Blog

Resurrection Fern

Resurrection Fern – Pleopeltis polypodioides

The Plant that Rises from the Dead.

The Resurrection Fern, also known as. the Miracle fern lives on branches and trunks of trees. Live Oaks and Cypress Trees are their favorite hosts. They have been seen growing on rocks and on the sides of buildings. Resurrection Ferns are air ferns that attach themselves to a host plant or rock and will get moisture and food from the air and rain. They will also gather nutrients that collect on the outer part of their host. The fern does not steal any nutrients from its host and therefore will not harm the host.

Have you seen ferns that are curled up, brown, and appear to be dead? Simply add water and they miraculously uncurl and resurrect to a live, healthy, green fern.

Resurrection Ferns can lose up to 97% of their water content and still come back to life when water returns. In contrast, most plants can only lose 10% of their water content before their cells collapse and they die. Like all ferns, Resurrection Ferns reproduce from spores.

These ferns can be found from Florida to as far north as New York and as far west as Texas. They are so fascinating that in the late ’90s, NASA sent a Resurrection Fern on the space shuttle Discovery to watch it miraculously come to life in zero gravity.

#ImagineOurFlorida #IOF #ResurrectionFern #Fern

Read more

Halloween Pennant Dragonfly

The Halloween Pennant Dragonfly (Celithemis eponina)—-
This not-so-spooky dragonfly gets its name from it’s orange and black coloring. Yellow markings can be found on females and juvenile males. As males mature their coloring starts to turn a more vibrant color of orange. This is the largest species of pennant dragonfly in eastern North America. They can commonly be found around lakes, streams, or other wetland areas and are most active in the morning.

Photo Credit: Aymee Laurain
#ImagineOurFlorida #IOF #dragonfly #Halloween

Read more

Gumbo Limbo Tree

Native to South Florida, the Gumbo Limbo tree, Bursera simaruba, is a striking addition to landscapes south of Tampa Bay. Also known as the West Indian Birch or the Turpentine Tree, Gumbo Limbo Trees quickly grow to 50-60′ tall with a round canopy. They are extremely wind tolerant and are recommended as a hurricane-resistant species. Gumbo Limbo trees can be grown simply by sticking sprouts in the dirt.

Gumbo Limbo trees prefer sun but quickly adapt to shady, moist, dry, and slightly salty habitats. They are easily recognized by their reddish-brown bark which peels to reveal a beautiful green wood beneath. Vireos and Mocking birds dine on their deep red fruits during summer and fall. Gumbo Limbo trees are naturally found in coastal hammocks, tidewater areas, and mixed forests.

#ImagineOurFlorida #IOF #trees #GumboLimbo

Read more

Fiddler Crabs

Fiddler Crabs, genus Uca, live in the tidal sands of mangroves and salt marshes. They are experts at sensing the ebb and flow of the tide because their survival depends on it. Although they have gills, Fiddler crabs can drown if there is too much water. At high tide, they retreat to their 12″ burrows in the sand and seal the burrow with mud or sand.

During low tide, colonies of Fiddler Crabs get down to business doing their part for the ecosystem when they come out in the hundreds to work and eat. To build and maintain their burrows, they use their small claws to move sand to their mouths where they strain and extract nutrients. Clean sand pellets are spat out. Although their diet consists of algae and decomposed matter, Fiddler Crabs are tasty meals for shorebirds, fish, and land mammals such as raccoons and foxes.

Female crabs incubate eggs for 2 weeks. During high tide, the female will release the larvae who will float away. In a few weeks, the surviving young crabs will drift back to shore and join a Fiddler Crab colony.

Male Fiddler Crabs have one oversized claw that looks like a fiddle. While it is sometimes used to defend against other male crabs, the large claw is primarily used in courting rituals. To woo his desired female, the male Fiddler crab will dance while waving his giant claw until the lady agrees to join him in his burrow.

#ImagineOurFlorida #IOF #fiddlercrab

Read more

J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge

J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge -Sanibel Island

Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling convinced President Harry Truman to protect environmentally valuable land on Sanibel Island from developers. In 1945 President Truman signed an Executive Order, and J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge was created. Today, it is part of the largest undeveloped mangrove ecosystem in the United States.

J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge offers refuge to countless animals, including those who are threatened or endangered. There are over 245 species of birds in its 6400 acres of mangrove forests, open waters, tropical hardwood hammock, seagrass beds, freshwater marsh, and Mudflats.

Federally and State listed species seek haven at Ding Daring Wildlife Refuge. Piping Plovers, Black Skimmers, Roseate Spoonbills, Burrowing Owls, West Indian Manatees, Sanibel Island Rice Rats, and Loggerhead Sea Turtles make their homes here. Aboriginal prickly-apple and Barbed wire cacti are protected from development within the refuge. Visitors from all over the world travel to Sanibel to catch a glimpse of and photograph The Big 5: the American White Pelican, Mangrove Cuckoo, Reddish Egret, Roseate Spoonbill, and the Yellow-crowned Night-Heron.

Calusa Indians once made their home in the hardwood hammock among Gumbo Limbo trees, Strangler Figs, and Sea Grape trees. Take a short walk down the Shellmound Trail and discover remnants of shells which along with other waste, grew into mounds. The change in soil chemistry and height created a subtropical maritime hammock.

The 4-mile wildlife drive offers visitors the opportunity to drive, bike, or hike along the paved road. There are plenty of spaces to park and get out of your car for wildlife viewing. Four walking trails: the Indigo Trail, the Wildlife Education Boardwalk, Shellmound Trail, and Wulfert Keys Trail are accessible from the wildlife drive. A 90 minute guided tour aboard a tram is available. Walk or bike the Bailey tract to enjoy freshwater plants and wildlife. Launch your canoe, kayak, or boat or take a guided canoe, kayak or paddleboard tour at one of the designated sites.

For more information, times and to plan your trip, click here: https://www.fws.gov/refuge/JN_Ding_Darling/

#ImagineOurFlorida #IOF #JNDingDarlingWildlifePreserve

Read more

Double-crested Cormorant

Double-crested Cormorant – The Sea Raven —

Cormorant is derived from the Latin word corvus which means raven and marinus which means sea.

Cormorants, Phalacrocorax auritus, are brownish-black with black webbed feet and legs and a reddish-orange face and beak. You will often find them floating low in the water or with their wings outstretched along the shores of coastal areas, rivers, swamps, and lakes. Because their oil glands do not waterproof their rings, cormorants will find a sunny spot to dry their wings.

Cormorants may feed alone or in flocks. Finding their favorite foods, fish and invertebrates like shrimp and crabs, may require them to dive up to 60 feet and remain submerged for more than a minute. Cormorants are not picky eaters and their diets vary by season. They enjoy treats such as eels, plants, frogs, and an occasional snake.

Courtship is a big deal for Sea Ravens. A Male will use his wings to splash, swim in zig-zag patterns, and dive for vegetation to present to a female. He will crouch at his chosen nest site and call out to his desired female while vibrating his wings. Nesting usually takes place in a large colony which is sometimes shared with other wading birds. Using twigs, sticks, seaweed, and grass collected mostly by the male, the female constructs most of the nest in a tree or on the ground near the water. Cormorants incubate their 3-4 eggs with their webbed feet. Both the male and female will feed the chicks until they are about 10 weeks old and ready to leave the nest.

Before 1966 populations significantly decreased from hunting and pesticides such as DDT. Today, cormorants are once again widespread and abundant. This heartwarming story of the Sea Ravens who not only survived persecution from humans but who are now thriving can be repeated with today’s endangered and threatened animals. It’s up to us to teach folks of all ages to #connect#respect, and #coexist with our wildlife and within our shared ecosystems.

#ImagineOurFlorida #IOF #Cormorant #SeaRaven

Read more

White-tailed Deer

White-tailed Deer Odocoileus virginianus

White-tailed deer are found throughout Florida. They are most often seen at dawn, dusk, or on overcast days near the edge of a forest where they browse vegetation and can quickly run back into the forest to avoid a predator. Some of their favorite foods include twigs, leaves, acorns, mushrooms, and fruit. Deer are herbivores and enjoy many of Florida’s native plants including buttonbush, tupelo trees, beautyberry, and persimmons.

In northern Florida, male deer can reach weights of 190 pounds although the average weight in Florida is 115 pounds. The average weight for a female is 90 pounds. White-tailed deer in Florida are smaller than their northern relatives because their bodies have adapted to the steamy temperatures. Their smaller bodies allow deer to use less energy to regulate their body heat. Adults are 55-80″ tall.

Male deer, known as bucks, grow antlers to establish dominance and attract does. Their antlers begin growing in the spring and will grow a velvet-like tissue. The tissue will dry up and the buck will scrape it off by rubbing his antlers against a tree. The smooth, hard antlers are then ready to be used to fight if another male is pursuing the buck’s desired doe. Antlers are shed in late winter or early spring. They will regrow within 6 – 8 weeks which is perfectly timed to the beginning of the breeding season.

Deer breed from September to March. Gestation lasts approximately 200 days and the doe will give birth to 1-3 fawns. Fawns will start foraging with their mother at 3-4 weeks and are weaned at 2-3 months old. They will set out on their own when they are 6-18 months old

White-tailed deer get their name from the white on the underside of their tail. To alert other deer of possible danger, white-tailed deer will raise and wag their tails like a flag. You may also see them stomp a foot and hear them snort. Their predators are panthers, bobcats, coyotes, dogs, and humans.

Fun Fact: Fawns are born with no scent. To keep her fawn safe from predators, the doe will hide her fawn in tall vegetation. She will visit the fawn several times a day to nurse but will leave quickly so her scent does not attract predators. If you find a fawn hidden among the brush, leave it alone and know that mom will soon return. #NatureKnowsBest!

Photo Credit: Andy Waldo and Dan Kon
#ConnectRespectCoexist #WhiteTailedDeer #ImagineOurFlorida #IOF

Read more

Cocoplums

Cocoplums are a delicious native fruit. It’s similar in flavor to a lychee but with the fibrous texture of a plum. Their ideal growth zone is in zone 10, they can tolerate moderate amounts of salt, are highly tolerant of wind, and require very little care. This plant makes for a beautiful addition to gardens while providing a tasty snack.
#ImagineOurFlorida #IOF #backyardgarden #garden

Read more
0

Your Cart

%d bloggers like this: