Friday, February 12, 2010

Anyone who lives in the southeastern US has probably encountered fire ants and anyone who lives elsewhere in the US has probably heard of them, but you've probably never gotten a close look at one. Many people use the term "bites" for what fire ants do when you disturb them, but really what they do is sting. They do bite, but only to gain leverage to stick their stinger into you--the bite itself does not hurt. I'll try to get an image up of a fire ant's stinger, but I think that these will do in the meantime.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Blue-Green Citrus Root Weevil (Pachnaeus litus)

A colleague of mine found this in southern Florida. It is a native species that is considered a pest of citrus trees and other plants. The adults eat leaves and the larvae, or "babies", eat roots of the same plant or tree. A female may lay 4000 eggs in her lifetime! For more information, see UF Citrus Root Weevils

Monday, February 8, 2010

subterranean termites

These pictures are of subterranean termites (Reticulitermes sp). The one of the single specimen with the huge mandibles is of a soldier that helps protect the colony. (Some photo-sleuth might say that the droplets of liquid on the soldier are evidence of me refrigerating the specimen, but, although I don't have anything against that practice and do it when necessary, this image was taken in the field.) The two workers appear to be sharing food or water mouth to mouth, a behavior known as trophallaxis. For more information on subterranean termites, see

Sunday, February 7, 2010

This little Southern Green-striped Grasshopper(Chortophaga australior) was lucky that it was too big to be affected by the sticky and carnivorous Dwarf Sundew (Drosera brevifolia) plants. If you look closely, you can see that there are threads of stickiness trailing from its hind legs. For info about the grasshopper, including why it has green in its name, go to the BugGuide link below


I found this specimen on St. Mark's NWR property on Jan 23 2010 in sandhill habitat and did not collect it. It's a female of Agapostemon splendens, which is a halictid bee that are sometimes called sweat bees. This particular genus may be called metallic green bees. These are solitary bees that burrow in the ground, unlike honey bees, which most people are familiar with. These bees, and many others, do not produce appreciable amounts of honey. Honey bees are not native to the US, whereas this bee is. There is some evidence that exotic honey bees may compete with native bees like this when honey bees are present in large enough numbers. See the links for more information about FL bees or more images of this specimen.