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Jay Paredes
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http://jayparedes.com/

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The Southern Ringneck Snake (Diadophis punctatus punctatus) is found throughout Florida and is fairly common in urban gardens where they feed on small earthworms, slugs, and insects. A friend found this individual while cleaning out their garage. These snakes will sometimes show their brightly colored underside when threatened making them appear dangerous, instead of the harmless little snakes they are.
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11/14/16
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Finally caught one! A juvenile Brown Basilisk (Basiliscus vittatus) lizard was sunning itself in my garden. I've seen these lizards in Central America when I was younger and they've now firmly established themselves in Florida. To escape they run swiftly on their hind legs over the surface of still water, earning them them name "Jesus Christ lizards." Photographed with a Canon EOS 7D Mark II, Canon Macro Ring Lite MR-14EX, and Sigma 150mm f/2.8 EX DG APO HSM Macro Lens in Coconut Creek, Florida. 
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A Cane Metamorph Toadlet (Bufo marinus) emerges from the water as it transitions from tadpole to toad. Thousands of these invasive toads are born each year during mid to late summer. Photographed with a Canon EOS 7D Mark II, Canon Macro Ring Lite MR-14EX, and Sigma 150mm f/2.8 EX DG APO HSM Macro Lens in Coconut Creek, Florida.
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Red-Eared Slider (Trachemys scripta elegans)
We found this beautiful Red-Eared Slider in our backyard lake. It is native to the Mississippi River and its tributaries. They are considered an invasive species in Florida as their population can outnumber that of our native turtles. These turtles were once very popular in the pet trade, and small baby turtles were sold by the thousands. Unfortunately the baby turtles required special care and the vast majority of them perished. Many were released by owners who could no longer properly care for them, and wild populations became established worldwide. In 2007, Florida banned the sale of Red-Eared Sliders. Photographed with a Canon EOS 7D Mark II, Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 USM lens, and Canon 430ex II Speedlite in Coconut Creek, Florida.
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Scarlet Hibiscus (Hibiscus coccineus)
After waiting nearly 4 years, she's finally bloomed. The Scarlet Hibiscus is native to Florida and grows in wet-soil habitats. The plant dies back to the ground each winter and emerges in the spring. They can reach a height of 6-8 feet in the summer. The bloom only lasts one day. Photographed with a Canon EOS 7D Mark II with Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L USM lens and Canon 430ex II flash in Coconut Creek, Florida.
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Purple Gallinule (Porphyrio martinicus)

"Now he comes, gracefully dividing the waters of the tranquil pool, his frontal crest glowing with the brightest azure. Look at his wings, how elegantly they are spread and obliquely raised; see how his expanded tail strikes the water; and mark the movements of his head, which is alternately thrown backward and forward, as if he were congratulating his mate on their happy meeting." - James Audubon

Canon EOS 7D Mark II, with Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM lens at North Community Park, Coral Springs, Florida.
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An Eastern Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes asterius) caterpillar munching on Spotted Water Hemlock (Cicuta maculata). I planted water hemlock in our garden about 3 years ago to attract these beautiful large butterflies, and it's finally paid off. Photographed with a Canon EOS 60D, Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 L IS USM Macro lens, and Sigma EM-140 DG Macro Flash in Coconut Creek, Florida.
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It's nice to find some of South Florida's native toads, the Southern Toad (Anaxyrus terrestris). They have become uncommon in Florida since the invasive Cane Toad (Rhinella marina) has become established. These toads are active at night and will mostly eat small invertebrates.

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The Blue Dasher dragonfly (Pachydiplax longipennis) is one of the most common dragonflies in the United States. They are aggressive predators and will eat over 10% of their body weight daily by consuming hundreds of smaller insects. The species name longipennis means "long wings". Photographed with a Canon EOS 7D Mark II, Canon Macro Ring Lite MR-14EX, and Sigma 150mm f/2.8 EX DG APO HSM Macro Lens at the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge.
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Look carefully at the small fish near the shores of the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge and you're likely to see a flash of blue and orange at the surface of the water. The colors belong to the male Sailfin Molly (Poecilia latipinna) as is courts females near the top of the water. This young male was collected and photographed in an aquarium with a Canon EOS 60D and Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 L IS USM Macro lens.
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