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Tuesday, December 31, 2019

December 31, 2019

Location: Riverside Park Dr, Vero Beach


I am a Metallic Blue Lady Beetle
I was introduced in Florida as a biological control
Likewise, I was introduced in India
Where I also play the same role.

Sources: Curinus coeruleus (Mulsant)

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, December 30, 2019

December 30, 2019

Location: St. Sebastian River Presernve State Park, Fellsmere

I am a Queen butterfly
I look a bit like a Monarch
Except overall I'm a bit smaller
And my wings are a bit more dark.

Sources: Animal Diversity Web - Danaus gilippus the queen

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, December 29, 2019

December 29, 2019

Location: Goodwin Wildlife Management Area, Fellsmere

I am a Great Blue Heron,
You can find me in marshes and occasionally pastures.
Although I am really just sunning myself,
Sometimes I look like a flasher.

Special thanks to today's guest photographer (and my sweetheart) David Simpson.

Sources: Volusia Naturalist - Hot Birds

Photo and text © 2019 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, December 28, 2019

December 28, 2019

Location: Location

This is known as a Sand Pine,
Fire helps it to reproduce
Its seeds are in cones and when the cones burn
The seeds are released and diffused.

Sources: Sand Pine Scrub Management

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, December 27, 2019

December 27, 2019

Location: Archbold Biological Station, Venus

I am probably a Pine Woods Tree Frog
I have one identifying mark -
I have yellow spots on the inside of my thigh
That you can't see when I'm sitting here parked.

Sources: Savannah River Ecology Laboratory - Pine Woods Treefrog (Hyla femoralis)

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, December 26, 2019

December 26, 2019

Location: Archbold Biological Station, Venus

This is known as a Coontie plant
It's where Atala butterflies gather
It's root can be poisonous, but if processed correctly
Can be used to make animal crackers.

Sources: The Palmetto, Winter 1995 - The Coontie and the Atala Hairstreak

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

December 25, 2019

Location: Buck Island Ranch, Lake Placid (top)
Archbold Biological Station, Venus (bottom)

We are known as White-tailed Deer,
Though the white tail doesn't always show
You won't find us pulling no Christmas sleigh
Cause we have a black, not glowing red nose!

Sources: National Geographic - White-tailed Deer

Photo and text © 2019 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

December 24, 2019


Location: Archbold Biological Station, Venus (seed pod, top photo), My house (leaves, bottom photo)

This is known as Rosary Pea
In Florida, it's a listed noxious weed.
It's root can be used to induce abortion
And you will die eating just one single seed.
But the seeds are really quite pretty
And often used to make jewelry.

Sources: UF | IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants - Abrus precatorius

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, December 23, 2019

December 23, 2019

Location: Archbold Biological Station, Venus

This is Shining Sumac
It's glossy leaves are pinnately compound
The leaves turn reddish purple in the fall
Birds eat the berries which are dark red and round.

Sources: Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Rhus copallinum

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, December 22, 2019

December 22, 2019

Location: Archbold Biological Station, Venus

This is known as Sand Heath
It looks different in late summer
This is NOT related to the edible herb,
Don't eat this, you'd get sick which would be a real bummer.

Sources: State Botanical Garden of Georgia December Native Plant of the Month: Sandhill rosemary

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, December 21, 2019

December 21, 2019

Location: Archbold Biological Station, Venus

This is known as Quercus myrtifolia
Myrtle Oak is its common name
Its nuts are eaten by Wild Turkeys and Quail
And it provides cover for birds like Scrub Jays.

Sources: 4-H Forest Resources - Myrtle Oak

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, December 20, 2019

December 20, 2019

Location: Archbold Biological Station, Venus

This is a Rayless Sunflower,
There's no yellow petals and no sunrays
But don't worry, the petals didn't fall off -
Rayless Sunflowers are born this way.

Sources: Florida Wildflower Foundation - Flower Friday: Rayless Sunflower

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, December 19, 2019

December 19, 2019

Location: Archbold Biological Station, Venus

I am a Spotless Lady Beetle
My back is red, with no spots of black
When I'm a larvae I use a "gin trap"
To ward off predators when they attack.

(The study in the article below was partly conducted where I took this photograph.)

Sources: Operation and Defensive Role of "Gin Traps" in a Coccinellid Pupa (Cycloneda Sanguinea)

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

December 18, 2019

Location: Archbold Biological Station, Venus

I am an Eastern Cottontail
When we're feeling randy, my mate and I dance
And as a result, one month later,
Baby bunnies and the end of romance.

Sources: NH PBS Nature Works - Eastern Cottontail - Sylvilagus floridanus

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

December 17, 2019

Location: Buck Island Ranch, Lake Placid

I am a Yellow Palm Warbler
I live in the east so my color's less drab
I am brighter yellow, I'm a colorful fellow
And my fashion sense is totally fab.

(Note that the Yellow Palm Warbler is not a separate species from the Palm Warbler, its brighter color is just a regional difference from those found further west.)

Sources: Audubon Guide to North American Birds - Palm Warbler

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, December 16, 2019

December 16, 2019

Location: Buck Island Ranch, Lake Placid

I am known as a Savannah Sparrow
But you will find me in Florida too
You might confuse me with a Song Sparrow
But he's a better singer and his tail's longer too.

(Click the link below, it's a very well written and concise article about how to tell the Song and Savannah Sparrows apart.)

Sources: Audubon ID Tips: The Biggest Differences Between Song and Savannah Sparrows

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, December 15, 2019

December 15, 2019

Location: Buck Island Ranch, Lake Placid

I am known as a Crested Caracara
I'm the only falcon that builds my own nest.
And although I can fly perfectly fine,
I often walk when looking for a dinner guest.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Crested Caracara

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, December 14, 2019

December 14, 2019

Location: Buck Island Ranch, Lake Placid

I am known as a Florida Cracker cow
My natural selection breeding was environmental
I can tolerate heat and low-quality food
And I blend in well with Dog Fennel.

Sources: The Livestock Conservancy - Florida Cracker Cattle

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, December 13, 2019

December 13, 2019



Location: My backyard, Fellsmere

Shown here are two Palmettos,
At the top Cabbage, the bottom is Saw
The difference is where the stem ends
Saw palmetto is blunt, Cabbage points like a claw.

(Note: We were out at Archbold Biological Research Station a few weeks back, and the ranger gave us a really cool tour. One of the things that he talked about was how someone had done a study out there and was able to age some of the Saw Palmettos to be thousands of years old. It was quite fascinating. Today when I was preparing to write this blog, I searched the web and found the study. I was super excited, and it was very interesting read. But when I went to actually write the blog, I looked at the photo I took out at Archbold - it wasn't a Saw Palmetto at all! So, I decided that it might be more helpful to teach myself and others the difference between the palms. And here is a link to the article that started all this, which I highly recommend reading - to read it, download the PDF and scroll to the second article.)

Sources: A primer on Florida’s prolific saw palmetto and cabbage palm

Photo and text © 2019 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, December 12, 2019

December 12, 2019

Location: Buck Island Ranch, Lake Placid

I am a spider in the Orbweaver family
You know I'm an orbweaver by the shape of my web
And my abdomen's round, and I have eight eyes,
But what I'm eating here's anyone's bet.

(It could possibly be her mate she is eating - some orbweavers do that kind of thing!)

Sources: BugGuide.net Family Araneidae - Orb Weavers

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

December 11, 2019

Location: Archbold Biological Station, Venus

We are known as True Cochineal Bugs,
You have eaten us many times
Our females are collected, killed and crushed
And used in food and cosmetics as red dye.

Sources: Science Digest: Dactylopius coccus is the most important insect for the production of considerable amounts of carminic acid.

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

December 10, 2019

Location: Archbold Biological Station, Venus

I am a Great Horned Owl
I'm covered in many soft, fluffy feathers
But I'm not a wimp, I'm a fierce predator
My feathers keep me quite warm in cold weather.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Great Horned Owl

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, December 9, 2019

December 9, 2019

Location: Archbold Biological Station, Venus

I am a Lake Placid Funnel Wolf Spider
Named for the only place that I am found.
I am nocturnal but can be easy to see
With a flashlight pointed at me on the ground.

Sources: This Is How to Find the Spiders That Are Staring At You in the Dark

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, December 8, 2019

December 8, 2019

Location: Archbold Biological Station, Venus

I am probably a Floritettix nigropicta
Definitely Floritettix, but nigropicta could be wrong.
The genus Floritettix do not have wings
The species is distinguished by my dong.

The link below requires that you create an account on JSTOR. JSTOR "...provides access to more than 12 million academic journal articles, books, and primary sources in 75 disciplines." You can get a free account and view 6 free articles per month. Very cool site to explore.

Sources: Aptenopedes and Two New Related Genera in Florida, with a Description of Fourteen New Species

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, December 7, 2019

December 7, 2019

Location: H L Bishop Park, Lake Placid

I am known as an Assembly Moth
Samea multiplicalis and I look much alike
Except I have a pale spot on my wing split by a black line
And on my fringe is a tiny dark spike.

Sources: Bugguide.net - Assembly Moth - Hodges#5150 (Samea ecclesialis)

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, December 6, 2019

December 6, 2019

Location: Windy Point Boat Ramp Park, Lake Placid

I am a Long-tailed Skipper
They called me Bean Leafroller when I was young
As larva, I ate bean and soybeans leaves
If you saw rolled or chewed leaves, you know I was having some fun.

Sources: UF | IFAS Featured Creatures - Bean Leafroller

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, December 5, 2019

December 5, 2019

Location: Windy Point Boat Ramp Park, Lake Placid

I am a Leucauge argyra
Orchard Orbweaver is my common name
My genus name translates to "with a bright gleam"
And I won't hurt you, despite what anyone claims.

(Like all spiders, the Orchard Orbweaver has venom, but it is not medically significant to humans.)

Sources: UF | IFAS Featured Creatures - Orchard orbweavers 

Photo and text © 2019 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

December 4, 2019

Location: Windy Point Boat Ramp Park, Lake Placid

I am a Downy Woodpecker,
As woodpeckers go, I'm quite small
My voice is described by Cornell as
"...high-pitched.. with a descending whinny call"

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Downy Woodpecker 

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

December 3, 2019

Location: Windy Point Boat Ramp Park, Lake Placid

I am an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail,
When I was larvae, I looked like bird poo
I also had some eye spots back then
Then I metamorphosed,  and all that kid stuff - I outgrew.

Sources: UF | IFAS Featured Creatures - Tiger Swallowtail 

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, December 2, 2019

December 2, 2019


Location: Windy Point Boat Ramp Park, Lake Placid

I am an American Alligator,
On the top of my head are my ears.
They're behind a skin flap, so they don't get wet,
The better to hear you with, my dears!

(Note: The link below is highly technical but interesting reading. Another interesting thing - you can see me taking the picture in the reflection of his eye!)

Sources: Journal of Experimental Biology - Biophysics of directional hearing in the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis)

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, December 1, 2019

December 1, 2019

 Location: Lake Okeechobee Park, Okeechobee

I am a Northern Harrier
My face is shaped much like an owls
It's common for me to have multiple mates
In more than one way, I am out on the prowl!

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Northern Harrier

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, November 30, 2019

November 30, 2019

 Location: Lake Okeechobee Park, Okeechobee

Pictured here on the top is Common Water Hyacinth,
Surrounded by Water Lettuce
They are both invasive exotic plants
That kill native aquatic plants, which upsets us.

Sources: Click the above links for more information on how these aquatic weeds are damaging to the ecosystem.

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, November 29, 2019

November 29, 2019

Location: Lake Okeechobee Park, Okeechobee

This is Carica papaya
A plant with antibacterial properties
It has many other uses medicinally
Because it contains vitamins A, B and C.

Sources: Science Direct - A review on medicinal properties of Carica papaya Linn.

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, November 28, 2019

November 28, 2019

Location: St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park, Fellsmere

We are a group of Wild Turkeys
You can find us near acorns, which we love to munch.
Please excuse us if we seem shy though,
And decline your invitation to lunch.

Sources: Audubon Guide to North American Birds - Wild Turkey

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

November 27, 2019

Location: Fellsmere, my house

I am a young Southern Black Racer
I'm still not solid white on my chin
I am older than when you saw me in August
And more black, and longer and thin.

Sources: Florida Museum - Coluber constrictor priapus

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

November 26, 2019

Location: St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park, Fellsmere

I am a Barred Yellow butterfly
My color changes with the seasons
I can be found throughout most of Florida
And in Central and South American regions

Sources: Keysmoths.com - Eurema daira, Barred Yellow

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, November 25, 2019

November 25, 2019

Location: Goodwin W.MA., Fellsmere

This is known as Moonflower
It's flower can be 6 inches across
It blooms late in the day,
Through the night it stays.
And it it pollinated by moths.

Sources: Florida Native Plan Society - Ipomoea alba

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, November 24, 2019

November 24, 2019

Location: St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park, Fellsmere

This is a Common Buckeye
Beautiful enough to inspire this writer
Today's post is dedicated to my readers who
Prefer pictures of butterflies much more than spiders.

Sources: Butterflies and Moths of North America - Common Buckeye

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, November 23, 2019

November 23, 2019

Location: Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park, Okeechobee

These are Indigo Milk Cap mushrooms
They live sybiotically with oaks and pines
They produce a beautiful, dark blue milk
If they are pierced with the tip of a knife.

Sources: MushroomExpert.com - Lactarius indigo

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, November 22, 2019

November 22, 2019

Location: Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park, Okeechobee

This is Fuligo septica
Commonly known as Dog Vomit Slime Mold
In Denmark it's known as Troll Butter
I think it was named by a boy about 8 years old.

(Thanks to Anne and Sven for the Troll Butter tip!)

Sources: UF | IFAS Blogs - I Ain’t Afraid of No Slime Mold

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson