I spent hours exploring insects in the ephemeral wetland habitat of Long Key Natural Area and Nature Center today and spotted a few I've never before seen.
Florida Entomology Group helped me identify the ones above. The first photo, a member advised, is an ant mimic bug that seems to be in the Alydidae family of broadheaded bugs, while the third is in the same family and likely a Hyalymenus longispinus (also a bug that mimics ants).
I've already begun reading about these ant impostors and am looking forward to learning more about them. Meanwhile, here are a few more sightings -- insects and otherwise -- from my visit to Long Key.
Notice how the grasshopper looks like a blade of grass. I am so in awe of insects today.
Today I beat my not-so-hard-to-beat record for the most grasshoppers seen in one day. There were so many babies that it was like a grasshopper population explosion. When it was really quiet, I could hear the grasshoppers eating.
A thin-lined passionvine beetle crossing a bridge over The Land of the Tiny Grasshoppers.
The Shining (a flower fly).
This is a Palmetto Tortoise Beetle. There were about five of them on this saw palmetto. What's not apparent in this photo is their yellow antennas. A Facebook friend said these small beetles look like the pugs of the beetle world, and I can see that, Until you get really close-up, they don't even look like insects ... They just look like little black spots. But once you zoom in on then, they're really quite beautiful.
Not everything is about insects. Here's one of many turtles swimming through the reflections of clouds, as viewed from the bridge behind Long Key Nature Center.
Here is one of the many pond lilies that can also be viewed from that bridge.