Jun 2, 2011

Florida's lubber season

Since the rain isn’t yet obliging (this week has been mostly dry), we have to fall back on a secondary indicator that the wet season is here:

i.e., Florida’s Giant Lubber Grasshoppers!

Lubbers seem more reliable than the clouds
The first appeared in early May as little black bugs, cute things really, only to by the start of June to have grown into silent but somewhat intimidating and oversized creatures that tourists are deathly afraid to pick up.

Not to worry, they won’t hurt a soul,

Although they may put a dent in your garden.

Dry seasons can extend into June when the rains are late

At some point June will finally get going.

On average it’s our highest rainfall month.

Rain-dar image for the month of May
Courtesy of SFWMD
Until then we’ll have to fall back on the reliable Lubbers (and the resurgent mosquitoes) as the only biological signal that the wet season is here.

The image above displays a radar-derived image of the spread of rainfall for the month of May. Basically, if you mix all those pixilated colors together into a single unified stew, it simplifies into the single number: 2.3 inches for the month of May (as bar graphed it the rain chart below.)

Lubbers are good at hanging on

As you can see, south Florida is a pretty big area to pull a single number from.

I wonder what the Florida wide distribution of those Lubbers looks like?


The Florida Blogger said...

Have you seen the black ones about this size. They were all over the Suwannee River this past weekend. I used to use them as bait but never caught anything with them. I guess the fish were afraid of them too:)

Dan said...

I don' think anything eats them. My chickens run away from them.

swampthing said...

As a boy, i would torture them.
As a young man, i would mow them down.
Now that i am old, i leave them alone.

Old Chinese proverb says it is bad luck to kill them.

Only the gators will eat them.

J Bradford Linville said...

Looks like a locust!

Craig said...

I won't kill a spiny orb weaver and I let outdoor roaches go free, but I totally HATE the lubbers and stomp every one of them I see. They make my front-yard bromeliad look like Swiss cheese and don't get me started on what they do to the flowers on the front porch. Once I went down to the Everglades to interview a scientist and a colleague of his visiting from Brazil picked up a lubber and commented on how beautiful it was, and it took all my willpower not to smack it off her hand and squish it right there.

Robert V. Sobczak said...

I enjoy seeing them every year, of course I don't mind that they eat the swamp plants either. I wonder if they have a favorite?

Janie said...

The grown lubbers are a little intimidating. I wonder if their numbers correspond with the rainfall.