When you drive down a Southeast Florida road, and you glance at the trees
in the distance, the really tall stuff might be Australian Pine.
Norfolk Island Pine and Slash pine are common down here too, so let's
glance at all three to make them easier to ID.
Norfolk Island Pines tend to stick straight up with a large central
trunk from which branches sprout like bristles on a bottle brush.
's crept all the way
to this top of this Norfolk Island Pine.
Slash Pines are more clumpy and rounded. They have clusters of needles
on long branches that wander out from the tree.
Let's get back to the Australians. Australian Pines have extremely long
needles that droop from the branches and whistle in the wind. They're
long haired trees with green tresses.
In this picture, the Australian Pines are to the right of the Slash
Pines, and below, they are to the left of the Norfolk Island Pine.
That splintered tree is what happens to Australian Pines in a hurricane.
Norfolk Island Pines don't fare much better. They're HEAVY. They fall in
the high winds. Let's move on to happier stuff.
That tiny brown bug is a Firey
. It is resting on an Australian Pine. This young
is climbing one.
In my neck of the woods, Australian Pines are an invasive nuisance plant
even if they do provide cover and habitat and look great until they fall
over. They sucker, which means that little trees sprout all around them.
They grow REALLY fast.
After they bloom, they dust the surrounding landscape, which includes
your car, and your porch, and, via incoming feet, your carpet, with a
sticky coat of brown pollen. Oh, and my kids are allergic to the darned
trees. Now I'm done with the down side. Let's look at some more of the
neat creatures I've found on these
Now that's a particularly interesting picture. The
butterfly resting on the Australian Pine is a
Gulf Fritillary. But look -
there's a bug on the
I ended up nose to wing with that Streaked Sphinx Moth when I was
pruning the tree back so I could mow around it. I'm glad it hung around
long enough for me to run in and grab a camera!
This broken butterfly is a
it's missing some tail. It could still fly away, and did.
That bizarre metallic bug above is a
Eurhinus Magnificus Weevil. Wow,
what a sight!
That creature above looks more fearsome than it is. It's a tiny flat
shield bug of some sort. Several were scurrying out of sight on some
Australian Pine saplings we cut down.
This red and black bug is another shield bug,
Euthyrhynchus floridanus. It was feasting on a green planthopper
until I disturbed it.
I've found several kinds of leafhoppers lurking on the pine needles:
The long bug with maroon eyes is a syrphid fly. I believe it's a
Pseudodoros clavatus. The
white bug that seems to be chewing on the end of the pine needle, and I
believe that it is, is an M. Undatus weevil.
A Longjawed Orb Weaver,
the long reddish spider on the right,
tried really hard to keep the pine needle between us, but I managed to
get one decent picture while we paused to watch each other.
That wasn't the only spider around; these spiderlings are recent
And finally, a Brown Thrasher
that was scolding me away from the chick it was feeding beneath the
trees. I didn't want to take more pictures and upset it further, so I
backed off. I wonder if it was eating these bees? Oh, and then I found
these bug eggs on a pine needle.