Readers’ wildlife photos

June 22, 2021 • 8:00 am

Thanks to several readers for sending in photos. I still can always use others, though, so keep this site in mind.

Today’s photos come from Andrew Furness, whose IDs and captions are indented. Click on his photos to enlarge them.

All these photos were taken in the last 6-months in South Florida. They showcase some of the wildlife of the region, including species introduced from elsewhere in the world and now firmly established. If readers are interested, I have a Flickr account where more of my photos can be seen.

A brown pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) stretches while waiting for an easy meal on a fishing pier.

A male green iguana (Iguana iguana) bobs his head as a warning.

A pike killifish (Belonesox belizanus) lurks just below the water surface. This species, native to Central America, was introduced into Miami-Dade County in 1957 and is now established in South Florida’s waterways. It is a livebearer in the family Poeciliidae, the same family that includes guppies, mosquitofish, mollies, and swordtails. Remarkably, this single species has evolved a pike body shape and specializes in eating other fish.

Closeup of the head of the pike killifish (Belonesox belizanus) revealing large jaws and needle-like teeth.

A common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina) with several leeches just above the head.

Brown water snake (Nerodia taxispilota). The snake was stuck in the plastic erosion-control netting. After taking a few photos I carefully cut the netting and freed the snake.

Muscovy duck (Cairina moschata) mother and her chicks. These ducks are a very common in the greater Miami area.

Black ctenosaur (Ctenosaura similis), a large lizard in the family Iguanidae introduced to Florida from Central America.

A male peacock (Pavo cristatus) spreads and waves his impressive plumage.

A male sailfin molly (Poecilia latipinna) showing an impressive sail-like dorsal fin.

Florida softshell turtle (Apalone ferox) making a foray onto land.

Close-up portrait of Florida softshell turtle (Apalone ferox).

American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) surfacing amongst the water lilies.

American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) in a drying pool. The alligator, around 5 foot in length, appeared to be attempting to capture and eat schools of small poeciliid fishes swimming near the surface in the muddy oxygen-deprived water.

Southern water snakes (Nerodia fasciata) gathered at high density in the shallow waters to hunt fish.

11 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. I despise that damn erosion control crap! It is essentially no different that littering. Such hateful disgusting stuff! I’d hate to think of how many small animals die by getting ensnared by such vile rubbish. Good for you, rescuing the little dude! And great photos! I especially like the A. ferox, first looking skeptically askance at you and the second looking like an ashamed and embarrassed Ziggy. The ctenosaur is quite lovely as well. I’m all for increased reptile representation here in the wildlife photos.

  2. The kindness of strangers, freeing a trapped water snake. The killfish looks like one mean mo-fo. I’ll keep my fingers out of the fish tank, thank you.

    1. I was once out jogging in south Florida and disturb a basilisk lizard (NOT native) which ran alongside me, on its hind legs, for about twenty yards. Pretty cool, but quite a surprise.

  3. Great photos! I think I’d rather see the photos then see some of these critters in the flesh.
    Thanks for sharing!

  4. Wonderful pictures Andrew, thanks. South Florida looks like a biologist’s paradise, especially if you like exotic and charismatic species!

  5. Does anyone else have the softshell turtle remind them of Moscow Mitch?
    [I know that’s unkind to the poor turtle, but … ]

Leave a Reply