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Friday, August 17, 2018

August 17, 2018

Location: Durham, NC, Museum of Life and Science

I am a Heliconius Melpomene,
The Postman Butterfly, more commonly.
When I'm larvae I like to eat Passiflora,
And I'm known to fly erratically.

Sources: Heliconius Homepage

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, August 16, 2018

August 16, 2018

Location: Durham, NC, Museum of Life and Science

I am a Blue Morpho Butterfly
Shown here from the underside.
From above I am bright, iridescent blue,
But with my wings closed, it's easier to hide.

Sources: UF | IFAS Featured Creatures - Blue Morpho Butterfly

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

August 15, 2018

Location: Durham, NC, Museum of Life and Science

I am an Owl Butterfly
To a predator, my eyespots look like an owl.
I like to get drunk on fermented fruit juice
And then go out on the prowl.

Sources: Natural History Museum - Spotlight: The Owl Butterfly

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

August 14, 2018

Location: Durham, NC, Museum of Life and Science

I am a male Giant Malaysian Walking Stick
I wear the perfect disguise.
I look exactly like a stick
Except, in general, sticks don't have eyes.

Sources: St. Louis Zoo - Mayalsian Walkingstick

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, August 13, 2018

August 13, 2018

Location: Durham, NC, Museum of Life and Science

I'm a Goliath Birdeater Tarantula
South America is where I'm from.
I have 8 eyes, but I don't see much
So I use hair on my legs to sense vibrations.

Sources: Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute - Goliath Bird Eating Tarantula

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Saturday, August 11, 2018

August 11, 2018

Location: North Carolina, rest stop

I am a Bumblebee on a Coneflower,
I'm one of 250 species worldwide.
My wingbeats are used for "buzz pollination",
You can thank me for the fruit I provide!

Sources: Life Science - Facts About Bumblebees

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, August 10, 2018

August 10, 2018

Location: North Carolina, rest stop

This is a Purple Coneflower,
Perched on by a Black Swallowtail butterfly
Many species are attracted to this plant,
Including pollinators, birds, and other wildlife.

Sources: Florida Native Plant Society - Echinacea purpurea

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, August 9, 2018

August 9, 2018

Location: North Carolina rest stop

I'm Eastern Black Swallowtail butterfly,
I eat Poison Hemlock, which I digest with ease.
It's not something I recommend that you try -
If you want to know why, just go ask Socrates.

Sources: UF|IFAS Featured Creatures - Eastern Black Swallowtail

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

August 8, 2018

Location: Vero Beach, Lagoon Greenway

These are pneumatphores of a Black Mangrove
Which was cut down, this is what's left of the tree.
Pneumatphores are hollow or contain spongey tissue,
Which is how the Black Mangrove breathes.

Very special thanks to Carol Hebert for correcting my initial ID, and to Harry Breidahl taking the time to send me an email explaining in detail what I took a picture of. Quoting from his email:

"What you have observed here is the structure of a mangrove root system that allows it to survive in the aerobic (oxygen free) mud in which it grows. That wonderful smell of rotten-eggs generated by mangrove forest mud is the clue to the fact that this mud is an oxygen free environment (rotten egg gas = hydrogen sulphide). Because the roots of a mangrove tree are living they need oxygen to survive and the role of the pneumatophores is to provide this oxygen.

Here is how it works - pneumatophores are either partially hollow or full of spongy tissue and when the tide is out this allows the pneumatophore to adsorb fresh air. Then (and here is the fun bit) when the tide comes in and covers the pneumatophores the water pressure forces the ‘fresh’ air down into the mangrove roots. Because the tide goes in and out twice a day that means that mangrove roots breathe in twice a day and out twice a day. "

Click the link below for an excellent graphic that explains it further.

Sources: Marine Education Society of Australasia - Mangroves of Australia


Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

August 7, 2018

Location: Lakeland, Circle B Bar Reserve

This is Hibiscus grandiflorus
It's in the Mallow family.
This family has 1500 species,
Including Okra, if you're feeling hungry.

Sources: Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center - Hibiscus grandiflorus

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, August 6, 2018

August 6, 2018

Location: Lakeland, Circle B Bar Reserve

I am known as a Black Vulture
I've got skin, not feathers on my head.
I'm in the same family as the California Condor,
But there's far more of me than them.

Sources: Cornell Lab - Black Vulture

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, August 5, 2018

August 5, 2018

Location: Lakeland, Circle B Bar Reserve

I am known as a Dragonfly
Shown here munching down on a bee.
I'm a fast and intelligent predator,
I even calculate my prey's trajectory.

Sources: 7 Things you never knew about dragonflies

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, August 4, 2018

August 4, 2018

Location: Lakeland, Circle B Bar Reserve

I am a Great Blue Heron
I have an intense gaze and large heavy bill.
I usually have my neck in a "S" shape,
I extend it quickly to stab what I want to kill.
But that doesn't mean that I'm cruel,
I do what I have to to keep my pot filled.

Sources: Cornel Lab - Great Blue Heron

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, August 3, 2018

August 3, 2018

Location: Lakeland, Circle B Bar Reserve

I am known as a Great Egret
My legs and feet are both black.
My feathers are white, and I've a sharp, yellow bill,
That I snap out when I want a snack.

Sources: Cornell Lab - Great Egret

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, August 2, 2018

August 2, 2018

Location: Lakeland, Circle B Bar Reserve

This is the fruit of a Passion flower,
The flower itself is purple and butterflies love it.
Especially the Gulf Fritillary,
Who like the plant, love the sun above it.

Sources: Passion Vines Native to Central Florida

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

August 1, 2018

Location: Lakeland, Circle B Bar Reserve

I am a Gulf Fritillary Caterpillar
I was a yellow egg, but now I'm orange and spiny.
Next, I'll go through a phase where I'm a pupa,
Then I'll be a butterfly all pretty and shiny.

Sources: UF | IFAS Featured Creatures - Gulf fritillary butterfly

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

July 31, 2018

Location: Lakeland, Circle B Bar Reserve

I am a female Gulf Fritillary,
With my man, doing it right out in the open!
Soon I'll lay eggs and there will be caterpillars,
At least that is what we are hoping.

Sources: UF | IFAS Featured Creatures - Gulf fritillary butterfly

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, July 30, 2018

July 30, 2018

Location: Lakeland, Circle B Bar Reserve

I am known as a Limpkin,
I feed almost exclusively on Apply Snails.
My uniquely tipped bill acts like tweezers,
Which is handy when eating the snails entrails.

Sources: Cornell Lab - Limpkin

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, July 29, 2018

July 29, 2018

Location: Lakeland, Circle B Bar Reserve

I am a Carolina (Green) Anole,
I like invertebrates, including bugs.
I'm not a big fan of birds, cats or snakes,
They chase me, and it's not for hugs!

Sources: Green Anole Facts

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, July 28, 2018

July 28, 2018

Location: Lakeland, Circle B Bar Reserve

I am Variegated Fritillary Butterfly
Brazillian Verbena is what I'm pollinating
It is a rapid growing perennial plant,
And for butterflies, quite accommodating.

Sources: Missouri Botanical Garden - Verbena bonariensis

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, July 27, 2018

July 27, 2018

Location: Lakeland, Circle B Bar Reserve

We are Variegated Fritillary Butterflies,
Below to the left of us is a chrysalis.
While we are above, totally in love,
A butterfly is forming below, how felicitous!

(Special thanks again to Heather Stapleton for pointing out the chrysalis to me, I totally missed it when I first downloaded the picture.)

Sources: A Welcomed Vagabond - Variegated Fritillary

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, July 26, 2018

July 26, 2018

Location: Lakeland, Circle B Bar Reserve

We are Variegated Fritillary Butterflies
Getting down in public, totally nude!
Our egg will be laid on our favorite host plant,
And by December, we'll have four broods.

(Special thanks to Heather Stapleton for the ID.)

Sources: Butterflies and Moths of North America - Variegated Fritillary

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

July 25, 2018

Location: Lakeland, Circle B Bar Reserve

I'm the Florida subspecies of the Red shouldered Hawk.
Occasionally mislabeled the Florida "race".
"Race" refers to genetically similar humans,
"Subspecies" have differences but can mate.

Sources: Cornell Labs-All About Birds: Red Shouldered Hawk

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

July 24, 2018

Location: Lakeland, Circle B Bar Reserve

I am a Snowy Egret
I live in the wetlands.
It's nice to cool off in the water,
Cause like all birds, I have no sweat glands.

Sources: Audubon - How Birds Keep Their Cool

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, July 23, 2018

July 23, 2018

Location: Lakeland, Circle B Bar Reserve

I am a Tricolored Heron
Shown here standing upon one leg.
When I'm nesting I can be prolific -
I can lay up to seven pale blue-green eggs.

Sources: Audubon Guide to North American Birds - Tricolored Heron

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, July 22, 2018

July 22, 2018

Location: Lakeland, Circle B Bar Reserve

I am an Eastern Lubber grasshopper.
The citrus industry bears damage from me.
I eat a lot and I'm not very fast -
My name literally means "lazy or clumsy".

Sources: UF|IFAS Featured Creatures - Eastern Lubber Grasshopper

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, July 21, 2018

July 21, 2018

Location: Lakeland, Circle B Bar Reserve

I am a Viceroy Butterfly.
I'm a distant relation to the Monarch species.
Like most butterflies I feed on flowers,
But I'll also nom carrion and feces!

Sources: UF|IFAS Featured Creatures - Viceroy Butterfly

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, July 20, 2018

July 20, 2018

Location: Sebastian, Riverwalk

I am a Black Swallowtail butterfly
I live in marshes, and fields and roadsides.
If you want to see me, grow parsley and milkweed,
I'll grow strong with the food they can provide.

Sources: Butterflies and Moths of North America - Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, July 19, 2018

July 19, 2018

Location: Fellsmere, Blue Cypress Conservation Area

This is an American Lotus
It grows well in water that's muddy and shallow.
Its leaves are circular and it's flowers are large,
And to Buddhists, the flower is hallowed.

Sources: The Meaning of the Lotus Flower in Buddhism

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

July 18, 2018

Location: Fellsmere, Blue Cypress Conservation Area

This is a Water Hyacinth
Although it pretty to see
The problem is that it's invasive
And one quickly becomes many.

In just one acre of water,
Over two hundred tons of these plants can grow
The only thing that can defeat it
Is weather that gets very cold.

Sources: UF|IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants - Eichhornia crassipes

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

July 17, 2018

Location: Fellsmere, Blue Cypress Conservation Area

Adult Osprey can have a wingspan
Of five to five and half feet.
So their nests have to be quite large -
And can be up to ten feet deep.

(Consider how big this nest must be to accommodate the mom, dad and two babies. At this point, the babies have a wingspan almost the same as their mom and dads.)

Sources: Osprey Watch - Osprey Basics

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, July 16, 2018

July 16, 2018

Location: Fellsmere, Blue Cypress Conservation Area

We are a grown up and two juvenile Osprey
Telling us apart is not too difficult -
The juveniles both have speckled feathers,
The one saying "Behave yourselves!" is the adult.

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, July 15, 2018

July 15, 2018


Location:
Sebastian, Riverwalk

"So Dee," everybody says to me,
"You must be a super fine birder by now."
I hang my head down, and with an embarrassed frown,
I say, "Look at my Great-horned Owl."

(I saw this on the Riverwalk. I dropped everything, whipped out the camera and took about 80 pictures. I didn't realize till I got home and downloaded the pictures that it was in fact,  not a Great Horned Owl.)

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, July 14, 2018

July 14, 2018

Location: Vero Beach, Lagoon Greenway

I am known as a Queen Butterfly
I like to eat milkweed and milkweed vines.
They make me taste bad, and I become an emetic
Which in the future might make predators think twice.

Sources: Butterflies and Moths of North America - Queen (Danaus gilippus)

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, July 13, 2018

July 13, 2018

Location: Vero Beach, Lagoon Greenway

I am Great Southern White butterfly
The tips of my antennae are neon aqua blue.
I live in penninsular Florida
In open fields, salt marshes, and coastal dunes.

Sources: Butterflies and Moths of North America - Great Southern White (Ascia monuste)

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, July 12, 2018

July 12, 2018

Location: Vero Beach, Lagoon Greenway

This is Twinleaf Nightshade
It's in the Solanaceae family.
It is edible by Frugivorous birds,
But it is NOT recommended for humans to eat.

Sources: UF|IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants - Solanum Species

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

July 11, 2018

Location: Vero Beach, Lagoon Greenway

I am a Common Buckeye butterfly
I'm in the Brush-footed butterfly family.
My relatives include Monarchs and Viceroys,
We all have short front legs that are hairy.

Sources: Insect Identification for the Casual Observer - Common Buckeye Butterfly (Junonia coenia)

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

July 10, 2018

Location: Vero Beach, Lagoon Greenway

I am a Florida Red-bellied Cooter
There are many threats to my existence.
Pollution, loss of habitat, the pet trade,
And fire ants who invade my residence.

Sources: The Red List - Pseudemys nelsoni (Florida Red-bellied Cooter, Florida Redbelly Turtle)

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, July 9, 2018

July 9, 2018

Location: Vero Beach, Lagoon Greenway

These are known as Red Mangroves
The way they reproduce is very cool.
They don't have seeds, the long green things
Are baby plants called propagules.

Sources: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory - Rhizophora mangle

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, July 8, 2018

July 8, 2018

Location: Vero Beach, Lagoon Greenway

This is a Red Mangrove
It's flower is yellowish and the leaves big and shiny.
Red Mangroves live closest to the water
And deal well when the water is briny.

Sources: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory - Red Mangrove

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, July 7, 2018

July 7, 2018

Location: Vero Beach, Lagoon Greenway

This is a Black Mangrove
The flowers are are white and it has pointed leaves.
Black Mangroves live close to the water
With their pneumatophores surrounding the tree.

Sources: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory - Black Mangrove

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, July 6, 2018

July 6, 2018

Location: Vero Beach, Lagoon Greenway

This is a White Mangrove
The leaves are notched at the tip but mostly round.
Of the 3 mangrove species in Florida
These live on the highest ground.

Sources: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory - White Mangrove

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, July 5, 2018

July 5, 2018

Location: Location

I am a Leucauge argyra
In Florida I'm quite common.
I build my nest in yards and Mangroves
And just wait for the bugs to drop in.

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

July 4, 2018

Location: Vero Beach, Lagoon Greenway

I am a White Peacock butterfly
With wings closed, my pattern's less identifiable.
In breeding time I'll fight other bugs
In my territory - hey, that's justifiable!

Sources: Animal Diversity Web - Anartia jatrophae

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

July 3, 2018

Location: Vero Beach, Lagoon Greenway

I am a White Peacock butterfly
My forewing has one black spot, my hindwing has two.
When I'm a caterpillar I like to eat Water hyssop.
Shepard's Needle is my favorite adult food.

Sources: Butterflies and Moths of North America - White Peacock

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, July 2, 2018

July 2, 2018

Location: Vero Beach, Lagoon Greenway

This is a salt-tolerant perennial
Commonly known as Frogfruit
It is a low growing ground cover
That can be used as a turf substitute.

Sources: Florida Native Plant Society - Phyla nodiflora

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, July 1, 2018

July 1, 2018

Location: Vero Beach, Lagoon Greenway

I'm an adult American Bird Grasshopper,
I go though six instars in my life.
During my third, fourth and fifth I damage
Crops with my voracious appetite.

Sources: UF | IFAS Featured Creatures - American Grasshopper

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, June 30, 2018

June 30, 2018

Location: Vero Beach, Lagoon Greenway

I am a male Cuban Anole
Looking directly into the camera.
The white thing is the front of my dewlap
Which I puff when I'm territorial or amorous.

Sources: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory - Anolis sagrei

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, June 29, 2018

June 29, 2018

Location: Fellsmere, Broadway

This is Delonix regia
Commonly called Flame tree.
Because its seed pods rattle they are called "womens' tongue"
Hey, that seems kind of derogatory!

(Special thanks to Carol Hebert for the identification help!)

Sources: Floridata Plant Encyclopedia - Delonix regia

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson