Panther Island Adventures!

Panther Island is 2,800 acres of restored wetland and upland habitats situated in the northwest corner of Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary's 13,000 acres. It is home to numerous plants and animals including the Florida panther and the iconic wood stork.
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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Plant of the Week: Goldenrod (Solidago fistulosa)

 During the fall, lots of beautiful yellow flowers are in bloom, one of them is goldenrod. There are numerous species of goldenrod. The one here is pinebarren goldenrod (Solidago fistulosa). A perennial herb, they can grow to 2 meters tall. This member of the Aster family has a flowering "head" that is actually composed of numerous tiny disc and ray flowers arranged in spikes on slender upper branches. This is an excellent butterfly attractor, and bees love it too (if you like bees that is!).

Monday, October 18, 2010

No critter/plant! Just pretty pics!

I am having trouble typing after my first full day of exotics work back at work after six weeks of minimal activity due to a broken wrist. So here are some cool pics of Panther Island!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Plant of the week: Ladies'- tresses species

 Ladies'-tresses (Spiranthes) are orchids found in the family Orchidaceae. The pictures here I took in a pine flatwoods and there were probably 30 of them! I am not 100% if they are southern ladies'-tresses (Spiranthes torta) or lacelip ladies'-tresses (Spiranthes laciniata). To me, they are similar in appearance. The southern species is listed as endangered at the state level while the lacelip species is listed as threatened.

Sorry I haven't posted more information! 

Monday, October 4, 2010

Critter of the week Oct. 4: Lubber grasshopper

 The Eastern lubber grasshopper (Romalea microptera) is a native grasshopper that can be found in the southeastern United States. It is the only lubber found in the east. The adults (pictured above) are easily distinguished from other grasshoppers by their vivid yellow/red/black coloration. The nymph aka juvenile (pictured below) is also very distinct with its black body and red or yellow stripes. Their coloration is a warning to predators (aposematic) that they don't taste good!
This grasshopper is flightless. Adult males are smaller than the females. In the summer, females will lay 1 to 3 separate egg masses (each mass with about 50 eggs) in soil excavations measuring 5 cm deep. The eggs hatch then in the following spring. These little guys will go throught 5 instars of about 20 days each before reaching sexual maturity. Instars are basically the developmental stages between each molt.