Our Insects
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Golden Silk (Banana) Spiders
Ants In Florida
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Banana spiders are not considered venomous, but neither are bees, if any person is allergic to a bit, sting or hair they may have a strong reaction.

 Since so many people come here to see pictures of banana spiders, We have added a bunch or really GOOD close ups. Click here for more information, and photo gallery.

Banana Spiders - This girl (the yellow and black one in the upper right, not the young woman in the black hat) is a banana spider. 

The National Audubon Society Field Guide to Insects and Spiders narrows these very common spiders down to Nursery-web Spiders, Thin-legged Wolf Spiders, or Huntsman Spiders. Take your pick. They get big. They usually ignore me, but I had one chase me out of the bathroom. These guys get too big for the house. I have seen some which looked identical in grey.
Spiney Orb Weaver Spider-(Crab Spider)These colorful little creatures are most commonly seen (in Florida) during the winter months.  They build a new web every night. They lay their eggs late in the year and then die.  Males are very small and so you don’t see them very often.  Their bite can raise a welt and be uncomfortable, so best to avoid irritating them.  They are not listed as “venomous”, so it isn’t dangerous.  Like most spiders, they are shy, and they are beneficial since they catch insects like mosquitoes and flies in their webs.

Brown Widow

Individual From Ft. Myers (South West) Florida 

 

Updated 8/28/04 Click here to go to the newest critters

Wow! You can be glad you aren't 1/2 inch tall! You won't ever have to meet an assassin bug eyeball to eyeball! Check out this new photo gallery that starts in the fall of 2002 with two mature assassin bugs mating, and picks up in April 2003 when the offspring of this happy couple are just hatching out and taking their place at the top of the 4 board fence

Wow!  How about this 1" long red ant? These are called velvet ants because the red coloration is fine hair.  This is an amazing creature.

Click here for more pictures

Imperial Moth

Florida has some amazing insects, lizards, and, well, critters.  Here are just a few insects that we have met at Shady Grove Farm.  Yes, that is pink lichen on the tree bark and this 3 inch wide moth is almost invisible unless you are paying attention. 

Hickory Horned Devil
Regal Moth

This hard shelled green caterpillar has half inch spikes on his head and two gripping claws at his tail.  You can't tell it from this picture, but he is using his hind claws to anchor himself between these two boards. If he feels threatened, he can rear up and use those horns on his head.

Lichen Mantis

We know little about these beneficial insects. They prefer the deciduous woods where their adaptive coloring can hide them. They are incredibly fast and dart away the moment you're not looking.

You can read more about Anisomorpha at: http://creatures.ifas.ufl.edu/misc/walkingstick.htm

This identification provided by: Cameron Campbell

This is a species of walking stick called Anisomorpha buprestoides.  It's Florida's most commonly encountered walking stick.

It is unusual in that it is one of the few walking stick species that can produce a defensive spray when threatened, so it's generally best not to handle them.  The spray can cause quite severe (but temporary) eye irritation, and if inhaled, it usually results in sneezing.  However, I've worked around large numbers of this species outdoors for years, and they won't spray unless intentionally disturbed.  They are completely non-aggressive, herbivorous insects.


This is a 6" long female  has her mate on her back he is only about 3" long, She is about 3/8" in diameter he is less than half that. She has a distinctive red stripe down her head and side and the male has a yellow stripe down his tail. And yes, they are mating. 

They live in the walls of the hay barn and come out in July to mate in the sunshine of the door way.  They stay in pretty much the same pose and same place for 7-10 days.  (Something to think about.)  He hangs on to her, and she carries him with her, on her back.

We have seen this same behavior for three years now.  I don't know if it is the same pair each year, or not, but they keep coming back to the same place each year. This year I was ready for them with my new digital camera, and I hope to get some really good pictures.   

New!

 Rat Snake Pictures!
Click here to see our our new rat snake gallery!

See anything unusual about this garden hose?  Click on the picture to see a larger version. 

This is a yellow and brown rat snake.  We also have black rat snakes here in Ocala.  They actually come in 3 different color patterns.  They can be red, orange, yellow, brown or gray with 4 dark stripes. 

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Last modified: January 26, 2013