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MarshBunny Notes
The St. Johns River The Intracoastal and Beyond

It would take more than one page to show all the bugs on the river. There are bugs in the air, in the water, in the trees and bushes, on the ground...you name a place, there will be a bug there.



Judy hates spiders more than anything, and has been known to call me bad names for pulling the boat into bushes full of them.

Like most things, there is a pretty side to spiders. Not only do they participate in the food chain, but their webs can be things of great beauty.

Early in the morning you can see fields full of webs covered with dewdrops. They look like diamond necklaces as the dewdrops sparkle in the morning sunlight!

LeechLeeches gross me out! This one clung to the paddle as we were making our way through the pipeline. Eyuck!

There are plenty of bugs in the water and some of them, like 'Gator Fleas, have a nasty bite. They are called 'Gator Fleas because they are small but can bite (supposedly) right through a 'gators hide. Having been bit twice, I have no problem believing it. They will find a tender spot (like between your fingers or toes) and latch on. Imagine a white-hot needle being driven an inch into your flesh. That comes close.

Ugly bug!This big guy was crawling up the side of one of the trees at the cabbage palms at the end of the Sweetwater canal. He had to be 4" long - not counting the antennas.

Cabbage PalmsI had no idea what kind of bug this was, but a couple of readers sent info on it. One said "this beetle is a long-horned borer. The insect family is Cerambycidae".

Another reader sent this link which has some great photos and information. This page says it is a Cottonwood Borer (Plectrodera scalator).

So now we know. (Thanks to Sally & Jen for the info!)


Gentler bugs, like these caterpillars, are rough on vegetation but eventually turn into lovely (non biting) butterflies.



I'm not sure about this one - he's very pretty but looks like he could be mean!


Lovebugs - Twice a year we get invasions of lovebugs. These are gentle harmless little bugs that gather in large groups and fly about erratically while...well, you can figure it out.

They don't bite, but can make a mess on the bumper and windshield of your car. It is possible to hit swarms of them so thick that they can clog your radiator and cause your car to overheat.

Hornet nestWasps - We often see muddaubbers on the edge of the water gathering mud, and recently I got stung twice at the weather station, but we don't usually see wasp nests hanging in the trees.

A recent trip down the pipeline was different. We pulled up in one spot to take a bathroom break and spotted a moderately large nest hanging on a twig. We took care not to disturb them and continued on our way. Soon Judy spotted an even larger next hanging on a branch right on the edge of the narrow trail. (Sorry the photo isn't clearer, but I don't care to mess with these meanies!)

Since the pipeline is much used by airboats, the trail is narrow, and the nest is right on the edge, we don't expect it will be very long before a passing airboat knocks this nest down. Hopefully they will keep speeding down the trail and not get stung!


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