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A very wet native plant field trip last month resulted in my seeing two butterflies that were new to me, including the rare Schaus' swallowtail. This trip to Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park was one of many activities during the Florida Native Plant Society annual state conference. Myself and two other attendees braved the early start of this year's rainy season to visit an area not open to the public. Our leader was Janice Duquesnei, Florida State Parks keys biologist.
Male Schaus' swallowtail butterfly
Schaus' swallowtail is a rare and endangered butterfly that currently is only found on a couple of the upper Florida keys and in a few small sites nearby on the mainland. It has the distinction of being one of the first insects given federal protection, being listed as threatened in 1976, then as endangered in 1984. This is a butterfly of tropical hardwood hammocks, historically from the greater Miami area to Lower Matecumbe Key and is one of the subspecies of the Island Swallowtail found throughout the West Indies.
These large butterflies - Heraclides aristodemus ponceanus - are similar to the closely related giant swallowtails, except that Papilio cresphontes(giant swallowtail) have black tails with a yellow spot in the center and the Schaus' has a yellow edged tail that is black in the center. The Schaus' sexes are similar to each other except that the males have yellow-tipped antennae (see photo above) and the females dark-tipped antennae(see photo below).
Female Schaus' swallowtail butterfly on scorpionstail
The other butterfly that I had not seen before last month was a Julia, Dryas iulia largo, which is one of Florida's longwing butterflies along with the gulf fritillary and the state butterfly, zebra longwing. All three of these longwing butterflies depend exclusively on plants in the passion-flower family for larval hosts.
Female Julia butterfly on pigeon plum
The primary larval host plants of the Schaus' swallowtail are two members of the citrus family, sea torchwood and wild lime.
You can read more about Schaus' swallowtail and its host plants at the Paul Rebmann Nature Photography blog.
You can see what the Wild Florida Photo website looked like fifteen years ago this month at June 2003 Flashback. I have only added an update on the Ocklawaha River and links to the current website page for each of the subjects that were on the old site. All of the images on the site in June 2003 were made with a film camera, a manual focus Minolta X-370. I did not start shooting digital until 2004, after the rugged SLR took one too many dips in a swamp during a trip to the Fakahatchee Strand and I was unable to revive it like I did after Bradwell Bay several years earlier.
A 'Then and Now' comparison by the numbers:
|Items||June 2003||June 2018|
|Animals (all - birds, mammals, insects, spiders, reptiles, etc.)||28||381|
|Total Subjects (animals, plants & others)||109||1187|
Paul Rebmann will be presenting Wildflowers & Pollinators at the June meeting of the Volusia-Flagler Sierra Club, this Thursday June 21 at 7pm. The Sierra Club meets in the UCF building 140 room 206 on the Daytona State campus in Daytona Beach.
One of the marvels of nature is the symbiotic relationship - where both parties benefit - between wildflowers and pollinators. When pollinators are mentioned, the first thing that probably comes tomind are bees, or possibly butterflies. What many people may not realize is the large diversity of species that are helping to pollinate our plants, whether in the wild, in landscapes or on farms. And the plants, particularly natives that help feed the pollinators that also go on to pollinate the plants that feed us. Wildflowers and Pollinators features information, photos and even a few videos, including stages of the life cycles of the spiderling plume moth and gulf fritillary butterfly.
Contact the photographer (see below) if your group may be interested in seeing this presentation on the symbiotic relationship between wildflowers and a variety of pollinators.
For details on these and other events, visit the Wild Florida Photo events page.
Weekender Tote Bags
Great for heading to the beach or for that overnighter.
Purchase Palamedes Swallowtail And Friends tote bag
Palamedes Swallowtail And other pollinators, Papilio palamedes & more
Phone cases available for most models of iPhone and Galaxy.
Purchase Ebony Jewelwing phone case
Ebony Jewelwing - Calopteryx maculata
To see a selection of images that I think will look best on yoga mats, visit www.wildflphoto.com/yoga
Check out all of the images and for wall art and other products at paul-rebmann.pixels.com
The current Wild Florida Photo feature is
Other recent featured photos at Wild Florida Photo include Sweet Acacia and Sora.
Note that there was no April 2018 newsletter.
Thank you, and I hope that you enjoy my photography.
Wild Florida Photo
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