Bioluminescent Click Beetle

dsc_0282These click beetles have two luminescent spots located on the body behind their eyes. Unlike lightning bugs, these beetles do not flash, but remain constantly glowing.  The light intensity increases as potential predators draw near.dsc_0276dsc_0254I first discovered these beetles upon leaving work after a late evening in lab.  I noticed pairs of dots glowing at me from the mangrove trees and went in for a closer look.  I couldn’t quite make out the critter in the darkness, but after some quick online searches I realized that I had stumbled upon a group of bioluminescent click beetles!dsc_0257Available here :)

Anhinga, please.

Since becoming aware of their existence, anhingas have quickly shot straight to the top of my “Favorite Birds” list.

Anhingas are a type of water bird found in the warmer areas of the Americas. Unlike many aquatic birds, such as ducks, anhingas do not have waterproof feathers – This enables them to dive and swim easily when hunting for fish. Consequently, anhingas become somewhat waterlogged after going for a dip and must take the time to dry their wings before they attempt to fly anywhere.

Fortunately, these birds have devised a fairly easy and effective technique to speed up the water evaporation process.  They simply plant their feet, spread their wings and allow the hot Florida sun to do the work for them.

Anhingas are definitely one of the major highlights whenever we plan a day trip to the Everglades – I could sit and watch these guys for hours.  Their awkward movements on land contrasted with their graceful swimming abilities in the water make their behavior one of the ultimate bird-watching experiences.

I’ve been working on an embroidery ode to the anhinga for quite a while – I’m glad I was patient with this one, because I really think the result is spectacular:

I am rarely this infatuated with one of my own pieces, but I truly believe I successfully captured the quirky and lovable attributes of the anhinga in this work.

Florida Wildlife Collection

“Florida is America’s basement.  It’s wet, it’s filled with mold, strange insects, alligators …”  Robert California

This is my favorite quote from last week’s episode of The Office – Probably because it’s so true.

Yes, the tropical heat and humidity can be just completely unbearable at times – But it is this climate that allows Florida to house some of the coolest wildlife in America.  I feel like every day I come across a new and interesting creature whose identity I need to discover.  I’ve come face-to-face with 4-foot iguanas, even bigger alligators, prehistoric-looking knight anoles and tiny, curious geckos.  The aquatic and avian life here is also pretty amazing – I spotted a juvenile brown pelican floating in the pond outside my lab window just this past week!

A few months ago, the local mangroves inspired me to stitch this tropical embroidery piece.  I have since decided to expand on this idea and start the Florida Wildlife Collection.

I aim to create an embroidery art line highlighting Florida flora and fauna – I already have my second piece completed and a third in progress – Check it out!

The Mosquito: (listed in the shop)

The Little Blue Heron: (in progress)

How does nature inspire you?