BEHIND THE SCENES

NORTH AMERICA GALLERY
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Japanese Beetle

Originally from Japan, they are now an invasive species in North America.  The larvae are found in lawns and other grasslands, where they feed on the grass roots.  As an adult, they will devour the leaves of a wide range of host plants causing significant damage.  When threatened, Japanese beetle will kick up their hind legs in defense. 

Location: Long Island, New York

Hentz Jumping Spider

Hentz Jumping Spider

Hentz jumping spiders are not very big but they have very strong legs.  They pounce on their prey rather then building a silk web.  As they leap to capture the prey, they will create a strand of silk called dragline to attach to the prey to keep it from escaping.   They are often found on leaf litters or on the ground outside in North America, Bermuda, The Bahamas, and Cuba. 

 

Location: Long Island, New York

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Blue Dasher Dragonfly

Blue Dasher refers to the vibrant blue hue of the male dragonfly.  Females are dull in color, as featured here, with bright red eyes.  Dragonflies have near-360-degree vision, with just one blind spot, directly behind them. They have 30,000 facets in their eyes housing up to 30 light sensing proteins.  To put it in perspective, we only have 3 light sensing proteins, red, blue and green.  They are very common in North America and the Bahamas found near calm bodies of water. 

 

Location: Long Island, New York

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Spittlebug Nymph

Spittlebug is the original bubble maker. They stay very still on the plant consuming sap all day.  To regulate  temperature, stay hydrated and hide themselves, they secrete a foamy bubbly mixture of urine, air and a sticky substance.  It's miraculous how diligent they are.  See our post on their life cycle and watch them in action here

 

Location: Long Island, New York

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Froghopper

Froghopper are named for their frog like head and their ability to jump far.  They have powerful hind legs which can lodge them up to 27 inches high in a split second.Their front pair of wings wrap around their body like a tent and the back pair covers the back creating a false second head.  They feed on plant sap and are mostly motionless unless threatened.  See them in action here.

 

Location: Long Island, New York

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Oriental Beetle

Oriental Beetles are native to Asia and were accidentally introduced to North America in the early 20th Century.  The larval grub feed on roots of turfgrass, nursery stock, ornamental crops and fruit and can cause significant damage to the host plant.  Adult beetles eats flower petals especially daisies.  

 

Location: Long Island, New York

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Firefly

Fireflies produce the most efficient light in the world! Nearly 100% of the chemical reaction’s energy becomes light. The light that fireflies produce may be green, yellow or orange in color.

 

Location: Long Island, New York

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Northern Puffer

Northern Puffer are found along the Atlantic coast of North America and are not poisonous.  As a last line of defense, they will puff up into a ball if threatened by inhaling water into a special chamber near the stomach.  They primary feed on shellfish, mostly crabs, by using their beak like mouth to break open the shell.  

 

Location: Long Island, New York

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Ladybug Larva

Ladybug larvae look nothing like their adorable adult self.  However, they are still beneficial garden insect during this stage. It takes a ladybug larva two weeks to grow and during this time, it has a ferocious appetite.  It will consume up to 400 soft body insects, mostly aphids, before the pupating process begins.  Read more about the ladybug stages here

 

Location: Long Island, New York

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Sand Crabs

Also known as Sand Fleas or Mole Crabs, Sand crabs have no claws and are found at the swash zone on the beach.  Unlike other crabs, they have limited mobility and can only move backwards.  They burrow just beneath the surface with their hind claws, leaving their eyes and antennae slightly above the sand, to collect tiny planktons.   They live along the Pacific coast from Alaska to Baja California in the northern hemisphere and between Ecuador and Argentina in the southern hemisphere.

 

Location: Long Island, New York

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Flat Backed Millipede

Resembling a centipede, Flat Backed Millipede have 20 body segments and 4 legs each. Their flat ridged body helps them burrow into soil.  They live in compost piles, under tree bark and loose soil with lots of decaying bark feeding on roots, dead leaves and other decaying plant matter.  They are slow-moving, so as defense, they sometimes release an almond-smelling liquid (cyanide) from the sides of their body.   Originally from Europe, they have since been introduced to North America.

 

Location: Long Island, New York

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Brown Pelican

Brown Pelican are large birds with long thick bills found in coastal beaches and lagoons in North America.  They are plunge divers and can spot a fish as high as 65 feet in the air and dive head-first into the ocean. As they dive into the water, their throat pouch expand to trap the fish, filling with up to 2.6 gallons of water. 

 

Location: Captiva, Florida

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Leopard Slug

Leopard Slugs are big slugs that can be found throughout the world, including Australia, the Americas, Africa, Asia and Europe.  They are known for their mid - air mating practice  while suspended from a slime cord.  Leopard Slugs have both male and female organs so after mating, they both lay eggs. 

 

Location: Long Island, New York

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Yellow Banded Millipede

Yellow banded millipede or bumble bee millipede is native to the Caribbean and has also been introduced to the southeastern United States. Millipedes are not insects but myriapods. They are commonly found in mulch and considered beneficial because they feed on decaying plant material and organic matter.  Monkeys and birds have been observed to crush and rub them on their body, probably as insect repellent.

 

Location: Anna Maria Island, Florida

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European Mantis

Imported from Europe to North America in the 1600's for plant pest control, European Mantis are about 2 - 3.5 inches.  They are found in variety of wild and urban habitats and prefer shrubbery or Herbaceous plants in sunny areas.  Praying mantis can rotate their head 180 degrees and often move it from side to side to judge distance.  They are called praying mantis because of the positioning they hold with their arms when waiting for prey. 

 

Location: Long Island, New York

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Ghost Crab

Ghost crab found in intertidal zones in tropical and subtropical regions throughout the world are named for its pale body that often blends in with the sand. They are mostly active at night searching for plant or animal washed ashore and fixing their burrow. Their club shaped eye stock has 360 vision and can shrink back into the grooves. They cannot swim but are the fastest runner among all crustaceans with strong hairy legs that can achieve speeds of about 10 miles per hour.

 

Location: Cayo Costa State Park, Florida

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Ichneumon Wasp

There are more than 60,000 species of Ichneumon Wasp worldwide living in wooded areas. The two inch ovipositor of a female Ichneumon Wasp can be intimidating but they are harmless to humans.  In fact, their larvae are beneficial  because they feed off other crop damaging insect larvae.  Their name comes from Greek word meaning track and footprint, a reference to the females' ability to locate wood boring insect larvae inside trees to lay her eggs.  Watch video to see the process. 

 

Location: Long Island, New York

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Pigeon Tremex Horntail

Native to Eastern and Western North America, Pigeon Tremex Horntail are named for the horny spear-like plate on the last segments of the abdomen, which is an ovipositor for laying eggs.  The female seeks out dying beech, elm, maple, and oak trees and lays her eggs about  3/4" inside the tree trunk.  The larvae will feed on the wood and emerge as adults late summer/early fall.  However, their larvae are often preyed upon by Ichneumon Wasp.  Watch video to see process 

 

Location: Long Island, New York

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Gopher Tortoise

Gopher tortoises are dry-land turtles found in southeastern US.  Weighing in up to 15 pounds, Gopher Tortoises are like mini bulldozers. They are expert at digging burrows up to 40 feet long and 10 feet deep with their clawed front legs anchored by powerful elephant - like hind legs. They are considered a pillar to the ecosystem they inhabit because more then 350 species from owl, coyote, frog to mice etc. seek shelter in their dens to escape from heat, fire and predator.

 

Location: Egmont Key, Florida

Butterfly proboscis - Nature Treasure Hu

Zabulon Skipper

Zabulon Skipper are small butterfly with triangular wings.  They are common grass skippers found in moist, shady areas in forest and near streams from Wisconsin east to the East Coast, south to Georgia, Texas, and Panama. 

 

Location: Long Island, New York

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Eastern Box Turtle

Native to eastern part of United States, Eastern Box Turtle are mostly terrestrial and usually found near ponds, fields, meadows, and woodlands.  They are omnivorous and will eat almost anything, including berries, insects, roots, flowers, eggs, and amphibians.  They have few predators because of their ability to retreat into their body tightly inside the shell. Learn more 

 

Location: Long Island, New York

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Cabbage White Butterfly

Cabbage White Butterfly are common butterflies found across Europe, Asia, and North Africa.  They are often confused as moths because of their plain coloration.  They are very active and seen constantly flying.  As a caterpillar, they are thought as pests because they feed on leaves of green cabbage, red cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprouts, bok choy and kale.  

 

Location: Long Island, New York

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Orchard Spider

Orchard Spider are mostly found in orchards in US and Canada.  They built their webs in low shrubs or small trees, close to the ground and often seen positioned in a horizontal manner, hanging upside down at the center of it, waiting to capture its prey.

 

Location: Long Island, New York

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