There are actually two of these gardens. One is near the Extension Office Campus near their headquarters on Harborview Rd which is very well kept. The other is older and smaller and located in Punta Gorda at the end of Carmalita St where it intersects with and ends at Florida Ave. It looks somewhat abandoned but is still an interesting place to go looking for bugs. I stopped by the other day and it was busy with spiders, lovebugs and butterflies. I think the lovebugs – Plecia nearctica actually like this location because it is so convenient to I-75, one of their favorite locations for playing windshield suicide. Here though, they are seen feeding.
Because of the variety of foliage and flowers in these demonstration gardens, an abundance of pollinators are attracted so there are plenty of oppurtunities to shoot the butterflies, bees and wasps that are attracted. Here are a couple of butterflies. A sulphur and a skipper who found it irresistable.
Of course, the presence of the pollinators brings their predators so there are plenty of spiders spinning in the bushes. This Green Lynx Spider – Peucetia viridans is a hunter. It is capable of webspinning but prefers to track and attack without first capturing it’s prey in a web. In this shot it has seen me paying attention too it and has begun to retreat to the end of the leaf. It has attached, and is spinning, an anchor line to the leaf in case it has to jump in a hurry. You can also see that it has spiky legs for holding on to it’s prey.
I also found a couple of other spiders. I haven’t identified them completely but the one on the left is an agriope with it’s typical semaphore weave at the center of its web. These are called semaphores and some folks believe they are to warn birds away while I think it’s more likely to look like a flower of some sort and attract insects. The other is an orchard spider of some sort who has managed to capture a couple of lovebugs.