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Beneficial Fauna
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Or Ladybird Beetle,
common name for any of the numerous species of brightly colored beetles, of the family Coccinellidae, found in temperate and tropical regions throughout the world. The beetle is less than 1.2 cm (less than 0.5 in) in maximum length. It has a nearly hemispherical body, rounded above and flat below, a small head, and short legs. Ladybird beetles are often red or orange above, spotted with black, white, or yellow. Some species are black, with or without spots. The larvae are also brilliantly colored, often blue, with stripes of orange or black.
All the ladybird beetles, with the exception of the members of one vegetation-eating genus, are carnivorous.
The leaf eating Ladybug usually does not attack Hibiscus.
It commonly attacks plants of the solanaceae family. (Tomato & Potato)

Leaf Eating

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Note: two things to observe with this beetle, many more spots than the beneficial ladybug & the leaf damage close by.

In both the adult and larval stages the carnivorous Ladybug  feed on insects harmful to plants, such as Aphids  and Scale insects  Because of the help ladybird beetles render farmers in destroying agricultural pests, the beetles were popularly regarded in the Middle Ages as instruments of benevolent intervention by the Virgin Mary, whence the common name ladybird.
A common North American species of ladybird beetle, Coccinella novemnotata, is orange above, spotted with black. Adults of Adalia bipunctata often hibernate in houses during winter. This beetle is orange above, with a single large black spot on each elytron (protective outer wing). Hippodamia convergens is a western American species, the adults of which commonly swarm in large numbers on mountain peaks. These swarms are collected by western agricultural firms and are distributed to farmers for aphid control. Rodolia cardinalis, an Australian species, has been imported into California to fight the cottony-cushion scale insect, which attacks citrus trees.

 Ladybug Adults
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Adult Ladybugs consuming Aphids
On Hibiscus New Growth

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Note: White Specks are the discarded Outer Skins (Exoskeletons) of the developing Aphids.

Ladybug Juvenile (Larvae)

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 Ladybug Larvae consuming Aphids
on Hibiscus Flower Buds

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Praying Mantis

Also Mantis,
common name for any long, slender, winged insect of the order Mantodea, common in warm temperate and tropical regions throughout the world. The insects pass through an incomplete metamorphosis. Mantids are known for sitting back on their rear appendages and holding their stout front pair of appendages together in an attitude reminiscent of prayer. Actually, the green and brown insects are waiting for insects that constitute their food. Mantids are the only insects that can turn their heads from side to side. Their front legs are equipped with sharp spines that enable the insects to grasp and hold their prey. The erroneous belief that the characteristic position of mantids waiting for prey has a religious significance has been the basis of many superstitious tales about them.
The common European mantis is Mantis religiosa, which reaches a maximum length of about 6.3 cm (about 2.5 in). This species and Paratenodera sinensis were introduced into the U.S. to help control pest insects. They are now widespread in the northeastern part of the U.S. The common mantis of the southern U.S. is a native species, Stagmonantis carolina, about 7.6 cm (about 3 in) long, which is known in the South as rearhorse or mule killer.

 Adult Praying Mantis Frightening Appearance
But Efficient Insect Hunters

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Note: Praying Mantis will alter their body colouring to match their surroundings.
Not often seen in flight, they can be very motile & will fly from plant to plant in search of prey.



common name for about 34,000 species of arthropod (q.v.) animals constituting the order Araneae in the class Arachnida, which also includes scorpions, mites, and ticks. Spiders have eight walking legs, anterior appendages bearing fangs and poison glands, and specialized reproductive organs on the second appendages of the male; they commonly make extensive use of silk that they spin. Like other arachnid species, spiders are terrestrial, although a few have adapted to freshwater life by trapping air bubbles underwater and carrying the bubbles with them. Spiders are numerous and occur worldwide. Although most are less than 1 cm (less than 0.4 in) long, the largest, Theraphosa leblondi of Guyana, has a body length of about 9 cm (about 3.6 in), and spider leg spans can be much greater.
The body structure of a spider is similar to that of other arachnids in being divided into an anterior cephalothorax, or prosoma, and a posterior abdomen, or opisthosoma. The two parts are separated by a narrow stalk, or pedicel, which gives the animal a flexibility that facilitates its use of silk. The cephalothorax ordinarily bears four pairs of simple eyes that tend to be larger in hunting spiders and smaller in spinners of elaborate webs. Each of the first pair of appendages, or chelicerae, bears a fang with an opening from a poison gland at the tip. The next two appendages are pedipalps, rather leg like but generally modified into a kind of feeler. In the male the pedipalp bears a peculiar copulatory apparatus called a palpal organ. Also on the cephalothorax are four pairs of walking legs. On the abdomen are located modified appendages, the spinnerets, used in secreting silk. Respiratory openings on the abdomen lead to the so-called book lungs (named for their layered structure) or a system of tubes (tracheae) for carrying air, or both.
The digestive system of spiders is adapted exclusively to taking up liquid food, because the animals generally digest their prey outside the body and then suck the fluid. The fairly complex brain is larger or smaller in certain parts, depending on whether the animal locates prey mainly by touch or vision.

Spiders are generally carnivorous and feed only on living prey. They can crush it with processes on the pedipalps, and the chelicerae almost always have glands that can inject a venom. The bite of some large spiders can be painful, but most species are too small to break human skin, and only a few are dangerous to humans. The latter are mainly the black widow and its close relatives, which are non aggressive and bite humans only in defense. Their painful bite is followed by faintness, difficulty in breathing, and other symptoms; although the bite is seldom fatal, especially if it is inflicted on healthy adults, medical attention for it should be sought at once.
Spider silk is a fibrous protein that is secreted as a fluid and forms a polymer, on being stretched, that is much stronger than steel and further resists breakage by its elasticity. A single spider can spin several kinds of silk. Although some other invertebrates also spin silk, spiders put this ability to the most spectacular variety of uses. For example, they form drag lines that help them to find their way about and to catch themselves if they fall. Small and, especially, young spiders spin a "parachute" thread that enables them to be carried by the wind, sometimes for hundreds of kilometers. The males use silk in transferring sperm to the palpal organ, and the females make cocoons with it. Silk is also used to make nests and other chambers and to line burrows. The most familiar and amazing use of silk by many species, however, is in making insect traps called spider webs. Once prey is caught in such a web, the spider may wrap it in more silk.
The diverse webs spun by spiders provide a remarkable example of the evolution of instinctive behavior. A spider does not have to learn how to make a web, although the spinning itself can be adapted to unique circumstances, including the webs spun by spiders under zero gravitation in spacecraft. The simplest webs are irregular and generally laid out along the ground. More advanced webs, particularly of orb-weaver spiders, are highly intricate, raised above the ground, and oriented to intercept the paths of flying insects. The spinning itself is a complex process involving the placement and then removal of scaffolding spirals and a combination of sticky and non sticky strands. In some cases a number of spiders will form a kind of communal web, but spiders in general are not social. Such spiders rely largely on the sense of touch.

Besides the web spinners, many spiders hunt for their food or lie in wait for it. Hunters tend to rely on vision if they feed during the daytime, or on touch if they feed at night. Jumping spiders may lurk in ambush for their prey, and a number of them are well camouflaged on flowers by color or body structure or both.

Spiders have separate sexes, and the eggs have to be fertilized. The genital openings of both male and female are located on the abdomen. The male's copulatory organs, however, are complicated structures located on his pedipalps. He spins a little web and deposits sperm in it, then moves the sperm to the palpal organ. After sperm are transferred to the female, they can be stored in her body for an extended period.
Courtship behavior is often complicated. Males may use drag lines to detect and recognize mates, or they may signal their approach by plucking on the female's web. In spiders with well-developed eyes, complex mating displays have evolved that are associated with bright color patterns. Often the male must avoid having the female treat it as food; even in species where this is common, however, the male often escapes.
Male spiders are sometimes much smaller than the females. The dwarfing of males is pronounced when the females tend to remain in one place. Males mature earlier, and the sooner the male gets to a female the more apt he is to reproduce.
Spider eggs are protected in cocoons. The female may guard the cocoons or carry them about. In some spiders the hatchlings remain with the mother for an extended period and may be carried on its body.

As predators on insects and other small animals, spiders are generally highly beneficial to humans, although some feed on important plant pollinators such as bees. They also serve as food for other animals, most notably for certain wasps that paralyze the spiders and lay eggs to hatch on the paralyzed body. Efforts to utilize spider silk for cloth have not been successful economically, but the silk has been used for the cross hairs of optical instruments. Although spiders have occupied an honored place in various mythologies, their widespread unsavory reputation in modern times probably results from their tendency to lurk in dark places, their often grotesque appearance, and a gross exaggeration of their toxicity.

About 105 families of spiders are known, plus about 10 that are extinct. Two suborders are widely but not universally recognized. The suborder Mesothelae contains a few primitive, burrowing forms. The suborder Opisthothelae contains the infra order Mygalomorphae, which consists of the "straight-jawed" forms, usually large, such as the trap-door spiders and the ones called tarantula  in the U.S., and the infra order Araneomorphae, the members of which have the chelicerae somewhat modified and more efficient; it contains the more common and conspicuous forms, such as orb weavers, wolf spiders, and jumping spiders. The cribellate araneomorphs have a specialized organ, the cribellum, that helps to produce silk.

Jumping Spider Catches Fly.....................Spider & Web


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Common name for any insect of the super-families Vespoidea and Sphecoidea, belonging to the order Hymenoptera. The name is also applied to other groups of Hymenoptera, many of which are parasitic, such as chalcids and ichneumons.

Many different varieties of vespoid and sphecoid wasps exist, with widely varying habits and structural characteristics. They may be divided into the social wasps and the solitary wasps. Among the former are the hornets, the yellow jackets, and the large, mahogany-colored wasps known as Polistes, the paper wasps; they live in communities consisting of males, females, and sterile workers. The solitary wasps, including the mud daubers, potter wasps, and digger wasps, produce no workers and build individual nests.
Wasps vary greatly in size. Some of the parasitic wasps are so small that several may develop in a small insect egg. Other species attain a body length of about 5 cm (about 2 in). The female and worker wasps have a sting, which is used to attack their prey or to protect them against molesters. Wasp venom contains histamine and a factor that dissolves red blood cells. A wasp sting can be fatal to a sensitive person. Desensitization can be accomplished by injections of antigen extracts.
Although adult wasps are largely carnivorous, some also eat vegetable matter, such as overripe fruit. As a rule, young wasps are fed entirely on other insects or insect remains. Several species have economic importance, because they are among the pollinators of commercial crops, and because some feed on such destructive caterpillars as the corn-ear worm and army worm. A species that is native to Africa is known to prey on the eggs of the rhinoceros beetle, an insect that causes immense damage in coconut-growing regions. Many parasitic varieties, which lay their eggs in the body or egg of the host, are useful in the control of some injurious pests such as aphids, codling moths, and boll worms.
Nesting Habits.
Social wasps build papery nests of masticated fibers. The nests of yellow jackets and hornets are composed of several layers of cells enclosed in a globular outer covering. Several thousand yellow jackets may exist in one community. Polistes build open, flat nests of a single comb. The nest is begun by the queen wasp, which alone survives the winter. The first eggs develop into workers, which continue the nest building and largely take over the care of the young. During a season a Polistes nest may become up to 20 cm (8 in) in diameter and house several hundred wasps.
The nesting habits of the solitary wasps are extremely diverse. The potter wasps build vase like cells of clay attached to the twig of a tree. The mud daubers construct mud cells in sheltered places; the digger wasps burrow into the soil and sometimes in decaying wood. Solitary wasps generally provide the cells with spiders, caterpillars, or flies stung through the nerve center and thus rendered helpless. In this fashion, the young insects are provided with fresh food. The digger wasp tamps down the earth with pebbles to fill the mouth of its burrow.

Adult Wasps & their Nests
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Adult Wasp
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Earth Worms
Name given to certain worms in the class Oligochaeta, phylum Annelida. The earthworm has a cylindrically shaped, segmented body that tapers off at both ends. Minute bristles called setae project from the body. Although a difference in shading exists between the upper and under surfaces and between different parts of the body, earthworms in general are uniform in color, usually pale red, but varying from dull pink to dirty brown. Many species grow to a length of only a few centimeters, but some tropical species attain a length of up to 3.3 m (11 ft).
Earthworms play an important role in soil ecology. By being continually loosened, stirred up, and aerated by the action of earthworms, soil is made more fertile. Earthworms also form a source of food for many animals, constituting the principal food of moles and shrews.

Earthworms must live in moist soil containing organic matter. They usually live in the upper layers of the soil, but in winter they penetrate more deeply to escape frost. During unusually hot weather they also penetrate downward to avoid dehydration. Earthworms shun daylight but frequently come to the surface of the soil at night to feed and to throw off their castings. In the daytime they appear upon the surface of the soil only under unusual conditions, such as the flooding of their burrows by excessive rainfall.
Earthworms are capable of burrowing with considerable speed, especially in loose soil; the bristles along the sides of the body are of great assistance in their movements. In burrowing, they swallow large quantities of earth that often contain considerable amounts of vegetable remains. They are able to digest the nutritive matter of the soil, depositing or casting out the remains on the surface of the earth or in their burrows.

The muscular system of the earthworm consists of an outer series of circular or transverse muscle fibers that girdle the body and an inner series of longitudinal muscle fibers employed in moving the setae. The circulatory system consists of a prominent dorsal blood vessel and at least four ventral blood vessels, running longitudinally in the body and connected with one another by a regularly arranged series of transverse vessels. The dorsal vessel is provided with valves and is the true heart. Most of the pumping of blood, however, is performed by general muscular movements. The central nervous system consists of a pair of suprapharyngeal ganglia, often called the brain, and a ventral cord that lies beneath the alimentary canal with ganglia in every segment. Earthworms have no sense organs other than those of touch. The digestive system consists of a muscular pharynx, a slender esophagus, a thin-walled crop or food receptacle, a muscular gizzard used for grinding ingested earth, and a long, straight intestine.
Earthworms are hermaphrodites, with each worm having both male and female reproductive organs. Mutual cross-fertilization usually takes place. The eggs, containing considerable yolk, are buried in the earth in capsules formed from secretions of the clitellum, a thickened portion of the body wall. The capsules protect the young until they hatch as small, fully developed worms. Some species live for ten years or longer.
The more than 1000 species of earthworms are divided into five families: Lumbricidae, in North America, Europe, and northern Asia; Moniligastridae, inhabiting India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and the eastern part of Africa; Megascolecidae, inhabiting India, Australasia, Africa, and South America; Eudrilidae, inhabiting central parts of Africa; and Glossoscolecidae, inhabiting South and Central America, Africa, and southern Europe. Well-known species include Lumbricus terrestris and Allobophora foetida, widely distributed in temperate and tropical lands; Megascolides australis, inhabiting Australia and attaining the enormous length of 3.3 m (10.9 ft); and Glossoscolex giganteus, inhabiting South America.


 Earth Worm
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Note: Earthworms play an integral role in the breakdown of organic matter & aeration of the soil & in this environment are very beneficial.
Those earthworms that find their way into potted plant culture media can do more harm than good by the accelerated  break down  of organic matter & the consequent slumping of the potting medium.
The activity of worm presence in potting media is usually indicated by the humus matter oozing from the basal drainage holes of the container.
To avoid worms entering potted plants via the drainage holes, raise the pot above the ground using bricks or large pebbles.
There are chemicals available that will drive earth worms from potted plants without harming the earth worms or the potted plant.

Common name for the members of the class Chilopoda of the phylum Arthropoda  which also includes crustaceans, insects, and spiders. The centipedes are long, segmented animals with jointed appendages and a poisonous "bite."

The centipede body is divided into well-marked segments, the number of which varies from 12 to more than 100. The head, which is covered by a flat shield above, bears a pair of antennae, usually of considerable length and consisting of from 12 to more than 100 joints; a pair of small, strong, toothed, and bristly mandibles; and a pair of underjaws, usually with palps. The first body segment bears a modified pair of legs, the strong joints of which terminate in a sharp claw into which a poison gland opens, for seizing and killing prey. The two legs on each of the other segments are usually seven-jointed, sometimes bearing spurs and glands, and generally clawed.
The relatively large brain is connected with a ventral chain of ganglia. Compound eyes occur in one family, and simple eyes or none at all in many. The feelers, certain bristles, and portions of the skin are also sensory. The heart is a chambered dorsal vessel. Tracheae, or air tubes, open on the sides of the body. Most centipedes are 2.5 to 5 cm (1 to 2 in) long, but some tropical species grow to 30 cm (12 in).
Centipedes are nocturnal and remain under stones or wood during the day. They are all carnivorous. Scolopendra bears live young; the others lay eggs.

Of the four principal families, the family Scutigeridae, to which the common house centipede belongs, includes forms with compound eyes, long feelers, 8 shields along the back, and 15 pairs of very long legs. Lithobiidae have simple eyes, 15 pairs of legs, antennae measuring a third or more of the body length, and 15 dorsal shields. The Scolopendridae have more than 20 pairs of legs; short, many-jointed antennae; and simple eyes or none at all. The poisonous bite of some of the larger forms is dangerous to humans. The Geophilidae are long, worm like centipedes, of sluggish habit, with 31 to 173 pairs of legs, short feelers, and no eyes. Well-developed spinning glands are seen in this family, and their secretion cements together ova and spermatozoa.

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Note: Centipedes are very effective hunters of the larvae of insects such as Weevils & Hibiscus Beetles