April 18 | Hillsborough River: Swarms of the whirligig beetle (Gyrinidae spp.), in chaotic dance, gather in the sunlight on the still, black water of the Hillsborough River. Under canopies of ancient cypress, they roam its pools and eddies for prey, converging as a voracious pack on an upended dragonfly, a stray tent caterpillar—the remainsContinue reading “Whirligig”

Blackwater Rivers

Blackwater Rivers | July 14: Blackwater seeps from the vast lowland swamps that cradle the headwaters of Florida rivers. At times turning them so dark they shimmer like a mirror reflecting the passage of herons in oak canopies, hogs stealing a drink on the shoreline, and hyacinth in summer bloom. The canonical blackwater river isContinue reading “Blackwater Rivers”

Sexual Cannibalism

In fishing spiders, sex is violent. Males are often attacked by females during sex, and if killed, they’re promptly eaten1. There is little a male spider can do in defense, as females often exceed 14-times their mass2 in an intimidating display of gender size-dimorphism. This is equivalent to your “better half” having about 2,600 poundsContinue reading “Sexual Cannibalism”

The Moonflowers of Florida

The name moonflower is used to describe two species of flowering plants, Ipomoea alba (tropical white morning glory) and Datura stramonium (Jimson weed, and my personal favorite, zombie’s cucumber). Of the two moonflowers, only I. alba is native to Florida rivers (FIG 1)1, forming great white curtains draped from the canopies of oak, willow andContinue reading “The Moonflowers of Florida”


The Chassahowitzka River flows west for nearly six miles from Ponce De Leon before dumping into a bay of impassable mangrove keys. Its springshed drains 190 square miles of Citrus and Hernando county, southeast to Brooksville and beyond. It is one of five first-magnitude spring complexes in west-central Florida—the Florida Springs Coast5. The main ventContinue reading “Chassahowitzka”