Vacation 2012: Orlando, FL - Local Biotopes - Aquatic Plant Central

Go Back   Aquatic Plant Central > Special Interest Forums > Local Biotopes

Local Biotopes Local Biotopes - A forum for hobbyists that are interested in and collect aquarium plants locally. Compare plant pictures, discuss collecting and plant growing techniques.

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 04-14-2012, 05:03 PM   #1 (permalink)
Moderator
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Fairfield, CT
Posts: 1,696
iTrader Ratings: 56
iTrader Positive Rating: 100%
asukawashere is a regular member
Default Vacation 2012: Orlando, FL

Hey everybody! I'm writing to you from someplace in Orlando, FL (or someplace close by), where I have just arrived for my spring vacation of awesomeness. I have many plans to go ditch diving and puddle seining (the rest of the family plans to go to Disney: been there, done that, would rather spend the money shipping back interesting aquatic specimens...). So, I figure it'd be nice to keep a journal here for people to look at should they decide to go on collecting vacations of their own.

Anyway, we arrived too late today to do any collecting, but I did quickly survey the fishing pond on our resort grounds. Turns out it's a manmade pond, entirely filled with more hornwort (Ceratophyllum demersum) than anybody could ever need, and not much else. Kinda disappointing. But I do think I spotted a patch of Diodia virginiana a little beyond where I was, so tomorrow I'll have to go investigate that possibility. I realize it's a common weed in the southeastern U.S., but it's not typically found in CT, where I live, so if it is what it looked like I'll take the opportunity to get some specimens to bring back.

Also spotted some kind of minnows (I prefer the term "puddle fish" myself) in said pond. Probably just Gambusia, but there were some cute speckled ones (likely to be melanistic males) that might be worth taking home...). We shall see...

Will hopefully have some pictures to share soon.
asukawashere is offline   Reply With Quote

Advertisement [Remove Advertisement]
Old 04-15-2012, 06:00 AM   #2 (permalink)
Moderator
 
Michael's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Dallas, Texas
Posts: 5,494
iTrader Ratings: 0
Michael is a regular member
Default Re: Vacation 2012: Orlando, FL

Cool! You are not too far from the St. Johns River, try to take a day trip there.
Michael is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2012, 07:57 AM   #3 (permalink)
Moderator
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Fairfield, CT
Posts: 1,696
iTrader Ratings: 56
iTrader Positive Rating: 100%
asukawashere is a regular member
Default Re: Vacation 2012: Orlando, FL

Haven't entirely decided where to go for a day trip (it also means convincing 4 other people that they want to go there, which can be tricky!), but I'll keep it in mind. Thanks for the suggestion!

This morning, I went and poked around the edges of that resort fishing hole, and found a little more than I expected. For one, there was plenty of D. virginiana after all:


I made sure to snag a couple sprigs of it to bring home - I'm happy to finally add it to my collection!


Also, I found a couple of sparse patches of some kind of small Eleocharis species. Didn't bother to collect any, since one dwarf hairgrass isn't that much different than another, and I have plenty available back home.


There were a couple things I couldn't identify on sight, including this cute little purple-flowered plant growing along the banks. No evidence that it's an aquatic, but it looked vaguely familiar:

Anybody recognize it? I'm guessing something from the family Plantaginaceae, but not sure.

Oh, and walking a little farther than I did yesterday, I found a veritable carpet of Bacopa monnieri. It was even in flower, so I took some nice shots of the blooms. I already have plenty of this species at home, but I grabbed a few sprigs of it just for kicks.


The flowers are pretty little whitish things with a hint of purple-pink:


Meanwhile, I've concluded that the state of Florida's default lawn plant is not grass (except on golf courses), but rather Hydrocotyle:


This H. umbellata had some cute little flowers, too:
asukawashere is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Old 04-17-2012, 12:10 PM   #4 (permalink)
Moderator
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Fairfield, CT
Posts: 1,696
iTrader Ratings: 56
iTrader Positive Rating: 100%
asukawashere is a regular member
Default Re: Vacation 2012: Orlando, FL

Yesterday we visited Sea World. I'm not a fan of theme parks of any sort - but I do like aquariums, and since SW is a bit of both, I agreed to go (instead of, say, walking down the road to the next closest swamp and getting eaten by a gator).

While there, I encountered a freshwater planted tank in their shark encounter exhibit (it was filled with freshwater sharkminnows, with the intent of distinguishing them from real sharks). Turns out Sea World is a fan of Aquasoil, but not so much of tank maintenance - the tank was filled with hair algae and clado. The plants included HC, glosso, Crypt parva, and a few others - not the healthiest carpet I've ever seen but not in terrible shape, either.


Meanwhile, their lake exhibited a patch of really neat Sagittaria — I'm guessing S. graminea but couldn't get close enough to confirm. A pity - guess I'll have to try and find a collector-friendly source of the plant, because it looked really cool!


On a more tourist-ey note, I'm not thrilled with the dolphin/whale/sea lion/etc. shows they have, these days. Used to be when you went to something like that, they'd introduce the animals and tell you something about their species, where they come from, what they eat, how big they were, how they care for them - now it's all theatrical, with flashing lights and trainers in costumes and all the animals do is show off tricks. Entertainment without the educational component - which completely defeats the purpose of an endangered/threatened animal show, IMO.
asukawashere is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2012, 03:52 PM   #5 (permalink)
Moderator
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Fairfield, CT
Posts: 1,696
iTrader Ratings: 56
iTrader Positive Rating: 100%
asukawashere is a regular member
Default Re: Vacation 2012: Orlando, FL

And back to my collecting today, I found some more goodies. This nice little red-stemmed Ludwiga sp. (perhaps it's L. repens or L. palustris; no flowers were visible so I can't say for sure…) was growing amidst another Bacopa monnieri thicket.


And, while I didn't find the same Sagittaria sp. that Sea World had, I did find this smaller species in another mudhole owned by my resort I'm at. It's very similar to what the hobby calls S. subulata, but I don't know the genus well enough to pin down a species. Here's the flower for those interested:


There were patches of it growing both emersed and submersed. In emersed form:


And submersed:


I was also surprised to encounter Hemianthus glomeratus, a staple in the hobby. This species looked somewhat yellowed and sickly, and a bit burnt at the fringes, probably due to lack of water - apparently, this chunk of Florida is in a bit of a drought and the water levels are accordingly a bit lower than normal. The healthiest patches were intertwined with the Sagittaria, where I would speculate the larger plants' leaves shielded it from the worst of the sun.


Meanwhile, His Manliness (Lord and Master of Our Home and Castle) believes to have found himself a dinner (or appetizer?) —

— in the form of freshwater mussels. I'm told these are less tasty than their saltwater equivalents, not that I'll ever be inclined to try either (not a fan of eating snot in any kind of shell), but His Manliness is stubborn and insists on finding out for himself. If he dies of mussel poisoning or something, be assured I will be mocking him (or his grave) ruthlessly. At least he's planning on cooking them instead of eating them on the half-shell…

So all in all, a productive day. Sort of.
asukawashere is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-18-2012, 06:50 PM   #6 (permalink)
Moderator
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Fairfield, CT
Posts: 1,696
iTrader Ratings: 56
iTrader Positive Rating: 100%
asukawashere is a regular member
Default Re: Vacation 2012: Orlando, FL

Today I went fishing. Ditch fishing. And I caught ditch minnows (big surprise LOL). More specifically, I pulled a handful of melanistic Gambusia holbrooki out of a puddle in front of the resort's lobby. In the process, I gained a new respect for the little speckled menaces - their grey brethren were rather stupid, literally swimming into my dip net, but the handful of melanistic ones - i.e. the ones I wanted - stayed clear of the slightest vibration. Basically, it amounted to me sitting very, very still in the mud for an hour glaring at tiny fish. I think the rest of the vacationers thought me a bit loony, but what else is new? :P

Had the fish been even a little bit bigger, I'd have just gotten out my seine net and netted out a gazillion or so in a short time, but they're small enough to slip through the 1/4" mesh.

The end yield was 4 melanistic fish - interestingly, though, there was only one male among the four. Typically it's only the male Gambusia that display the melanistic patterning; speckling in the females has been fixed in captive-bred strains but isn't typically seen in wild populations.

Look at this little cutie, though:

Totally worth the effort - and the mild sunburn

Plant-wise, the ditch was relatively boring. Mostly a giant pile of hornwort (Ceratophyllum demersum) - great breeding grounds for livebearers, but a common plant available back home and not worth the effort of shipping home.


I was even less pleased to discover patches of a foreign invader, Hydrilla verticillata.


On the other hand, another muddy puddle along the way had this Ludwigia - L. decurrens, maybe? - growing alongside it:
asukawashere is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-18-2012, 07:19 PM   #7 (permalink)
Administrator
 
Cavan Allen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Silver Spring, MD - USA
Posts: 7,350
iTrader Ratings: 68
iTrader Positive Rating: 100%
Cavan Allen is a valuable member of the community Cavan Allen is a valuable member of the community
Default Re: Vacation 2012: Orlando, FL

Be sure to look in places that look like draw down areas. Maybe even back from the shore a bit. There doesn't even necessarily have to be water now.
Cavan Allen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-19-2012, 01:33 PM   #8 (permalink)
Moderator
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Fairfield, CT
Posts: 1,696
iTrader Ratings: 56
iTrader Positive Rating: 100%
asukawashere is a regular member
Default Re: Vacation 2012: Orlando, FL

Sound advice - especially since it's the dry season right now. The Bacopa and Diodia growth I've seen is pretty uniformly a foot and a half away from the current waterline - and dried out husks of obligate aquatics like hornwort, Najas, and Hydrilla reach up to the edges of the emersed plants.

Earlier today we went to visit Wekiwa Springs State Park, but halfway through it started pouring on us. What we did see before then was really cool, though - I snorkeled in the eponymous spring and saw a big bass, a whole bunch of cute little sunfish, some kind of darter, and a whole ton of skeeterfish (where are there not skeeterfish?). Also hiked to a pond wherein gators were stalking us... then it started raining, as previously mentioned.

Photos of spring and gators later, when I feel less lazy. Currently saving up appetite for all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet dinner.
asukawashere is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-19-2012, 04:39 PM   #9 (permalink)
Moderator
 
Michael's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Dallas, Texas
Posts: 5,494
iTrader Ratings: 0
Michael is a regular member
Default Re: Vacation 2012: Orlando, FL

Wekiwa Springs is beautiful! I've only visited once, and would have given anything to have snorkeling gear with me.
Michael is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-19-2012, 06:04 PM   #10 (permalink)
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Posts: 92
iTrader Ratings: 6
iTrader Positive Rating: 100%
Klaus07 is a regular member
Default Re: Vacation 2012: Orlando, FL

If you go to Wekiva Springs you can rent a canoe and paddle to st johns, along the way you will find a plethora of aquatic and emergernt plants. Be sure to take a dipnet with you and you should catch several killies, minnows and dwarf sunfish, the local variety is Elassoma `orlandicum`, not classified as a species as of this point. You may also find some exotics, I have caught plecostomus there for example. It is a great float trip.
Klaus07 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Aquatic Plant Central > Special Interest Forums > Local Biotopes > Vacation 2012: Orlando, FL

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 04:47 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.1