Garden Love is in the Air

Dateline: February 13, 2013*

Tomorrow is Valentine’s day and I just thought I would share the love of my garden with you all.  Hmmmmm, maybe that is love IN my garden.  I did a similar article a while back, but there can never be too much L♥VE!  I present to you, some more of my mating friends and what entices them to visit my place.

anoles052110-e1360713863995Green Anoles (Anolis carolinensis):  These comical reptiles eat insects so they are attracted to plants, such as Bidens alba, that attract insects.  I’ve written in the past about their affinity for the Syrphid Fly.

syrphidfliesinlove091511-e1360714015279Speaking of Syrphid Flies: They are bee mimics who perform pollination duties. Larvae are predators of aphids, thrips and caterpillars. This couple is likely Toxomerus spp.

deltabeetle052512-e1360714579715Delta Flower Scarab (Trigonopeltastes delta):  Here they are shown on Rattlesnakemaster, but I’ve also found them on Barbara’s Buttons. Larvae are found in decaying wood.

beetlelove052012-e1360714124370Yellow-marked Buprestid Beetles (Acmaeodera spp.): This couple seems to love the Black-eyed Susans.  Larvae are wood borers, maybe not the best thing, but heck, the holes will give haven to solitary bees and I’m sure the birds would add them to the menu…they look “lemony”.

matingbandeddragonflyjune2012-e1360714469324Banded Pennant Dragonflies (Celithemis fasciata) stop by the pond since I leave dead branches as landing stations.

matingcassiusblue072812-e1360714432166Cassius Blue Butterfly (Leptotes cassius):  They stop at my place because I provide a native larval host plants, Doctorbush (Plumbago zeylanica aka P. scandens).  This butterfly has been declared a Federally-designated Threatened species due to similarity of appearance to the endangered Miami Blue Butterfly.

matingpalamedesswallowtailsaugust2012a-e1360714498195The Palamedes Swallowtail Butterfly (Papilio palamedes) relies exclusively on Redbay (Persea borbonia) as a larval host, which has been afflicted with laurel wilt disease brought on by a fungus carried by an invasive insect. This beetle’s presence threatens not only the tree, but this beautiful species as well.

These two have a peeping tom hanging out in the lower right hand corner.
These two have a peeping tom hanging out in the lower right hand corner.

Grasshoppers:  Ok, we can’t always love what’s in love around our place, but grasshopper nymphs are a major component of baby bird food, so sometimes in the interest of our wildlife friends, it is necessary for us to look the other way.  These guys are shown on dogfennel, which is unlikely to show any lasting damage.

matinggulffrits091611a-e1360715623368Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae) uses Passionvine as a larval host.  At my place, I provide native Passiflora incarnata and this prolific butterfly flutters around in droves.  They even stayed all winter this year and I have had caterpillars throughout the season.

So, this is my troop of lovers.  Who do you love, or who is in your love nest?

*This tale was originally published by Loret T. Setters on February 13, 2013 at the defunct national blog nativeplantwildlifegarden[dot]com . Click the date to view reader comments.

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