The Eyed Click Beetle

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I don’t know why my office attracts bizarre insects, but I certainly enjoy it! This bugger is the Eastern Eyed Click Beetle (Alaus oculatus) and it makes this loud clicking sound as it hurls itself high into the air. I did not know this when meeting him in the warehouse as he did look intimidating, but think I’ll have to give it a go if he comes around again. The best thing about finding these bugs is learning something new about these amazing creatures, and getting to photograph them is pretty cool too 🙂

Is it Rosary Pea..

…or an alien space pod? It is rosary pea (Abrus precatorius) to my best knowledge. As cool as this pod looks, the seeds of the rosary pea are actually more toxic than the infamous ricin. Paired with the fact it is an invasive exotic species here in Florida and you really have a deadly (non-space) invader.

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The Fiery Searcher

 

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Found this not-so-little guy hanging around my office today and he must have wanted his picture taken so I obliged. My first time seeing this caterpillar hunter, the fiery searcher (Calosoma scrutator). Name sounds like something from a J.R.R. Tolkien book! I think a book could be written about this….

 

The flower is only a part of its beauty

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One of the most exciting things about moving to new area is that you get to see and learn about your new locale. Food is always a fun and universal pleasure, but what about the plants? For me, that is the best part.

Making the two-hour drive back home from work can be quite tedious and I find myself looking for distractions, a reason to stop and take a picture or two. It was one of these drives that a small patch of white flowers on the side of the road caught my eye. Being pretty tired, I almost didn’t stop but the flowers looked like different. They stuck in my head for a few miles and I had to turn around to investigate. To my delight, they were a species I haven’t seen before and quite beautiful. I snapped a few photos excited by my new discovery and, being a plant geek, knew that the fun had just begun. What were they? How often do they bloom? Are they native or an escaped exotic?

It turns out this beautiful plant is one of Florida’s native rain-liles, Zephyranthes atamasca. This species reportedly flowers after a spring or summer rain. This lasts for a month or so before the flowering ceases altogether. Also, the bloom only lasts a short while, making it a good thing that I stopped when I did as subsequent visits have not found the rain lilies blooming as they did that day.

Its not always easy to break out of the day’s mundane, but sometimes taking a break to stop and smell, or photograph, the flowers leads to its own adventure. While finding the rain lily was a treat, leaning about the plant and its precious nature made it that much more beautiful.

 

Panther chameleon, I’m looking at you

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Or maybe its the other way around. Normally I don’t like to post the same subject so soon after, but our panther chameleon, Savannah, finally let me get within reach to photograph her with my macro adapter on. Looking at this, her skin appears jeweled and set better than any precious stonesetter could dream of doing. Makes me realize that only when we get this close to something do we see the beauty in the details. Now if my Gila would let me get a photo like this…

A frosty north Florida morning

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One of the most exciting aspects about moving to north Florida was the change in weather. Frost advisories, snow flurries and temperatures into the 20’s; yes, please! But now we head into the hot weather months and I already miss the cold. Only six more months to go…