Wild Florida Photo
Nature Photography by Paul Rebmann
This is one of Florida's smaller orbweavers of woodland edges and shrubby meadows. These spiders are often seen hanging below the center of their webs just off to the side of trails.
Also called Venusta orchard spiders, the range extends throughout much of the eastern United States, north into Ontario, west into Nebraska and Texas and south to Panama.
Like other orbweavers, Leucauge venusta spins a circular web. While many of the other orbweavers position their webs vertically, the orchard orbveaver places then horizontal, or slightly slanted and up to 1.5 m (5 ft.) above the ground. The webs are typically 30 cm (1 ft.) in diameter with an average of 30 spokes and 60 spirals.
The spiders are small with relatively large pearly white or silvery abdomens with a metallic sheen and distinctive black lines and also red and yellow markings. The red bowtie shaped mark on the abdomen cause many to mistake these for black widows, which do not spin webs like orbweavers nor are likely to be out during the day. Females have bodies from 2/10 to 3/10 inch long, the smaller males are about an eighth of an inch long.
Another species of this genus is found in Florida, L. argyra. The two species can be most easily differentiated by the black lines on the abdomen.
Climbing aster ia a common fall wildflower of swamps, riverbanks, wet hammocks and other wet areas from the central panhandle throughout much of the Florida peninsula.
This vine-like perennial, also called Carolina aster, ranges through the coastal plain through Georgia and the Carolinas.
This robust, woody vine is frequently found sprawling over other plants. Stems grow to over five feet long with many arching or climbing branches. The ray florets are purplish to pinkish and the disks are dark yellow. Flowers may be solitary or clumped.
Formerly in the no-longer recognized Aster genus, climbing aster has been reclassified in the genus Symphyotrichum. Some sources consider it instead as the single known species of the genus Ampelaster.
White-tailed deer can be found throughout Florida. The range extends through the Americas from Canada to Peru.
The coloration of white-tailed deer varies by both induviduals and seasonal molts, with the coats being lighter and thinner in the warmer months,
but is typically various shades of brown ranging from tawny, to cinnamon and almost black.
Fawns are spotted, providing additional camouflauge until about the time they are weened.
The inside of the ears, throat, belly, rump and the underside of the tail are white.
When danger is sensed, the tail is held upright, exposing the white rump and underside of the tail and providing a silent alert to other deer.
This action is also used by does to provide a beacon for her fawns to follow in dimly lit woods.
There are 14 subspecies of Odocoileus virginianus, with three found in Florida. The Florida whitetail - O. virginianus seminolus - is the largest subspecies in the state and is found throughout the peninsula. Florida coastal whitetail - O. virginianus osceola - is found in the Florida panhandle, southern Alabama, and Mississippi and is slightly smaller than seminolus. The smallest whitetail in Florida and of all subspecies is the Key Deer - Odocoileus virginianus var. clavium an endangered species that lives only a a few of the Florida keys..
Recent DNA analysis suggests that differences in many of the subspecies is mainly due to habitat variations and that there are actually fewer actual subspecies. The key deer however is unquestionably a distinct subspecies.
Glandularia maritima is a species that is endemic to Florida. Endemic means limited to a particular geographic region, in this case the state.
An occasional wildflower of dunes, coastal grasslands and strands, oak scrub and coastal pinelands only in the Florida peninsula. Found mostly in the east coast counties, plus Hendry, Collier and Levy Counties.
Beach verbena has angled, branched stems that may be prostrate or ascending with ovate leaves are opposite with petioles and lobed or toothed margins. The five-lobed flowers are rose-purple and hairy on the exterior of the corolla and the calyx is glandular with five pointed lobes. There are 4 stamens that are attached inside the corolla tube.
Three other species of Glandularia and a hybrid are also found in Florida. G. tampensis is another endemic occurring along both coasts of the central peninsula. The remaining native species, G. canadensis is found in scattered north Florida locations, much of the central and eastern United States and into Canada. G. aristigera and the hybrid are not native to Florida.
This is the smallest butterfly in the eastern United States and is found near saltwater, usually in salt marshes along much of the Florida coast.
The range of the eastern pygmy blue extends from Florida along the Gulf Coast into Louisiana and along the Atlantic into South Carolina.
The wings are brown with a row of four black spots near the margin of the hindwing. On the underside, these black spots have white highlights and the underside also has various white dashes and circles. Wingspans range from 2-2.2 cm (3/4 - 7/8 in.). The eggs are pale blue-green and the larvae are green with small white tubercles that closely match the pattern of glasswort, one of the host plants.
The primary host plant is Salicornia bigelovii - annual glasswort. Perennial glasswort - Sarcocornia ambigua - and saltwort - Batis maritima - are also utilized. The butterfly in the image above
Sea lavender is a frequent perennial wildflower of brackish marshes, mangrove swamps salt flats and coastal strands in most of the coastal counties of Florida.
The range extends along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts from Mexico to Canada, plus Bermuda.
Slender stems with alternate, scale-like leaves grow to two feet tall, including the branching inflorescences. Carolina sealavender has basal leaves that vary in shape. The flowers are less than 3/8 inch long, having a five lobed and tubular-funnelform lavender corolla with a five-lobed white calyx. Fruit is a capsule.