Wild Florida Photo
Nature Photography by Paul Rebmann
Native to eastern Asia from Russia to Thailand and on the African continent, these clams are invasive in North America and now common throughout almost all of Florida.
Asian clams have spread throughout the southeast, and up the Mississippi and Ohio River valleys.
They are also present in much of southern California and Arizona, areas of the Pacific northwest and other scattered locations thoughout the United States.
Shells are yellow to brown, up to 5 cm (2 in.) long, and have ridges spaced wider apart than most other bivalves. The interior has a purplish tint.
The clam shells pictured here were along the rocky shore on the south side of Jackson Creek Island in Dale Hollow Lake, Tennessee. Live clams were in the shallow pass between the island and the mainland.
For more information on Florida's freshwater bivalves with full color images drawn by Susan Trammell, see Florida's Freshwater Mussels and Clams(pdf).
These flowers were blooming in the coastal scrub of T.H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula State Park, Thanksgiving week 2010 along with bush goldenrod.
This occasional wildflower of sand pine scrub and sandhills is the most widespread of all the Florida and North American species of Conradina. False rosemary can be found in Highlands, Polk and Hernado Counties and from Franklin County west through the panhandle. The range also includes some southern counties of Alabama and Mississippi.
The two-lipped flowers appear in the leaf axils and are bent upward, typically half the size of the similar largeflower false rosemary. The flower can be whitish, pinkish, lavender or purple, with the lower lip being 4-9mm (3/16 - 5/16in.) long. The opposite leaf pairs are clustered so that they may appear whorled. Leaves are grayish, narrowly linear with the lower surface covered with appressed hairs. False rosemary is an aromatic, woody, bushy-branched shrub growing to 50 cm (20 in.) tall.
Conradina canescens is the only species of the genus that is not listed as either threatened or endangered.
I started to tweak this image in Photoshop when I decided that I preferred the impressionistic style that was achieved by shading the flowers and background with a handheld translucent reflector. The photo shown is just as it was shot with the only processing being the default noise reduction and sharpening.
These jelly-like blobs are colonies of tiny animals, and can be found floating or attached to vegetation in freshwater ponds, lakes and streams throughout Florida.
The range was primarily east of the Mississippi, but this species is now present in much of North America.
The Bryozoans pictured here were in Dale Hollow Lake in Tennessee.
A colony of Pectinatella magnifica is gelatinous, firm, and slimy to the touch. Typical size is less than 30 cm (1 ft.) in diameter, but can sometimes grow to twice that. The inner mass is composed mostly of water and the surface appears to be covered with little rosettes. These colonies can be made up of millions of individuals, called zooids. While genetically identical, individual zooids have separate functions, such as feeding, strengthening or cleaning the colony. There is no blood system, and gaseous exchange occurs across the entire colonial surface.
Commonly called jelly-blobs, bryozoans feed on tiny aquatic plants and animals including diatoms, algae, bacteria and rotifers. This is accomplished using specialized feeding devices called lophophores. Lophophores consist of whorls with delicate ciliated tentacles borne on a ridge surrounding the mouths of individual zooids. When not feeding, the flower-like food-gathering structures are collapsed and completely withdrawn into the interior of the colony.
Other than clogging water intake pipes or drainage grates, bryozoans are not a nuisance, and can be very beneficial in cleaning the water that they live in.
This distinctive lily is frequently found in moist flatwoods - as was the lily pictured here at Tiger Bay State Forest - and savannas throughout much of Florida.
The range of this wildflower, also called Catesby's lily and southern red lily, extends through the southeastern coastal plain from Louisiana into Virginia.
The stalk of this erect herb grows to 60 cm (2 ft.) tall or more with alternate leaves. The leaves are sessile, lanceolate and reduced in size towards the top of the plant. The three petals are slightly wider than the sepals. Otherwise the six spreading tepals are similar in appearance, reddish orange with yellow bases containing purplish brown dots.
Pine lilies were one of the highlights of a field trip into Volusia County's Longleaf Pine Preserve, the subject of this Florida Native Plant Society blog post.
Lilium catesbaei is named after 18th century English naturalist Mark Catesby who travelled to the Carolinas and the Bahamas in the 1720's. Although he apparently never actually visited present day Florida, Catesby published Natural history of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Islands, a two volume collection of his paintings of the flora & fauna he found.
This photo seems to show why the palamedes swallowtail butterfly is the primary pollinator of the pine lily. Note the pollen on the butterfly's wingtips and where they are contacting the plant.
Papilio palamedes is a large dark swallowtail butterfly found in flatwoods and hammocks throughout most of Florida except the keys.
The range extends mainly throughout the southeastern coastal states from Texas to Virginia, less frequently into New Jersey and the lower midwest.
Host plants for this butterfly include members of the Laurel family, with the red bay a favorite. Palamedes swallowtails are the primary pollinator of the pine lily. These relationships demonstrate how the spreading laurel wilt disease may not only threaten the red bay and other members of the family Lauraceae, but also a butterfly and wildflower.
Visit the Wild Florida Photo palamedes swallowtail page for a detailed description of the butterfly and caterpillar and more photos of Papilio palamedes. and the Wild Florida Photo pine lily page for more photos and information about this wildflower, also called Catesby's lily.
Non-venomous snake coiled and acting defensive after being disturbed.
This was one of five snakes seen during a late October 2006 two day hike on the Florida Trail.
My companion on that hike along the Suwannee River from White Springs to the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Camp was Ray Jarrett.
We decided we should call it our "Snakes on a Trail" hike, as this was shortly after the movie with a similar name had been released.
Other snakes seen during that hike were a Florida banded water snake, a Florida green water snake, a timber rattlesnake and an Eastern hognose snake.
The gray rat snake is a common snake of many panhandle habitats extending eastward to between the Apalachicola River and the Suwannee River. Often called white oak snake, the range extends west to the Mississippi River and north into Wisconsin & Michigan.
From the Big Bend area of Florida to the Osceola National Forest - much of the Suwannee River drainage - P. spiloides easily hybridizes with the eastern, or yellow, rat snake, P. alleghaniensis to form what is sometimes called the Gulf Hammock Rat Snake. The snake pictured here was seen in this area, and could be a hybrid, although this one does show characteristics typical of the Gray Rat Snake.
The average adult size is from one to two meters (~ 1-2 yards) and both juveniles and adults are gray with dark blotches. The belly is sandy gray with dark square blotches. Scales are weakly keeled.
Habitats include pinelands, hardwood hammocks, cypress strands, swamps, marshes, prairies, farmland and residential areas.