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Wednesday, May 27, 2020

May 27, 2020

Location: Maritime Hammock Sanctuary, Melbourne Beach

I'm an exotic Brown Anole
Because of my toes I'm good at running and jumping
My life span is only about 18 months but
I spend 10 to 12 of that breeding and humping.

Sources: Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory - Anolis sagrei

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

May 26, 2020

Location: Maritime Hammock Sanctuary, Melbourne Beach

I am known as a Gopher Tortoise
I'm the only tortoise found east of the Mississippi
I love basking in the sun and herbaceous plants
Thats my nature, I'm not just a hippie.

Sources: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission - Gopher Tortoise

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, May 25, 2020

May 25, 2020

Location: Fellsmere, my house

I am a female Spinybacked Orbweaver
My mate looks much different from me
He's much smaller with a gray abdomen
This is sexual dimorphism that's easy to see.

Sources: UF | IFAS Featured Creatures Spinybacked Orbweaver

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, May 24, 2020

May 24, 2020

Location: Fellsmere, my house

I'm adult Southern Black Racer,
I'm a non-venomous very fast snake
If you startle me, I will be gone in a flash,
You won't have time for a double take.

Note: Make sure you click the photo to enlarge this one, you can see his cute little snakey tongue!

Sources: UF Florida Museum - Coluber constrictor priapus

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, May 23, 2020

May 23, 2020

Location: Fellsmere, my house

I am a Worm-eating Warbler
Although my diet's more varied than worms
You can find me in shrubs and hanging on leaves
Eating caterpillars and other stuff that squirms.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Worm-eating Warbler

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, May 22, 2020

May 22, 2020

Location: Fellsmere, my house

I'm an adult Saddleback Caterpillar Moth,
I'm different than when I was a young squirt
I was a green and red caterpillar with venomous spines,
That could cause you a whole world of hurt.

Note: Knowing that some butterflies, such as the Monarch are poisonous as caterpillars, and retain this poison as adults, I was curious if any venomous properties are retained from the spines in the adult Saddleback moth. I sent mail to Dr. Christopher S. Bibbs, the author of the article linked below and he responded with the following:

"The adult moth is harmless. Urticaria is an unusual phenomena among insects, and essentially requires that the venom be delivered via capillary action through almost fiberglass like tubes internal to the spines. Because of this way of delivering, adult moths simply lack the physical ability to “sting” like the caterpillars do.

The only exception I am aware of is the Cecropia moth. These have limited to virtually no occurrence in Florida, but are quite common nocturnal moths in the northeastern US. They have a scant few little spines on the abdomen, but it isn’t very good at using them.

Rest assured that the moths of any other urticating species in the US (flannel moths, puss moths, io moths, etc.) have harmless adults."

Sources: UF | IFAS Featured Creatures Saddleback Caterpillar

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, May 21, 2020

May 21, 2020

Location: Fellsmere, my house

I am known as a Gray Catbird
I wear a little black hat
My song can last up to 10 minutes long
And my calls allegedly sound like a cat.

Note: I say "allegedly" because to be honest, I just don't hear it, but then, having lived with them all my life, I am all too familiar with what cats sound like. Especially at 3 a.m. when they decide they want a snack.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Gray Catbird

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson