Tag Archives: cuban treefrog

When Garden Drivel Meets World Research

In 2009 when I began writing about my garden encounters I felt good that I was getting the word out about the importance of native plants in the scheme of things. At that time I had no idea just how important they are since I was clueless about how each creature performs a vital role in the rungs on the food chain and often are dependent on a single plant as a host. It was a hobby I embraced as I found I liked learning about creatures’ interaction with plants and I also love to spin a yarn as anyone who knows me could attest.

With each new encounter I became more aware of the circle of life and that even aphids can be important in the scheme of things. Killing one creature that we may not hold in awe ultimately will result in less food for someone higher up. I threw away my soapy water bottle in which I dropped leaf-eating beetles. I stopped picking off the bagworm “cocoons” that I was told were so bad for my plants. I started the practice of “live and let live”. A chewed plant is not something to frown about …it is something to rejoice. It just might help grow a baby bird in the making.

I have a few blogs that I write. Back in January 2016 I received a comment on one of my “Central Florida Critter of the Day” posts from an arachnologist in Switzerland.

Dr. Martin Nyffeler, Senior Lecturer in Zoology at the University of Basel was requesting the use of my photo and encounter of a Regal Jumping Spider who had a treefrog in his clutches. Dr. Nyffeler has studied and published many research papers on spiders. Things I find fascinating…like spiders eating various critters including fish and bats. He was in the process of putting together a research paper on spiders eating vertebrates and my treefroggy encounter qualified.

I was thrilled that someone internationally known for spider research was interested in my little rendezvous with nature. I knew that my encounter was not a normal, run-of-the-mill occurrence, but I didn’t realize that it might just be rare.

Regal Jumping Spider (Phidippus regius) with invasive cuban treefrog

So, my encounter was included in Dr. Nyffeler’s research paper “A vertebrate-eating jumping spider (Araneae: Salticidae) from Florida, USA”. This week it was published in the Journal of Arachnology, 45(2):238-241 put out by American Arachnological Society. It was one of 8 Florida encounters included in his paper so I’m feeling pretty darn special. *My* spider is picture “D”. I’m also feeling pretty darn good that my mindless drivel may actually have a useful purpose.

In my retirement hobby I feel like I’ve made some extraordinary strides. From writing the newsletter for the local Native Plant Society Chapter to blogging about weekly encounters in my garden, to an interview for the statewide Guide for Real Florida Gardeners (2013 issue) published by Florida Association of Native Nurseries, to a 2013 spread in the nationally published Humane Society Magazine All Animals, and in 2017 The Humane Gardener book by Nancy Lawson. Now I’ve gone International. What’s next…a movie? I can see it now “Lizards on a Car”. HA!

In the Wildlife Garden, Naughty or Nice?

This tale was originally published by Loret T. Setters on  December 23, 2011 at the defunct national blog  beautifulwildlifegarden[dot]com. Click the date to view reader comments.

Santa Claus is coming to town so I thought I get a few entries ready for the Florida Naughty and Nice List.

Brazilian Peppertree: So NAUGHTY! prohibited in Florida Photo ©2000 Univ. Florida

Brazilian Peppertree
(Schinus terebinthifolia)
NAUGHTY!

“This shrub/tree is one of the most aggressive and wide-spread of the invasive non-indigenous exotic pest plants in the State of Florida. There are over 700,000 acres in Florida infested with Brazilian pepper tree. Brazilian pepper tree produces a dense canopy that shades out all other plants and provides a very poor habitat for native species. This species invades aquatic as well as terrestrial habitats, greatly reducing the quality of native biotic communities in the state.”

Dahoon Holly
(Ilex cassine)
NICE!

Used as a tree or shrub, dahoon holly, a Florida native species, has thick, dark green foliage and attractive red berries which provides an extremely valuable source of food for many overwintering songbirds and other wildlife like quail and wild turkey. Source It is a great alternative to the invasive Brazilian Peppertree.

Caesarweed
(Urena lobata)
NAUGHTY!

Pretty in Pink, this non-native invasive plant takes over the understory in wooded areas, shading out native species imperative as food resources for native fauna. Prolific seeds of the “hitchhiker” type are easily spread by wildlife. It was upgraded this year to a Category I Invasive on the FLEPPC (Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council) 2011 Invasive Plant List.

 

 

 

Fetterbush
(Lyonia lucida)
NICE!

Also pretty in Pink, this Florida native species is an important nectar source. Deer will browse the leaves.

 

 

 

 

Cuban Treefrog
(Osteopilus septentrionalis) NAUGHTY!

Invasive in Florida, the Cuban Treefrog eats at least five different species of native frogs, not to mention the occasional lizard or small snake. Their tadpoles compete with native tadpoles for space and food. Once captured, it is illegal to release these pests back into the wild. There are humane ways to euthanize them to prevent further disruption to our native species. Source

 

 

 

 

Green Treefrog
(Hyla cinerea)
NICE!

A Florida Native species, Green treefrogs eat beetles, crickets, caterpillars, beetle larvae, stinkbugs, other small invertebrates, maintaining a balance within the insect population.

 

 

 

 

Brown Anole
(Anolis sagrei)
NAUGHTY!

Native Florida green anoles have been driven higher above the ground by invader brown anoles. The greens populate sparsely and require larger living spaces. The brown invaders are more aggressive, live in smaller spaces with higher populations, and favor ground shrubs and lower tree trunks. Source

 

 

 

Green Anole
(Anolis carolinensis)
NICE!

You can encourage this Florida native species by providing habitat that includes taller shrub species where they are less likely to have to compete with the ground hugging brown anole.

 

 

 

 

Southern Green Stinkbug (Nezara viridula) NAUGHTY!

These “stinkers”, believed to have originated in Ethiopia, cause damage to fruit when they pierce the peel with piercing-sucking mouthparts. Severe damage can cause premature fruit drop and dry areas in the flesh of the fruit. Source

 

 

 

 

 

Feather-legged Fly (Trichopoda pennipes)
NICE!

Also called a Tachina Fly, this wonder parasitizes the southern green stink bug.

 

 

There are tons more I could add to Santa’s list, but I didn’t want to weigh him down during his busy season. I wish you all Happy Holidays and joy and conservation of habitat in the New Year.