Something Prehistoric Along the Trail

As I was walking, I noticed a pile of greenish black, jellylike globs. It looked like plant parts had been stirred together and left to rot, but there was no odor of mildew or fermentation. I took a few more steps and saw another pile, and then another. I then realized they were all connected.Continue reading “Something Prehistoric Along the Trail”

12 Facts About Moon Jellyfish (Aurelia aurita)

Predates dinosaurs. Can survive in waters having low salt content. Eats planktonic animals, small fish, small crustaceans, and mollusk eggs. Eaten by sea turtles (especially Leatherback Turtles), birds, and fish. Adults live up to a year in the wild; 18 months in captivity. Can sense light, chemical changes, and touch. Can also orient themselves spatially.Continue reading “12 Facts About Moon Jellyfish (Aurelia aurita)”

Alligator body language: a short photo essay

It was March at Sweetwater Wetlands Park (Gainesville, FL), and bull alligators were defending their territories. This bull alligator had just crossed the pond, where an even larger male sunned itself in the company of a much smaller female. He parked himself near the embankment, crossing the tip of his rival’s snout, which was pointedContinue reading “Alligator body language: a short photo essay”

The Tiniest Grasshopper

I noticed movement along the trail and discovered a group of tiny black grasshoppers, all under a half-inch long. They had bright red markings and preferred crawling to hopping. A new-to-me species! Or so I thought. I couldn’t wait to research my find on the internet, only to learn that I’ve seen this species manyContinue reading “The Tiniest Grasshopper”

Sesbania punicea, a deadly invasive plant

At Sweetwater Wetlands Park in Gainesville, FL, I noticed a pair of wispy trees along the boardwalk. They had orange-red blooms, but it was the draping compound leaves that caught my attention. Other people have noticed the plant’s beauty as well, and Sesbania punicea has been widely imported from South America as an ornamental gardenContinue reading “Sesbania punicea, a deadly invasive plant”

Leaffooted Bug

I mistook this insect for a type of Assassin Bug, which has a potent sting. For this reason, I used a telephoto setting to photograph this penny-sized insect, and then enlarged the photo using photo-editing software. It is actually a Leaffooted Bug (Leptoglossus phyllopus), which gets its name from its flattened back legs. The malesContinue reading “Leaffooted Bug”