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Animal Biodiversity in the Food Forest

 
steward
Posts: 2801
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
1038
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I want to use this thread to document all of the different types of animals, mostly insects, that I find in my food forest!

Animals of all shapes and sizes make their way into the food forest. From large deer that seem to target my most prized plants, to the almost invisible wasps that help to keep other bugs in balance.

Having a large biodiversity of both animals and plants (I'm going to document plants in a separate thread) seems like it has balanced out my small food forest ecosystem, and has created a healthier and more vibrant and alive area that can produce tons of amazingly healthy food with very little work!
 
Steve Thorn
steward
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Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
1038
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These robberflies seem to be voracious hunters in the food forest. Suddenly the Japanese beetles are nowhere to be found!
20200809_170122.jpg
A robberfly hanging out with a snack
A robberfly hanging out with a snack
20210214_204450.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20210214_204450.jpg]
 
Steve Thorn
steward
Posts: 2801
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
1038
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The metallic colors on long legged flies are amazing, they come in so many different colors!
20200809_170236.jpg
Yellow long legged fly
Yellow long legged fly
 
Steve Thorn
steward
Posts: 2801
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
1038
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I took this picture in the food forest at the end of August last year after a storm.

This little guardian had come out to keep watch. He was so small he could sit on a thumbnail.

One of my favorite pictures!
20200829_142951.jpg
Tiny frog on a heart leaf
Tiny frog on a heart leaf
20210215_203403.jpg
Little frog guardian
Little frog guardian
 
Steve Thorn
steward
Posts: 2801
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
1038
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This is one of my favorite, and also one of the most common butterflies I see, an eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly (Papilio glaucus). It didn't sit there long, and started to fly away!
20200906_121121.jpg
eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly (Papilio glaucus)
eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly (Papilio glaucus)
20200906_121123.jpg
eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly (Papilio glaucus) taking flight
eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly (Papilio glaucus) taking flight
 
Steve Thorn
steward
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Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
1038
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This is most likely Anolis carolinensis, green anole or Carolina anole. Interesting fact, anole is pronounced like "a nully".

I had never seen these types of lizards in my area before. The diversity of animals and plants in the food forest is truly amazing! I found it last September at the height of plant growth as the season was about to start winding down.

The coolest part was that it changed colors while I was looking at it! It changed from a bright green to a light tan color.

I love finding all of these neat animals in the food forest, all playing their part to help keep the ecosystem in balance!
20200906_151539.jpg
Can you see me now?
Can you see me now?
20210211_160741.jpg
Anolis carolinensis, green anole or Carolina anole
Anolis carolinensis, green anole or Carolina anole
20200908_150121.jpg
Anolis carolinensis, green anole or Carolina anole closeup
Anolis carolinensis, green anole or Carolina anole closeup
 
Steve Thorn
steward
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Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
1038
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In a healthy ecosystem, nature balances out. These parasitoid wasps, probably Cotesia congregata, are balancing out the caterpillar population significantly.
20200912_142805.jpg
Parasitic wasps, probably Cotesia congregata, on a caterpillar
Parasitic wasps, probably Cotesia congregata, on a caterpillar
20200921_150836.jpg
So many wasp cocoons on this caterpillar
So many wasp cocoons on this caterpillar
 
Steve Thorn
steward
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Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
1038
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Guardian of the Leaf Galaxy

It looks like there was something eating this leaf.... and then there wasn't.

It seems like there was a praying mantis on almost every other plant in the food forest by the end of the season last year.
20210302_234701.jpg
Praying Mantis pest control
Praying Mantis pest control
 
Steve Thorn
steward
Posts: 2801
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
1038
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This viceroy butterfly, Limenitis archippus, is pretty common here.
20200919_174514.jpg
Viceroy butterfly, Limenitis archippus
Viceroy butterfly, Limenitis archippus
 
Steve Thorn
steward
Posts: 2801
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
1038
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Elderberry security detail is hard work!
20201003_182714.jpg
Frog on an elderberry
Frog on an elderberry
 
Steve Thorn
steward
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Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
1038
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The scolid wasps and tachinid flies really enjoy the goldenrod late in the growing season each year.
20201004_131508.jpg
Scolid wasp on goldenrod
Scolid wasp on goldenrod
20201004_131559.jpg
Tachinid fly on goldenrod
Tachinid fly on goldenrod
 
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Steve, I too enjoy seeing the anoles coming and going all around our yard & even our porches! Ever since I was a little girl anoles have fascinated me due to their being similar to chameleons. Here in central Alabama we also have beautiful colorful skinks & some big red headed ones! Love the pics you take! I can never seem to get close enough for a really good pic or I miss a great moment because I went out without the camera! duh! Maybe I need to sew a camera/phone pocket on all my shirts? Thanks for your web site and teaching us to keep our eyes open for the small wonders lurking in and around our "forests"!
 
master pollinator
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Steve Thorn wrote:Interesting fact, anole is pronounced like "a nully".



Not to cause a drift, but I wouldn't be too sure about that    Even scientists disagree about this one.  I don't know that there is a correct pronunciation.

Great thread and I love the pictures.
 
Steve Thorn
steward
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1038
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A small tree frog on a young peach seedling.
20201004_164919.jpg
Tree frog on peach seedling
Tree frog on peach seedling
 
gardener
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Steve Thorn wrote:A small tree frog on a young peach seedling.


Thanks, Steve, that picture made my day!

I have only seen a tree frog twice in my life (in Spain where my parents live). When my mother was a child you could even find them in parks in the city of Munich.
 
Steve Thorn
steward
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Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
1038
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This white throated sparrow, Zonotrichia albicollis, was my gardening buddy. It sat just a few yards (meters) away for a pretty long time while I was working in the garden a few months ago.

20210119_200627.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20210119_200627.jpg]
 
Steve Thorn
steward
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1038
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This bluebird couple look like they are social distancing.
20210228_092247.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20210228_092247.jpg]
 
Steve Thorn
steward
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Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
1038
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This frog jumped in the water when I walked by and was keeping an eye on me.
20210303_170334.jpg
Frog underwater
Frog underwater
 
Steve Thorn
steward
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Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
1038
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Night time pollination from a moth!
20210325_200221.jpg
Pollinating moth
Pollinating moth
 
Steve Thorn
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Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
1038
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I found my first salamander near the food forest. I was removing a big wad of wet leaves in one of the small ditches and found this little guy hiding among the debris.

I think it's a southern dusky salamander (Desmognathus auriculatus).

Was really excited to see this little one here.
20210326_155446.jpg
southern dusky salamander (Desmognathus auriculatus)
southern dusky salamander (Desmognathus auriculatus)
20210326_155442.jpg
Salamander in wet leaves
Salamander in wet leaves
 
Steve Thorn
steward
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Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
1038
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I was excited to find my first turtle in the food forest! Lots of firsts for new animals in the food forest already this year. This will be the second year of my food forest, and it seems that the animal diversity is increasing with equal intensity as the plant diversity.

This little one was hiding in their shell, only a few inches long, probably a mud turtle.
20210410_115709.jpg
Mud turtle in the food forest
Mud turtle in the food forest
 
Steve Thorn
steward
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Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
1038
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This Painted Skimmer, Libellula semifasciata, has excellent camouflage, and is enjoying the many shallow and small ponds. It is probably one of the reasons that I have almost zero mosquitos on my property anymore, and we are in a hot and humid mosquito prone climate. I used to get eaten up whenever I went outside, now I don't even notice it. The diversity of dragonflies alone is becoming amazing!
20210410_155227.jpg
Painted Skimmer, Libellula semifasciata
Painted Skimmer, Libellula semifasciata
 
Steve Thorn
steward
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Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
1038
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I'm pretty sure these guys are a species of Brachymeria parasitic wasp that prey on "pests". They have been covering my peach trees the last few weeks. Hopefully they will find the Plum curculio tasty. I've seen them on the plum trees also.

The cherries also have a similar wasp, but probably a different species, on them, but it is longer and thinner. They are also a little more evasive of the camara!

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brachymeria
20210415_224316.jpg
Brachymeria parasitic wasp
Brachymeria parasitic wasp
20210411_173314.jpg
Brachymeria parasitic wasp
20210411_173311.jpg
Brachymeria parasitic wasp
 
Steve Thorn
steward
Posts: 2801
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
1038
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Ever wonder where ladybugs come from?
20210423_132922.jpg
Ladybug pupa
Ladybug pupa
20210423_132931.jpg
New ladybug
New ladybug
 
Steve Thorn
steward
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Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
1038
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A spined soldier bug, Podisus maculiventris, with its prey.
20210602_073237.jpg
Spined soldier bug
Spined soldier bug
 
Steve Thorn
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1038
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That's one green treefrog!
20210609_072250.jpg
green treefrog!
green treefrog!
 
You ought to ventilate your mind and let the cobwebs out of it. Use this cup to catch the tiny ads:
Building a Better World in your Backyard by Paul Wheaton and Shawn Klassen-Koop
https://permies.com/w/better-world
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