010

Bard Peak and Portage Lake;
Chugach National Forest, Alaska (01 May 2010).

How about a radical dip to the west and way, way up north? This is Bard Peak overlooking Portage Lake in south central Alaska. From 2007 through 2011, I was fortunate enough to get to live and work in Anchorage, Alaska. This entire region is a veritable playground for any outdoors enthusiast, and Portage Valley (home to this peak and lake) was one of my favorite outdoor retreats. Though Floridensis primarily focuses on wildlife in the American southeast, photos from Alaska (and other stretches of North America) will indeed show up from time to time! The southeast may be my home, but all of North American is rich to explore.

Pantherophis alleghaniensis, 10 November 2018

Pantherophis alleghaniensis, the Eastern (“Everglades”) rat snake;
Miami-Dade county, Florida (10 November 2018).

When you dip south to the Everglades, our “yellow” rat snakes gradually become the “Everglades” rat snakes. Rather than sporting a yellow base tone, its shifts to a more orange base tone. This Eastern rat snake, photographed deep within the Everglades system, was somewhere in between. Much darker than our centra Florida Yellow rat snakes, but not quite as orange as many of the Everglades rat snakes. This individual was also a bit sparkier than most of the rat snakes I encounter in central Florida. It put on quite an impressive defensive show!

Panopeus herbstii, 01 July 2019

Panopeus herbstii, the Atlantic mud crab;
Flagler county, Florida (01 July 2019).

Here’s a crab species I totally didn’t recognize when I came across it in the summer of 2019. Apparently, this is an Atlantic mud crab, a species fairly abundant along the northeastern and eastern Atlantic coastline. They also range south through Florida and show up in Bermuda and even way down in Brazil. Still, it’s not a species frequently reported from Florida via iNaturalist, and it’s not a species I’m used to seeing on the beach. I came across this individual near some limestone outcrops in Flagler county (one of our few beach areas with a rocky shoreline).

Roystonea regia, 21 March 2015

Roystonea regia, the Florida royal palm;
Miami-Dade county, Florida (21 March 2015).

Thes is one of my favorite trees, but it doesn’t quite range to my part of the state. They’re mostly limited in southern Florida, the Caribbean, and much of Central America. Whenever I head south, I’m always on the lookout for this fantastically gorgeous palm.

Nerodia clarkii compressicauda, 07 March 2008

Nerodia clarkii comperssicauda, the Mangrove salt marsh snake;
Miami-Dade county, Florida (07 March 2008).

Ah, yes, here’s a ball of Mangrove salt marsh snakes. I was fortunate enough to come across a small swarm of eager males desperately trying to mate with a female. When the female’s pheromones kicked into action, these dudes definitely took notice. They were blissfully unaware of my presence.

Daytona Beach, 04 October 1998

Daytona Beach;
Volusia county, Florida (04 October 1998).

Flashback to Daytona Beach in October of 1998. The old pier still remains, mostly, as do the cars on the beach (though they’ve gradually been updated over the years).

Anolis cristatellus, 11 June 2016

Anolis cristatellus, the Puerto Rican crested anole;
Miami-Dade county, Florida (11 June 2016).

A shot of James Stroud gently holding a double-tailed Puerto Rican crested anole in south Florida. This is a non-native species fairly abundant throughout stretches of southern Florida. As for the double-tailed action, this happens sometimes when anoles regrow their tales. Here’s a short blurb on anole double-tail action over at Anole Annals!

Peucetia viridans, 03 June 2013

Peucetia viridans, the Green lynx spider;
Lowndes county, Georgia (03 June 2013).

Check out this vivid, emerald-toned Green lynx spider. This small species ranges throughout much of the southern and southeastern United States as well as most of Central America. Though not prone to biting, the bite can pack quite a punch. Females can apparently also shoot venom for up to a foot as a defensive measure against would-be enemies. Personally, I’ve never had any negative encounters with Green lynx spiders. As is the case with most spiders, they’re far more interested in going about their business than to meddle with yours.

Ocypode quadrata, 06 July 2019

Ocypode quadrata, the Atlantic ghost crab;
Flagler county, Florida (06 July 2019).

I went to high school in Daytona Beach (located just south of my hometown of Ormond Beach, where I currently reside). We were the Seabreeze Fightin’ Sandcrabs. That’s one hell of a mascot, right? The sandcrab? Anyhow, featured here is the Atlantic ghost crab, a small, shy, reclusive scavenger that lives in holes on the beach and goes about eating whatever random stuff it can find when nobody’s looking. They’re also known as sand crabs. Learn more about the Seabreeze Fighting Sandcrabs.

Datana integerrima, 03 June 2013

Datana integerrima, the Walnut caterpillar moth;
Lowndes county, Georgia (03 June 2013).

Another Valdosta observation, here’s a fantastic Walnut caterpillar moth. It’s amazing how much diversity there is on the moth-side of Lepidoptera. It’s also amazing how easily missed they are. Most of us walk right by these creatures without ever really seeing them.

Rhadinaea flavilata, 12 May 2020

Rhadinaea flavilata, the Pinewoods snake;
Volusia county, Florida (12 May 2020).

A funky looking-down angle of a tiny Pinewoods snake. This is a small, repulsive species. While fairly abundant in areas, it’s a species not often observed directly. They’re very good at staying under surface debris and leading a very quiet, very off-the-grid life.

Potbelly’s of Tallahassee, Spring 1998

Potbelly’s of Tallahassee;
Leon county, Florida (Spring 1998).

Here’s a slice of the Anthropocene of the late 20th century. This is a shot taken in front of Potbelly’s on College Avenue in Tallahassee, Florida. Potbelly’s opened up in 1994 when I was an undergraduate at Florida State. I spent many afternoons at Potbelly’s. It was hard to resist the allure because I lived just down the street.

Once I moved on from FSU-life and away from Tallahassee, Potbelly’s served as a meet up spot whenever I’d roll back into town. It’s been years since I’ve been back, and I miss that patio. I’m sure many do.

Fortunately, Potbelly’s lives on through today and to tomorrow. At some point I’ll make my way back up there.

Prolimacodes badia, 11 May 2013

Prolimacodes badia, the Skiff moth;
Lowndes county, Georgia (11 May 2013).

Here’s a moth from a time ago. I have tons of moth photos yet to post to the Floridensis feed. Hundreds of shots of so many moth species. I didn’t really think all that much about moths until I lived in Valdosta for two years. That place was a veritable feast of moth action. Nowadays, I always keep my eyes open for them at night. Moths rule.

Neoscona crucifera, 17 September 2012

Neoscona crucifera, the Spotted orbweaver;
Lowndes county, Georgia (17 September 2012).

A funky shot of a funky orbweaver. I love the rosette tone of this Spotted orbweaver.

Procyon lotor, 08 March 2015

Procyon lotor, the Raccoon;
Marion county, Florida (08 March 2015).

Is there anything more adorable than a raccoon spying out of a nook in a tree? I really don’t think so.

Lithobates sphenocephalus, 15 April 2023 (b)

Lithobates sphenocephalus, the Southern leopard frog;
Volusia county, Florida (15 April 2023).

Check out this behemoth of a Southern leopard frog. I’m amazed I was able to get so close; the frog was facing the water and tensing its muscles every few seconds — ready to spring to action. Eventually, that’s just what it did, right back into the water.

Lithobates sphenocephalus, 15 April 2023 (a)

Lithobates sphenocephalus, the Southern leopard frog;
Volusia county, Florida (15 April 2023).

The first of two Southern leopard frogs from 15 April 2023. In truth, there were hundreds of them… but I only snagged decent shots of two of them. With some recent rain still in the air, my neighborhood forest was crackling with amphibious night song.

Sistrurus miliarius barbouri, 15 April 2023

Sistrurus miliarius barbouri, the Dusky pigmy rattlesnake;
Volusia county, Florida (15 April 2023).

I came across three Duskies on this short morning hike. One ready to shed; one very hungry; the third very dirty. Duskies of all girth and size, but not one of them aggressive. I never tire of Duskies.

Magnolia grandiflora, 15 April 2023

Magnolia grandiflora, the Southern magnolia;
Volusia county, Florida (15 April 2023).

In my slow-but-steady progression into plant literacy, I suppose it’s time to formally recognize one of our coolest trees — the Southern magnolia. Their leaves are equally awesome whether green above or brown on the ground.

Herpothallon rubrocinctum, 15 April 2023

Herpothallon rubrocinctum, the Christmas lichen;
Volusia county, Florida (15 April 2023).

Though far from being uncommon, I always delight when I come across a nice patch of Christmas lichen. I have no idea why Christmas lichen adapted its red-and-white patterning (biochemistry aside), but it sure makes for an interesting accent on whatever tree it may be growing upon.

Lithobates grylio, 13 April 2023

Lithobates grylio, the Pig frog;
Volusia county, Florida (13 April 2023).

I came across some nifty Pig frogs loitering about near the water’s edge near my neighborhood. It was a softly-raining evening, so the frogs were very much out and about. Now that we’re finally getting a little bit of rain, our local amphibian populations are about to pop at the seams.

Narceus sp., 13 April 2023

Narceus sp., a millipede;
Volusia county, Florida (13 April 2023).

As of this posting, I haven’t been able to peg down the exact species on this one. It’s either Narceus americanus, the American giant millipede, or possibly Narceus gordanus, the Smokey oak millipede. Millipedes just aren’t easy for me to identify down to the species. I am fairly confident of the genus, at least, so Narceus sp. it is!

Sistrurus miliarius barbouri, 13 April 2023

Sistrurus miliarius barbouri, the Dusky pigmy rattlesnake;
Volusia county, Florida (13 April 2023).

This photo feed could almost be called Dusky Pigmy Rattlesnakes and Some Other Stuff. Seriously, I see more Dusky pigmy rattlesnakes than anything else at this point. It’s the one species I can always rely. I live in Dusky territory, it seems. No complaints. I love and adore this species.