VOL. 3, NO. 2
Everglades Natural History
A MAGAZINE OF NATURAL HISTORY OF SOUTH FLORIDA
Conceived by C. M. Goethe and Daniel B. Beard
for Visitors to the Everglades National Park
and everyone interested in natural south Florida
JULIAN D. CORRINCTON, Ph D., Zoology Dept., Univ. Miami ........................ Associate Editor
R. BRUCE LEDIN, Ph.D, Sub-Trop'cal Exper Sta., Homestead .................. Associate Editor
WILLIAM B. ROBERTSON, Ph.D., Ill. Natural Hist. Surv., Urbana ................... Associate Editor
FRANK N. YOUNG, Ph.D., Zoology Dept., Indiana Univ. ................................ Associate Editor
WALTER B. COLEBROOK, West Palm Beach .......................................................... Staff Illustrator
J. FLOYD MONK, Miami ................... ... .......................... Background Notes on Authors
PEARL STAPLES FINN, Miami ........................................ Junior Natural History
JOSEPH CURTIS MOORE, Ph.D., Editor
BOARD OF CONSULTING EDITORS
TAYLOR R. ALEXANDER, Ph.D., Botany Dept., Univ. Miami ............................... Native Plants
ROBERT P. ALLEN, National Audubon Society, Tavernier .................................... Bird Behavior
ROLAND T. BIRD, American Museum of Natural History (ret.) ........................ Fossil Animals
ARCHIE F. CARR, Ph.D., Biology Dept., Univ. of Florida ................ Reptiles and Amphibians
J. C. DICKINSON, JR., Ph.D., Biology Dept., Univ. of Florida .......................... Bird Names
JOHN M. GOGcIN, Ph.D., Dept. Sociol. & Anthr., Univ. Florida ........................... Indian Life
WM. M. MCLANE, Florida Game & Freshwater Fish Comm. ........................ Freshwater Fishes
HENRY M. STEVENSON, Ph.D., Zool. Dept., Florida State Univ. .................... Bird Distribution
CHARLTON W. TEBEAU, Ph.D., History Dept., Univ. Miami ....................................... History
F. G. WooD, JR., Marine Studios, Marineland ...................................................... Marine Fishes
EVERGLADES NATURAL HISTORY is published in March, June, September, and December of
each year by the Everglades Natural History Association, 205 North Krome Avenue (mail-
ing address P. O. Box 275), Homestead, Florida. Individual copies are 50c each post paid;
subscription is $2 00 a year. Entered as second class matter February 25, 1954, at the Post
Office a: Homestead, Florida, under Act of March 3, 1897. CHECKS should be made out to
the Association and mailed to the Executive Secretary.
The Everglades Natural History Association
A non-profit society established under charter in 1951 to further interest in
and understanding of the natural and historic and scientific values of the
Everglades National Park.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Ernst Christensen, Park Naturalist ................................. Executive Secretary
Joseph Curtis Moore, Park Biologist ................ ......... ............... Chairman
H. F. Bushnell, Homestead ...... ......................................... Treasurer
Daniel B. Beard, Park Superintendent
It. Bruce Ledin, Sub-Tropical Experiment Station
JUNE, 1955 VOL. 3, No. 2
THE COVER ILLUSTRATION is of the greal white heron, a bird restricted in
its range almost entirely to the park area awl the Florida Keys. This individual
led about Royal Panl Ranger Station much of last winter and was photographed
there by Willard E. Dilley
Background Notes on Authors ...................................... by Floyd Monk 66
Letters ..................... .. ......................................................... 70
Nesting of the swallow-tailed kite ............................ by Ivan D. Sutton 72
Those were the good old days ........................... .. by C. Ray Vinten 85
No butterfly like the heliconian (concl.) ........................ by Roland T. Bird 89
Everglades National Park pictorial .....................-..... by Ralph S. Palmer 96
The frogs and toads of the Everglades National Park
by William E. Duellmawt and L. Niel Bell 103
Natural History Notes
Turkey vulture attacks a live coot ........ by Vernon C. Gilbert. Jr. 116
Red-shouldered hawk in water ....................... by David 0. Karraker 116
Red-shouldered hawks attack hort-eared owl ......_... by Mary Wible 117
Uncommon ducks near Coot Bay .......... by Vernon C. Gilbert, Jr. 118
Pigmy sperm whale strands .................-.-- by Frwak S. Essapiwa 119
Junior Natural History Department
Caterpillars have wings ............................... by Pearl Staples Finn 120
A shell is a shell ... .. ........ ............. ......... by Pearl Staples Fin 123
The singing and the gold .............. y Marjory Stoneman Douglas 126
Coro-coro ............. .............. ----- ------ --.........--- by the editor 126
Mammals ......... ............... ......... ...... ------------------. ........ by the editor 127
Mark Trail's book of North American mammals .---..... by the editor 127
Freaks and marvels of insect life ........-............... by Frank N. Young 128
Background Notes on Authors
by J. FLOYD MONK
To open the current issue we would like
to introduce IVAN D. SUTTON, an elec-
Iricidn by trade and an ardent bird photog.
rapher by avocation, who has produced here
an entirely unique written record of the
neming of the swallow-tailed kite. Visitors
who have seen this splendid bird snaring
and drifting silently overhead will appreciate
the devotion with which Mr. Sutton presents
Born on a farm near Pleaganton, Kansas,
on January 7. 1907, he moved into Pleasan-
ion with his family at the ripe age of one
year and lairr attended public schools there,
graduating from high school in 1924. After
one summer spent working on a ranch in
western Colorado he joined the Navy. That
famous old slogan "join the Navy and learn
a trade" seems to have worked for author
Sullon. for he was sent forthwith to eleclri-
cal school and spent most of his enlistment
as an electrician's mate, IWing discharged
in 1930 with a second class petty officer
Deciding to go init hlsiness for himislf
after his discharge. he acquired some phoio-
graphic equipment and opened a studio in
hiti home town. in conjunction with an elec1ri-
cal appliance hope operated by his brother.
The photographic studio was closed in 1934
- having germinated the seed of his later
hobby-but he contintled to work in the<
electrical end of the business for Iwo more
years. Employment as a railroad eleclrician
in California broudrned his experience in his
field, followed iby a year with the Charleston
Navy Yard in Charlrston. SouIh Carolina,
Since 1942 --with the exception of another
two-year hitch in Ihe Navy during World
War II -he has been in the electrical con.
struction busineIss, on various jobsL in many
sales of the Union.
Mr, Sutton's interest in birds began when
lie was twelve, when he began a collection
of bird eggs in emulation of a similar col-
lection owned by a cousin. Their combined
"museum" contained eggs of some reventy-
eight species, ranging all the way from hum-
minghirds to turkey vultures. This early
interest in eggs waned as the years went
hy, but the more hasic "birding" interest
has continued unabated, leading to member-
ship in the Linn Counly. Kansas. branch of
the. National Auduhon Society.
A combination of his two hohbies-photog-
raphy and birds-began in 1952 with his
first allenipts al taking moving pictures of
the birds in the vicinity of Philadelphia. In
llese early trials he was fortunate in having
lhe assistance and encouragement of Esther
lCeacock, of Wyncote, Prnnsylvania, a sea-
soned "birder" thoroughly familiar with the
problems of wild-life photography. In addi-
lion lo his film of Florida birds, which has
been the hasis of a series of lectures befoTe
several societies interested in natural history,
he has in progress a fim featuring the thirds
of Kansas. his home state. His special in-
lerert, however, is in the lesser known species
and one of hsl ultimate goals is the com-
p~'rion of a film record of four members
of the Kite family.
On March 5, 1941 author Sutton was mar-
ried to a Kansas girl, Evelyn M. Eilert,
whom lie had met during his railroad work
in California the preceding fall His wife
ha1 accompanied him on many of his trips
in wsarch of material. They have no children.
A man who can take personal pride in
leaving his mark, albeit somewhat anony.
NOTES ON AUTHORS
mously, upon the landscape of Florida is
CHARLES RAYMOND VINTEN, whose
reminiscences about the "good old days"
appear on page 85. A landscape engineer
of long experience, Mr. Vinten was associated
in the development of Highlands Hammock,
near Sebring, over twenty years ago. This
magnificent hammock, now a state park,
offers enchanting vistas of native semi-tropi-
cal beauty, where deer may often be seen
feeding on the wild oranges in the clearings.
A cat-walk winds through deep primeval
forest, where cypress trees rise, bearded with
Spanish moss, from the shallow water; and
great oaks, hundreds of years old, still stand
upon higher ground. Automobile roads and
rustic trails wend their ways through the
dense growth, breaking occasionally into
small clearings where towering palms reach
for the sky, and golden fruit hangs heavy
on ancient citrus trees. To some extent Mr.
Vinten was responsible for the careful plan-
ning which permitted accessibility without
the destruction of the natural beauty.
Now in his sixtieth year-he was born
in Brooklyn, New York, on December 13,
1894-author Vinten is still doing his part
in maintaining the scenic wonder of Florida.
A member of the National Park Service since
1934, he has for the past seven years served
as the superintendent of the Castillo de San
Marcos and Fort Matanzas National Monu-
ments at St. Augustine. His experience with
the Park Service has been varied-he has
worked (1934-41) as an inspector and field
supervisor on a cooperative program for state
parks, Dade County parks, and national
monuments in Florida. Also, he served for
several years (1942-47) as coordinating
superintendent for national monuments in
the southeast, which involved the supervision
of several areas including Forts Pulaski and
Frederica, in Georgia, Fort Jefferson in the
Dry Tortugas, and other Florida sites. In
connection with his duties during this period
he had an active part in the planning of the
Everglades National Park.
A graduate of the University of Massa-
chusetts, author Vinten remained there as
an instructor for a short time before enter-
ing the landscape architecture and town
planning field in 1923. This work carried
him into Ohio, Florida, Louisiana, Texas,
and Nova Scotia, prior to his association
with John A. Roebling in the Highlands
In spite of the haze of time, Mr. Vinten
faces the sad facts of the "good old days"
squarely. As we read these recollections of
one of the handful of observant and articu-
late men who had access to this back coun-
try twenty years ago, we can re-capture the
feeling of desolation which is today being
replaced by one of plenty, where the native
wildlife is staging an amazing comeback
under the watchful care of the park rangers
and the general public. Anyone who is
interested in the conservation and preserva-
tion of our wilderness areas will read this
article with interest and thankfulness.
On page 89 appears the second and con-
cluding installment of ROLAND T. BIRD'S
"No butterfly like the heliconian," which
began in the March issue. Readers who
have perhaps been introduced to Everglades
Natural History with the present copy are
urged to go back to the preceding issue, so
that they may enjoy to the full Mr. Bird's
description of the life cycle of his subject.
A retired paleontologist, formerly with the
American Museum of Natural History, author
Bird has contributed several articles to this
publication, and we are sure that his work
is welcomed and well-remembered by our
If you follow the same habit that most
of us do-leaf through the pages and glance
at the illustrations before settling down to
read the text-you have perhaps already
noticed a new feature which begins on page
96. Known as "Everglades National Park
Pictorial," this six page section is presented
as a purely visual interlude in the midst
of the printed pages-a sort of oasis where
we can be mentally refreshed by the pleas-
ing lines and patterns of superb photographs
of Everglades scenes and wild life. It is
hoped that this "pictorial" can be included
as a regular feature of the magazine. This
EVERGLADES NATURAL HISTORY
depends, of course, upon the availability of
sufficient pictures of suitable quality and
subject matter. As every visitor knows, the
Park abounds with photogenic things-one
of the rangers has said that the purple
gallinules along the Anhinga Trail have been
photographed so often that they now pose
self-consciously whenever a camera is pointed
their way. This, perhaps, is an exaggeration.
But where else can one approach so close to
wild wading birds, often getting satisfactory
pictures with the simplest of equipment?
It takes patience, to be sure, to secure photo-
graphs which are pleasingly composed and
technically perfect. But it can be done.
All of the plates in this inaugural edition
of Everglades National Park Pictorial are
the work of one man, DR. RALPH S.
PALMER, who has previously furnished
us with three cover illustrations. Dr. Pal-
mer majored in zoology at the University of
Maine, in his native state, and did his
graduate work at Cornell University. There
he concentrated on the study of mammals,
birds-and painting. This artistic training
and inclination are apparent in his photo-
graphs, which present a "balance" which
can be obtained only by a careful, conscious
composition of lines and shadows. His re-
cently-published book "The mammal guide"
also contains numerous examples of his
abilities as an artist-line drawings and full
color paintings help him to tell the story of
American animal life in popular, readable
fashion. A more scholarly work is his
"Maine Birds." which was published several
years ago, and which will remain an im-
portant book of reference for many years to
come. Now forty-one years old, Dr. Palmer
has already served for several years as state
zoologist for the State of New York. His
wife. Nancy. came down to the Park with
him on his visit of winter before last. It
was during that trip that the photograph of
the mangrove fox ssuirrel in this issue was
Except for the mangrove fox squirrel, all
of the subjects were found during Dr. Pal-
mer's visit of February and March of this
year. when he spent two weeks prowling
about the park area with a camera ready.
Captions on the six photographs have been
intentionally kept to a minimum, in order
that they may not intrude upon the esthetic
pleasure of looking at the pictures.
Your attention is especially invited to the
blue jay which was photographed at Para-
dise Key-the soft greys, full of detail but
without any objectionable strong contrasts,
present one of the most soothing pictures we
have seen in many a day. And that splendid
plate of the tricolored (or Louisiana) heron
holds one's attention-waiting for the bird
to dart from his alert, crouched position to
seize a fish for his dinner. A truly poised,
dynamic picture-just a little stretch of the
imagination and that unlucky fish can almost
be seen, as well as sensed, beneath the sur-
face of the water!
On page 102 there begins a remarkable
three-way collaboration on the subject of
Everglades amphibians, written by two
young men who are specialists in the field
of herpetology and illustrated by a third
who also holds a degree in zoology, in addi-
tion to possessing a marked talent as an
artist. Together they have produced an in-
formative article in which all of the native
frogs and toads of the Everglades National
Park area are discussed. After studying
this report readers may find it of value to
look back at the cover of March, 1955,
issue of this magazine, where Hyla cynerea
is shown in full color, in a reproduction of
one of Willard E. Dilley's fine nature studies.
WILLIAM E. DUELLMAN has been
working with reptiles and amphibians since
his early high school days, both in the field
and in the laboratory. While working in
his home state of Ohio, he was employed
by the Dayton Museum of Natural History
(1946-48). At present Mr. Duellman is
Research Assistant in the Division of Herpe-
tology in the Museum of Zoology at the
University of Michigan. He received his
A.B. and M.S. degrees in zoology from this
university and is now studying for his doc-
torate in the same field.
NOTES ON AUTHORS
In connection with his studies and in
the preparation of collections for the mu-
seum, he has traveled extensively in the
United States and parts of Mexico. The
observations and specimens gathered on these
trips have been the foundation for several
published papers. During the past four
years he has made four trips to southern
Florida; three of these were for the pur-
pose of gathering material for a compre-
hensive report on the amphibians of this
The co-author of this present work is L.
NEIL BELL, a resident of Miami, whose
primary interest is the study of reptiles and
amphibians of the Bahamas and the Antilles.
After some seven years of study of the south
Florida species, he is well qualified to work
with Mr. Duellman in this field. He is at
present a biologist for the Florida Game and
Freshwater Fish Commission, and is en-
gaged in a thorough study of the southern
bullfrog for that governmental agency. To-
gether with Mr. Duellman and Dr. Albert
Schwartz, he is also working on a technical
report covering all south Florida reptiles
and amphibians, which will be awaited with
interest by those of us who are always look-
ing for information about the local wild life.
Mr. Bell was born in Atlanta, Georgia, but
has lived for the past nineteen years in
Florida, where he has had ample opportunity
to delve into his subject.
The third member of this team is
HAROLD J. WALTER, who has prepared
the excellent illustrations for the article.
Mr. Walter has utilized a rare combination
of a broad interest in natural history with
an artistic ability in these drawings, furnish-
ing us with tangible black-and-white repre-
sentations which complement the written
descriptions. This same combination of in-
terests has been put to work in his employ-
ment with the Dayton Museum of Natural
History (1941-43), the Virginia Fisheries
Laboratory (1948), and in recent years as a
biologist in the U. S. Public Health Service.
He has done effective work with nature-
study groups in Ohio, while the published
works of many of his associates have been
enhanced by his illustrations.
He received his A.B. degree in zoology
from Ohio State University in 1950, and is
currently undertaking graduate work in
malacology at the University of Michigan.
He has been active in the natural history
field in various parts of the eastern United
States, and during the summer of 1954 he
joined the two authors in their field work
in south Florida.
This trio of enthusiastic naturalists have
in preparation a whole series of articles
similar to that offered in this issue, in which
the alligators, turtles, snakes, and other rep-
tiles and amphibians of the Everglades Na-
tional Park will be described and illustrated.
The second installment of this series, dealing
with the salamanders of the Park, is in fact
already on hand, and should appear in print
in the near future. Everglades Natural His-
tory is privileged to present these notes in
their non-technical form, prior to their more
complete publication for the specialists.
On page 120 PEARL STAPLES FINN
continues her regular column, this time with
notes on butterflies and seashells. Her
Junior Natural History Department, directed
toward our younger readers, has been one
of the featured sections of this magazine for
several issues. We feel certain that most of
our readers are by now acquainted with Mrs.
Finn's qualifications, from reading her earlier
articles and from notes which have appeared
earlier in this department.
Mrs. Finn has had a life-long interest in
birds, ever since her early childhood in
Wisconsin, and this interest has broadened
over the years to embrace many phases of
natural history. She graduated from Cen-
tral Wisconsin State College in 1930, and
has enjoyed a long career as a teacher in
both public and private schools. After her
marriage in 1947 to the Rev. E. A. Finn,
she lived for some three and a half years
in Everglades City, where her husband was
pastor of the Presbyterian Church. The
Finns moved to Miami early in 1951, and
until this year have been active there in
church and social affairs. This year they
have moved to Pompano Beach.
Mrs. Finn's notes on insect metamorphosis
and how mollusks construct their shells point
out many features which will aid children
in their appreciation of nature. Adults as
well will find much of interest in her work.
One name which will not be found on the
roster of authors for this issue is WILLARD
E. DILLEY, one of the old faithful work
horses and charter members of the Ever-
GLADES NATURAL HISTORY
glades Natural History Association, and a
frequent contributor to these pages. At the
end of March Park Naturalist Dilley was
transferred to the Grand Canyon National
Park, where he will have an entirely new
kind of environment for his study. He will
be sorely missed by the editorial staff, by
readers of this magazine, and by scores of
visitors to the Park who have known him
during the past few years. We hope to hear
further from him-meanwhile, "best wishes"
to a grand fellow!
Herbert Brandt, the ornithologist, spent the last four days of his
life seeing the Everglades National Park. On March 8, 1955, he
passed away quietly in his motel at six in the morning, while writing
up some notes from the day before at East River Rookery. Samuel
A. Grimes of Jacksonville had spent the last two days afield with him,
but had left the area at the end of their last day. He wrote:
"Thanks very much for sending the wire
telling of Herbert Brandt's sudden passing.
When the message was relayed to me at
Lakeland, the shock left me speechless. I
knew. of course, that Brandt had suffered
two thromboses in the past, but he had
seemed in such good condition and good
spirits in recent years that I was very opti-
mistic about the outlook for his being around
for a long time to come. Now I recall his
mentioning casually on Saturday that the
plodding through the tough pickleweed on
Clive Key had left him short of breath, and
he said something about not being up to
"Brandt was in especially high spirits on
Sunday and seemed to get a tremendous
thrill at the wonders of the East River wood
ibis rookery. The excitement of this spec-
tacle may have taxed him beyond capacity.
His life was as rich and full as a man's
could be, and he lived it to the hilt. Though
he had known intimately practically every
avian feature of the North American con-
tinent, each new episode in his life was to
him a rare adventure.
"I recall very clearly when I first met
Brandt a few years ago, his telling me of
the 'heart attacks' he had had, and what
impressed me particularly was the casual
way he added that 'One of these days I'll
stub my toe for good.'
"We have lost a great naturalist, and I
have lost a treasured friend."
Frank E. Masland, the first life member of the Everglades Natural
History Association, was interested in our article on the mangrove fox
squirrel (Sept. 1954, p. 152) and wrote:
"In 1933 my wife and I decided to raise
our kids in the country. We bought a farm
and have lived on it ever since. A few
of the factors governing our decision were
that the house had been built in 1750 and
the farm was well watered by three streams.
A considerable area about these streams was
"Shortly after moving I discovered a few
fox squirrels. Prior to that, I don't think
I had seen any for ten years. I immediately
posted a large portion of the farm against
hunting and trespassing. From that time
on until six years ago I waged a steady but
lone battle to protect the squirrel. Six years
ago I persuaded the state to incorporate that
section together with portions of neighbor-
ing farms in a state auxiliary game preserve.
The state's action was governed almost en-
tirely by the fact that in the intervening
years there had been a tremendous increase
in the fox squirrel population. They are
extinct over much of the state.
"This colony has increased to such an
extent that fox squirrels are now scattered
within an area of a number of miles, not
only up and down the streams but some
little distance from them.
"Interestingly, whereas in the beginning
there were more grey squirrel than fox, the
fox now vastly outnumber the grey. Perhaps
the grey have moved on to the adjacent
mountains, their more natural home.
"I have always been more of a conserva-
tionist than a hunter. Each year we raise
either pheasants or quail, carrying them
through the winter and turning them loose
in the spring. The result is that this 'seed
lot' game preserve provided the nucleus of
one of the best areas in this section.
"A sight that always amuses visitors is
afforded by a habit that our mallard ducks
have formed. Shortly after moving to the
farm I purchased a setting of mallard duck
eggs. Since then we have raised thousands.
Our home flock, however, never exceeds 200
to 250. Beyond that they move on. How-
ever, we always have several hundred mal-
lard ducks swimming and flying about the
"The ducks have discovered that the fox
squirrels provide them with feed. As soon
as they see a squirrel crossing the lawn
toward one of the trees where the feed
boxes are located they follow him. A squir-
rel, as you know, only eats the heart of the
corn. The shell of the kernel falls to the
ground. The ducks stand beneath the feed
box, bills poked up in the air, watching
for the corn to drop. As it does, they
scramble for it.
"Occasionally a fox squirrel will remove
an ear of corn from the box and start across
the lawn with it. The mallard ducks start
after him. Frequently the squirrel loses
the foot race. If he does, he is mobbed
and hastily scampers to the nearest tree
while the ducks enjoy a feast.
"Since this is a rambling letter, I'll ramble
a bit further. Have you ever seen a rabbit
and a dog playing tag in the moonlight?
Because of the protection afforded every-
thing, this place of ours is inclined to be
a bit overrun; rabbits are everywhere. I
came home one evening when the moon was
bright, to see our half-grown Chesapeake
Bay and a rabbit scampering about the lawn
in the moonlight. If I had not seen it, I
wouldn't believe it, and don't ask anyone
else to do so. The pup would chase the
rabbit, the rabbit would run a while then
stop and sit up on his hind legs, look at
the dog, then the dog would turn and run
and the rabbit would chase him. They kept
that up until the pup became aware of my
presence and came over to me. I never
saw it again."
Nesting of the Swallow-Tailed Kite
by IVAN D. SUTTON illustrations by the author
IN FEBRUARY 1953, my wife, Evelyn, and I went to Florida for
the specific purpose of photographing the nesting of the swallow-
tailed kite. I had considered it my favorite bird of prey ever since
the day, back about 1920, when I got my first bird book, C. A. Reed's
Pocket Guide to Birds, and first saw a picture of this fascinating bird.
As far as I could learn, no one had ever filmed the nesting of this
species perhaps because, as Professor A. A. Allen explained to me,
it nests in the tops of the tallest trees it can find. So here went I,
mindful of the saying that fools rush in where wise men fear to tread.
I had seen these birds the year before while driving through the
Everglades National Park, where the park rangers had told me that
IVAN D. SUTTON
they arrived in migration about March 1st. They said that the birds
occasionally nested in the park, but were not particularly abundant.
Our first stop in Florida was in the St. Petersburg-Tampa area
where I had the rare good fortune to spend three wonderful days in
the field with "eagle man", Charles L. Broley, and to see firsthand
the banding of immature bald eagles. We moved on south to Home-
stead for a week's stay and spent uncounted hours at fabulous Anhinga
Trail in the Everglades National Park. This place is a "must" for
bird watchers in south Florida during the winter months from Decem-
ber to the first week or two in March. The wildlife, particularly water
birds, can be observed at close range, and in fact, the resplendent
purple gallinules have become fearless as barnyard fowl. However,
using Pettingill's Guide to Bird Finding as my authority for finding
the center of the kite population, I decided to locate at the town of
Everglades, eighty miles west of Miami on the southwest coast of
Florida at the western edge of the Everglades National Park as now
constituted. The Ten Thousand Islands are located in the Gulf just
offshore from Everglades. The Immokalee-Ochopee-Everglades area,
so the book said, represented the center of swallow-tailed kite abund-
ance during the summer months; so we parked our trailer at a motor
court and settled down to the task at hand.
The kites were soon to be seen all about us and were a familiar
sight over and about the town of Everglades. At times as many as
forty birds could be seen in the air at once. The natives, I learned,
were very fond of them, as well they might be, for they are unques-
tionably our most beautiful bird of prey. They have an almost dove-
like appearance about their heads, unlike the fierce expression of
most of our Raptores. Dark above, with pure white head and under-
parts, they possess a grace and beauty in flight that is a delight to
behold. They are poetry in motion as they circle and glide, usually
near the treetops, in their search for food, which is invariably taken
on the wing. Or again, they will soar high in the air until they are a
mere speck in the sky, and the turkey vultures, which sometimes fly in
company with them, seem to strive for even greater mastery of the
air as a result of their example. Their principal food here appeared
to be a golden yellow dragon fly which is particularly abundant. Their
EVERGLADES NATURAL HISTORY
quest for food is not like the fierce encounters of our accipiters, for
example, who sometimes attack prey larger than themselves. I spent
many hours on top of the seventy-five foot aircraft beacon tower at
the local airport watching the feeding and courtship gyrations of these
lovely, well-mannered birds.
I soon made the acquaintance of Bill House, one of the last of
the oldtime settlers, who operated a charter fishing boat out of Ever-
glades. Bill was a gentle, likeable old fellow whose background was
closely linked with the history of the region for the past seventy years.
He came there as a boy and grew up in the 'glades. He had been on
friendly, intimate terms with the Seminole Indians and had done,
according to his story, about everything that could be done to make a
dollar. This included gathering egret plumes for the millinery trade,
(he explained how to pack the plumes between sheets of paper), skin-
ning roseate spoonbills (pink curlews, he called them) for their colorful
plumage, gathering swallow-tailed kite eggs for collectors, and killing
and skinning alligators for the market.
Bill told how he got started gathering kite eggs. He was engaged
as a guide and assistant by a Frenchman who came there for the
purpose of getting kite eggs for collectors. When the Frenchman
left, he told Bill that he would give him some addresses if he cared
to continue the work. So Bill carried on, even acting as a broker,
buying eggs from friends and reselling them. He said that he got
from $7.50 to $15.00 an egg, according to how well marked they
were. One man he bought eggs from found them in mangrove trees,
although Bill always found his in the strands of tall pines at a con-
siderable distance inland.
From his talks I determined to locate a nest, if possible, in the
mangrove trees along the coast or on one of the islands offshore. While
watching the kites around the airport I noticed that in the late after-
noon they crossed the Barron River, followed the mainland to the
mouth of the Lane River, then took out over the water, disappearing
in the distance among the Ten Thousand Islands. And, since nesting
time was apparently at hand, I surmised that these were the kites which
nested on the islands and came to the mainland to feed. A few days
later, on April 4th, while I was fishing out among the islands with a
IVAN D. SUTTON
neighbor, a kite flew directly over our boat trailing a streamer of
Spanish moss. I had been told that the birds always lined their nests
with moss, so I hastily went ashore on one of the islands and climbed
a mangrove tree. An intervening tree kept me from seeing the exact
spot where they were working. I was sure that they were nest build-
ing, but afraid to disturb them at such a crucial time. I determined
to stay away for several weeks and return when the eggs would be
about due to hatch.
In the meanwhile I bought an aluminum extension ladder to use
at the kite's nest. During this time I was busy taking movies of
pileated woodpeckers, green herons, boat-tailed grackles, and black-
necked stilts that were nesting along the Tamiami Trail. I also made
arrangements with my neighbor for the use of his boat and outboard
motor to get to and from the kite's nest which was about three miles
offshore and represented about an hour's journey, depending on the
May 7th I took my ladder and went out to locate the nest, if pos-
sible, and find how I might best construct a blind. I tied the boat not
far from the spot mentioned previously and, taking the ladder, and a
vast swarm of mosquitoes with me, walked inland until I found a
tree of suitable height to climb for a look around. I set the ladder
against a tall black mangrove and climbed to the topmost branches
just in time to see a kite fly past the tree, headed southwest. So I
moved my ladder in the direction indicated and climbed another tree.
Before I reached the top a kite was circling overhead, giving their
characteristic alarm note, "wheet wheet wheet." When I reached the
top of the tree and looked about me, I saw a nest, about fifty yards
distant with one of the kites sitting on it, as trim and elegant as any-
thing I have ever seen. So, taking my bearing as best I could, I
descended and walked over to try to locate the nest tree from the
ground. The islands are extremely difficult to negotiate as they are
covered with about a foot of water at high tide, beneath which is a
thick layer of slimy muck. In some places, principally around the
edges of the islands, the roots of the red mangroves are waist high
and so thickly interlaced as to be extremely difficult to get through.
This time I found the nest tree and selected a tree nearby in which
EVERGLADES NATURAL HISTORY
to locate the blind. I made five more trips, carrying materials and
equipment, and finally, on May 12th I completed the blind. Late
that afternoon I climbed the nest tree to cut off a small limb that ob-
structed the view and found one egg hatched and the other one pipped.
The birds had grown so accustomed to me that they paid very little
attention to my coming and going. I wondered if they thought that
I had built myself a nest and was, like them, engaged in raising a
family. It was too late to take any movies that day so I left, planning
to return the next morning. I shall now resort to my notes, taken
from day to day, as I visited the nest:
May 13, 1953. Arrived at blind at 7:25 A.M. Male bird on nest.
Both eggs hatched, the second and final egg apparently having hatched
the previous evening. 7:42-Female comes to nest, male leaves.
8:05-Male returns with unidentified food (unidentified because I
was busy with camera), alight on edge of nest, gives food to female
and leaves immediately. 8:09-Male again returns, same procedure,
food again unidentified. 11:42-Male returns with green tree frog;
female feeds it to young after tearing it to bits. Left blind at 12:48.
(The parents are identical, or appear so to me. One bird has not
been observed to leave the nest area, and always feeds the young, so
I take the liberty of assuming that it is the female. She has one of her
outer tail feathers broken off so that it is about three inches shorter
than it should be, which gives me a ready means of distinguishing
her from the male.)
Friday, May 15th. Arrived at blind 6:48 A.M. Birds were in a
state of alarm and four neighboring kites had joined them in the air.
They seem to be disturbed by something approximately seventy-five
yards west of the nest. 7:15-Alarm subsides, and neighbors leave.
7:50-Male resumes alarm at same spot, neighbors return and female
leaves her perch in dead tree to join them in the air. They circle nest
area, giving alarm note. One neighbor missing, only five birds in air.
Neighbors soon leave. 8:55-Female comes to nest. 9:39-Male
resumes alarm, female remains on nest, and neighbors fail to show up.
9:45-Alarm subsides. 10:20-Alarm once more started by male;
lie seems to be flying down at something between the trees, possibly a
raccoon, which is a fairly common animal on the islands. Alarm
subsides. 10:25-Male flies a short distance northeast of nest, dips
down among trees, then flies directly to the nest with a small nestling
bird. Heard no commotion when young bird was taken. Female feeds
young while male resumes his fuss at point of fancied danger. 10:30-
Male leaves. 12:50-Male returns with what appears to be a small
rodent, pretty well mangled. Female and young showing signs of
hunger after long wait. Left blind at 1:05 P.M.
Monday, May 18th. Arrived at blind at 7:30 A.M. Female left
nest as I climbed tree and perched in a dead tree nearby. 7:40-
Male appears, carrying chameleon, but upon finding nest unattended,
circles nest ten or twelve times and finally alights on nest, but no
longer has chameleon. He broods young until 8:00 when female
comes back to nest and male leaves. 8:05-Male returns with cha-
meleon, female feeds young. 8:45-A chameleon. Left blind at 9:00.
Wednesday, May 20th. Arrived at blind at 6:55 A.M. Male on
nest. Young birds digging at body parasites or mosquitoes. 7:25-
Female comes to nest with chameleon, and male leaves. 7:47-Male
returns with small chameleon, and female feeds young. 7:53-Male
bring another chameleon. Male plays "tag" with another kite which
EVERGLADES NATURAL HISTORY
appears, but soon leaves to southeast while neighbor heads north.
8:18---Male returns with what appears to be a piece of dried, bleached
honeycomb. Female tries to feed it to young, they are not interested,
being rather full, anyway. The male gives a rather musical sustained
note with a rising inflection when he approaches the nest. Crested
flycatchers, calling nearby, sometimes apparently deceive female and
young into acting as if the male were on his way to nest with food.
Female usually shifts her position on nest to allow him room to alight.
Female is tearing off, and eating, bits of the comb. She has shifted
her position apparently to shield young birds from hot sun. Left blind
at 9:10. (Apparently what I took to be honeycomb was a wasp's nest,
which is evidently brought for the larvae they contain.)
Friday, May 22nd. Arrived at blind at 6:50 A.M. Male left nest
and gave alarm as I climbed the ladder. Female and one neighbor
come to assist. Alarm subsides and male and neighbor leave while
female perches in dead tree nearby. Young birds alert but appear
to be well fed. 7:55-Female circles nest several times and alights
in dead tree about twenty-five yards southwest of nest. A hot sticky
morning and young birds appear bothered by mosquitoes. 8:22-
Female comes to nest but brings no food. 8:32-Family group of
three ospreys circling past and calling loudly. They drift off to north-
east. 8:38-Male brings chameleon, and female feeds it to young.
9:20-Male brings nestling bird, apparently about four or five days
old. Female feeds it to young. 9:50-Male brings green tree frog.
10:30-Male brings wasp's nest, and female feeds larvae to young.
Left blind at 10:35. (Today is the first time that mosquitoes have
been a major problem.)
Monday, May 25th. Arrived at blind at 6:45 A.M. Female left
nest and dived at me as I climbed ladder. She retires to dead tree
and preens her feathers. The young birds are not hungry, but the
mosquitoes are apparently giving them trouble. They are showing
black pin feathers, most prominent on tips of wings. They are very
much aware of what goes on in vicinity of nest. One is two weeks
old and the other thirteen days. There is a noticeable difference in
size. 7:37-Osprey flies low overhead and female give three alarm
notes. 7:45--Female flies around nest several times and alights in
IVAN D. SUTTON
dead trees about fifteen yards southwest of nest and resumes preening
of feathers. 8:10-Red-shouldered hawk, which has been calling in
the vicinity, flies low directly toward nest and blind. Female gives
alarm and intercepts hawk, forcing him to take shelter down among
the trees, then resumes her perch. 8:43-Female leaves perch as male
approaches with green tree frog. They circle nest several times and
are joined by a neighbor. Male alights on nest and is joined by female
who takes frog and feeds young as male leaves. Left blind at 8:55.
Wednesday, May 27th. Arrived at blind at 6:30 A.M. Sun half
an hour high; hot and humid; no breeze. Female perched in nearby
dead tree. Young birds surrounded by a haze of biting gnats and
mosquitoes. They keep shaking their head and trying to defend them-
selves from the insects. 6:45-Female preening feathers. 6:55-
Slight breeze stirring. 7:07-Male returns, circles nest, then flies
to female in dead tree, alighting long enough to give her chameleon,
then flies to distant tree and preens himself. Female come to nest with
chameleon and feeds. 7:15-Male leaves, female assists young in
battle with insect pests. 8:15-Getting cloudy. 8:40-Male brings
wasp's nest, and female feeds larvae to young. 8:45-Female leaves
nest to feed on insects in midair. Left blind 8:50.
Monday, June 1st. Arrived at blind 7:15 A.M. Neither parent
bird around. 7:26-Male brings small chameleon to female; smaller
nestling swallows it whole. An almost solid patch of black feathers
on the backs of the young birds. Weather dark, cloudy. (The first
hurricane of the season is reported near Cuba.) 7:40-Male brings
another chameleon; smaller bird swallows it but has the customary
difficulty with the tail. 7:42-Female brings small piece of green
moss. Larger nestling takes it, then drops it on nest, evidently realiz-
ing that it is not edible. Female leaves. Young birds anticipate arrival
of either parent with a fairly loud cheeping. Female busies herself
working on nest, buries beak in nest lining and presses firmly down.
Gray feathers look much darker on this damp, dark day. She wrestles
with a large twig, finally gets it to lie down on edge of nest. Tries to
move it, it falls off nest, she watches it fall. Young birds act as if
they want to be brooded, but they are almost too large. They get
partly under her. 8:00-Young birds have gotten fairly well under
EVERGLADES NATURAL HISTORY
female. Head of larger young bird has a pinkish yellow discoloration,
probably due to feathers replacing down. Hard to tell the difference.
The call note of a crested flycatcher apparently deceives them into
behaving as if it were a call of the male approaching. 8:12-Male
brings wasp's nest and young birds stand side by side as female extracts
larvae and feeds them. When wasp nest is empty, female tears off
bits of it and gulps them down. Female leaves carrying remains of
wasp's nest, transferring it to her feet and continuing to tear at it.
Alights in distant tree and preens feathers. Young birds yawn, stretch
and preen their feathers. 8:27-Male brings chameleon and larger
birds gets it. Smaller bird tugs at it but soon loses hold, and larger
bird swallows it. 8:35-Male brings nestling bird; another tug of
war takes place; larger bird wins out. (I had removed top of blind,
but bird came to nest anyway; although he apparently disapproved
of my being so conspicuous.) Red-shouldered hawk is calling nearby
and keeps coming closer to nest. It is closer than female, but she
seems unconcerned. 8:55-Hawk perches about thirty-five yards north-
east of nest, appears to be an immature bird. 9:00-Hawk moving
closer, down among the trees, sixty feet west of nest. Female comes
as if to investigate, hawk moves away, calling loudly, female hotly
pursues it, driving it from vicinity. She returns to nest, bringing a
sprig of green moss. 9:15-Male brings wasp's nest, returns in fifteen
seconds with chameleon, then returns a minute later with a nestling
bird. Smaller bird complaining of hunger. 9:18-Male brings
chameleon, smaller bird gets it. 9:22-Female leaves nest. 9:23-
Male brings chameleon, larger bird gets it. Parents circling overhead
giving alarm note. Hawk moves closer, calling. Female still circling.
Left blind at 9:30.
Friday, June 5th. Arrived at blind at 7:00 A.M. Louis A. Stim-
son of Miami is with me to make plans for banding the young birds,
as there is no official banding record for the swallow-tailed kite.
7:05-Female brings dead limb, places it on nest and leave imme-
diately. 7:20-Female brings another dead branch and drops it on
edge of nest. Smaller bird appears sluggish. Other bird plucks at
its body feathers but is ignored. The feathers on their underparts are
decidedly buffy, more pronounced so on large bird. Their backs have
IVAN D. SUTTON
now become largely covered with black feathers. 8:30-Female brings
tree frog; larger bird gets it. (This was the first time that I observed
the female bringing food.) 8:37-Female brings what appears to be a
large insect, possibly a dragon fly, and larger bird gets it. 9:10-
Male brings tree frog; larger bird takes it. Man-o'-war bird and kite
playing "tag" to southeast. Two more man-o'-war birds to the north-
east. 9:20-Male brings tree frog, larger bird swallows it, then makes
a vicious attack on smaller bird, tugging at feathers on wings and top
of head. Smaller bird tries to avoid older and nearly falls off edge
of nest. Smaller bird moves to other side of nest, and trouble ends.
9:50-Female brings chameleon, larger bird swallows it, and again
makes attack on smaller bird. Has succeeded in drawing blood on
bend of wing and on legs. 10:25-Female brings two tree frogs, larger
bird swallows them. (On separate trips-at no time did I see more
than one food item brought per trip.) Small bird obviously ill, stands
with lowered head, closed eyes, and makes no attempt to take food
or to excrete. We left blind at 10:30.
Sunday, June 7th. Arrived at blind at 7:30 A.M. The smaller
bird is dead. All that is left is a mound of flesh and feathers in the
bottom of nest and a few green flies buzzing around. The remaining
bird looks surprisingly grown up and feathered out. 8:00-Female
brings chameleon, but appears to criticize me for having the top off
the blind and standing up. Departs toward the southeast. Fair breeze,
light clouds. Young bird's head has a decidedly pinkish buffy cast.
It has lost every trace of down. 8:10-Female brings dead twig with
green moss growing on it. Young bird seizes it, and female departs.
Fledgling holds it a moment, drops it on nest and cheeps hungrily.
Female circles nest, male flies over, parents depart. The young bird
has apparently learned to distinguish the parents from other kinds of
birds, for it usually starts cheeping only when one of the parents is
approaching. (Once a kite came by, and the young birds set up their
clamor, but the adult continued on away. I assumed this was not one
of their parents.) Fledgling is preening feathers. 8:45-Male brings
tree frog, and fledgling gulps it down, then starts tugging at remains
of the other fledgling bird. Makes no progress, too dry and hard.
EVERGLADES NATURAL HISTORY
It occasionally stretches its wings but makes no effort to exercise them.
9:10-An osprey comes by and fools young bird. The fledgling acted
as if the fish hawk were one of its parents. 9:15-Female brings tree
frog; fledgling gulps it down, again tears at remains of other bird but
soon looses interest. 9:45--Female brings another chameleon. She
no longer tarries at nest, nor do parents stay nearby as they formerly
did. 9:55-A lone adult white ibis comes by. Young bird now shows
disposition to crouch low in nest with head extended, after the manner
of osprey young. 10:10-Man-o'-war bird sails over. 10:27-Female
brings chameleon. Left blind at 10:30.
Tuesday, June 9th. Arrived at blind 7:15 A.M. Young bird
reclining on nest. Saw female circling to northwest. 7:28-Female
brings, and young bird swallows, a tree frog. 7:35-Female brings
dead twig with green moss growing on it. Young bird complaining.
8:23-Female brings what appears to be a nestling bird. 8:53-
Female brings tree frog. 9:20-Male comes swiftly in toward nest,
circles twice in a sort of half dive and leaves toward the south. 9:37-
Female brings tree frog. Left blind at 9:45.
IVAN D. SUTTON
(The monotonous chirruping that I hear almost every time I'm
here may be the black-whiskered vireo. A more varied song that I
occasionally hear is the white-eyed vireo, so Mr. Stimson informs me.
Other birds commonly heard are crested flycatchers and red-bellied
woodpeckers. I have seen cardinals, gray kingbirds, whose song is a
surprise to those of us who are familiar with the eastern kingbird, a
pileated woodpecker, and one day a palm warbler made me a lengthy
visit in the nest tree. I should also mention the cuckoos that I hear
regularly, but never see, and which I suspect, have been furnishing
nestlings for the kites. Its call starts with a sound like rapidly striking
a hollow wooden block and ends with notes more typical of the yellow-
billed cuckoo. This may be the rarely seen mangrove cuckoo.) The
blind and the kite's nest are in the black mangrove trees and the tiny,
waxy white, blossoms seemed never to change during my stay at the nest.
Friday, June 12th. Arrived at blind at 8:20 A.M. Today is bird-
banding day, and Mr. Stimson is with me to do the banding while I
film the event. We brought another extension ladder to facilitate climb-
ing the nest tree. While I am climbing to the blind with Mr. Stimson's
movie camera, as well as my own, he is preparing to climb the nest
tree and band the young bird. 8:40-Female brings tree frog. 9:05-
Mr. Stimson climbs nest tree, old birds not around. 9:10-Female
arrives with food, is alarmed at seeing Stimson at nest, but fails to
dive at him. Instead, she circles about, uttering alarm note, and
finally perches in a dead tree nearby. 9:15-Mr. Stimson bands
young bird and retires from nest tree. Female appears to want to come
to nest with food but acts afraid. 9:23-Female makes several passes
at nest and then returns to perch. (I have never seen a kite perch
in a live tree.) 9:30-Female circles nest twice and returns to perch.
9:40-I leave blind, and as I descend ladder, female comes to nest
and feeds young bird.
Tuesday, June 16th. Arrived at blind at 8:10 A.M. Young bird
facing the blind in a quiet, but alert manner. Old birds were heard
uttering alarm before I left the boat. Two neighbors were with them, but
all four departed when I reached the blind. It seemed almost that
my presence reassured them and they felt free to leave. 8:20-Female
brings tree frog. 8:30-Young bird shifts around on nest, snapping
EVERGLADES NATURAL HISTORY
at mosquitoes, but, apparently has no desire to exercise its wings. Its
primaries appear to be about two inches longer than its tail, which
is rather stubby, but shows a definite tendency to be notched. 8:42-
Male parent flies over but has no food. He flies to the northwest, rises,
and sails high in the air. 8:48-Female brings tree frog. Left blind
Friday, June 20th. Park naturalist Willard E. Dilley of the Ever-
glades National Park is with me to try to get some still pictures of the
kite at the nest. We arrive at 8:12 A.M. and see both parent birds
sailing over the nest site before we tie up the boat. The birds utter
alarm notes as we approach the nest tree. Climbing to blind, we find
that young bird has left the nest. We see it perched in a nearby tree
and identify it by its nearly square tail. It has lost most of the buffy
wash on its underparts, and is more nearly the color of the adult birds,
although its back is much blacker. 8:22-Young bird flies to another
tree and has trouble getting, and maintaining, balance. 8:28-Female
approaches and circles twice before alighting to give the young bird
a chameleon. Young bird still gives customary cries of hunger at her
approach. 8:53-Male bird circles over but makes no attempt to
feed young bird. 9:45-Old birds, with four kite neighbors, engage
in game of "tag". 10:15-All the adult birds leave as we continue
work of removing blind and ladder. 11:00-We leave area with kites
flying overhead giving alarm notes.
At no time did I see the male actually give food directly to the
young. On the occasion when he lit on the nest with food when the
female was absent, he appeared at a loss as to what to do. (This is
clearly shown in my movies.) The female finally came to the nest,
took the food from him, and fed it to the young. As soon as the female
began leaving the nest area to seek food for the young, I hardly saw
the male bird bring food again. He occasionally flew near the nest
as though making an inspection tour, but did not alight at or near
Two thousand feet of movie film, part of a roll of 35mm. color
transparencies, and a few assorted stereo pictures, plus a used blind,
are all I have to show for the most enjoyable time that I spent with
the swallow-tailed kites. And they remain-my favorite bird.
". .. boasted of seventy-five spoonbills on Nest Key."
Those Were the Good Old Days
by C. R. VINTEN photograph by Ralph S. Palmer
BACK IN THE good old days, when the Everglades National Park
was merely a green patch on the map, I was fortunate to be one
of the few who could take off with Barney Parker or Art Eiffler for an
exploratory trip into treacherous Florida Bay or the solitude of the
mangrove country. My recollections of these expeditions, at all seasons
of the year, go back to 1934. Twenty years is long enough for the
mellowing influences of time to create a halo around these experiences.
Those were the good old days, when the National Audubon Society
worked miracles with two or three wardens in the vast region south of
the Tamiami Trail. From Duck Rock south to Tavernier, the rookeries
had responded to the devotion of these men. Fifty-thousand white ibis
at Duck Rock was the "guesstimate" of Warden Lester Karcher. Out
of Tavernier in Florida Bay, Art Eiffler boasted of seventy-five spoon-
bills on Nest Key. Barney Parker's wood ibis at the East River
Rookery and at Cuthbert Lake Rookery were acknowledged as wildlife
shows of national significance. Trips during the nesting season were
I have always claimed that the greatest thrills came to those early
crusaders who braved the elements and obstacles of a real wilderness
EVERGLADES NATURAL HISTORY
before the "improvements" and the "public" moved in. Cruising into
unknown waters or crashing brush to reach a new discovery offers a
reward that is every bit as exciting as it is impressive.
In those good old days, a trip could cover great distances for two
or three days without a break in the solitude; other humans and other
boats were looked upon as brazen intruders, and they were rarely seen.
Those who ventured into this remote country were bound to acquire
a sense of personal possession to be shared with no one but the man
who knew how to take you in and bring you back safely. The objective
one would prescribe for this area was that it should always remain
this way, a haven for herons and ibis, and a personal retreat for a few
who wished to get away from it all. It was just that sort of sanctuary,
back in the good old days. We seemed to enjoy the experiences more
because there were so few who could do the same.
We even interpreted the Act of Congress of 1934 as a legal barrier
to any invasion of this private sanctuary. The area should be "per-
manently reserved as a wilderness," and "no development . under-
taken which will interfere with the preservation intact of the unique
flora and fauna and the essential primitive natural conditions. ..."
Back in the good old days, we were certain that this meant that nothing
should be changed here.
Of course, these early recollections are well punctuated with ex-
periences which were working against such visionary ideals. In one
day, eighteen fires were counted south of the "Trail" within the project
boundary. When the birds left the rookeries for the season there were
no other wildlife spectacles to be seen. A survey of the informed
natives at Flamingo produced an estimate that only twenty-four croco-
diles had survived the hunters, and the estimate was claimed to be
generous. In the off-season, trips with Barney Parker or Art Eiffler
proved to me that here was a country where you could see further and
see less than anywhere else in the world. When nothing could be seen
above water level, the writer prospected below the surface with rod
and reel to break the monotony. Alligators, manatees, coons, and the
rarer forms knew that the sound of a power boat meant gun fire. At
these seasons there was an unbroken silence in the daytime, and sun-
set merely intensified the solitude. There must have been some life in
C. R. VINTEN 87
this vas region but no announcements were being made by any critter
except the whine of mosquitoes.
The environment for wildlife was unhealthy. The "unique flora and
fauna" of the Act of 1934 was somewhere around in hiding; but the
destructive instincts of the exotic and predatory human species had
produced a native wildlife population that had the daylights scared
out of it. If humans were to be kept out of the sanctuary, perhaps
these were the ones we had in mind. The "primitive natural conditions"
were treated roughly and ruthlessly. As late as 1944, the sight of fresh
tracks of a deer, bob-cat, or even a raccoon was accepted as exciting
news; and surely such things as otter, bear, and panther had been
exterminated. The big birds, of course, were there in quantity, but
in a nervous sort of way, because two or three wardens in this vastness
could not stop the slaughters in the rookeries completely.
A short year later, in 1945 the Everglades National Wildlife Refuge
was established and the horizon of protection began to expand. A few
more wardens were patrolling the roads and streams and gun fire
became an unwelcome sound. When I was on a trip up East River
in 1946, a big gator appeared up ahead, coming toward us. He
passed us close by, on the surface, and rode the wake of the boat as
an expression of confidence. A little gator on the bank could have
been touched with a casting rod, but he was not disturbed and watched
us go by.
In another year the National Park had become established. A few
short years of protection, and everything had come out of hiding.
Then people in droves began the "invasion" of the sanctuary, but
"the unique flora and fauna" found the new environment attractive.
Fires were controlled, improvised and permanent facilities were pro-
vided, and the mere presence of crowds who came to enjoy these
"unique" things was discouraging to those of "the good old days" who
plundered the area of its "flora and fauna." One could no longer shoot
a gator or dig a Paurotis palm under the searching eyes of a quarter of a
million visitors who came to look and learn. The rangers, and the
public, are now enforcing the Act of Congress which said "the area
... shall be permanently reserved as a wilderness." As the attendance
graph climbed, the fear of man decreased in direct proportion.
EVERGLADES NATURAL HISTORY
But, what happened to our philosophy of holding this great wilder-
ness as a private retreat? Well-like all national park areas, the ac-
complishments have been planned and benefits have been anticipated.
We folks in the National Park Service, especially, have received a
double dividend here. The wilderness and the solitude will long be
there; the flora, the fauna, and "the essential primitive natural con-
ditions," now have real assurance of preservation; and we have the
added thrill of seeing others enjoy wildlife in abundance which was
mighty scarce back in "the good old days." With the passing of these
days has come the first glimpse of otters in the park, deer south of the
Tamiami Trail in broad daylight, crocodiles crossing the road at West
Lake, and dozens of shy things never seen before in our generation
are now permanent features in the wilderness picture.
So, if some well-meaning soul should be so reckless as to say in
1955, "you boys and girls have disturbed the wilderness with this road
or that trail," please, dear reader, take time to give him a brief picture
of the good old days. Invite him to slip into any of the vast acres
which stretch beyond the road or trail. The chances will be that this
year, and in the future, the silence and solitude of such a venture
will not be the same as in the good old days. The sights and sounds of
critters unafraid will prove that "essential primitive natural condi-
tions" have been restored after a half-century of abuse and neglect.
And, what is more important, the story does not end here. The
accomplishment of the past eight years is only a sample of how con-
servation and public enjoyment can move forward together. The
Everglades National Park has recovered so much in this short time
from the oppression of the good old days that we can merely use this
experience as a yardstick to measure the great advances which are in
store for this and for future generations. Let's be thankful that "the
good old days" ended when they did.
No Butterfly Like the Heliconian
by ROLAND T. BIRD
In the March issue the author described his success at home in the
pineland near Homestead, in attracting the incomparable tropical
heliconian so that he had his own little night roosting flock.
THIS SAME DECEMBER, with the arrival of the first frosty weather,
I knew my little flock must soon fall off in numbers, and it did,
dropping from eighteen to sixteen. Still later more would go, until
at last recurring cold snaps and other acts of nature must kill off
the last one. Curious as to how long it would be before this came to
pass, I began checking the number using the roost each night, and
marked six individuals in order to keep direct tabs on a cross section.
A good way to mark heliconians is to snip notches in their wings with
scissors. They will seldom attempt to fly if lifted carefully from the
roost, and go on pretending to sleep when replaced.
The next cold snap came in late December, with a chill afternoon
wind threatening to blow all night-one of those frosty winds south
Florida truck growers must suffer sleepless as long as it may last.
All of the heliconian butterflies in Florida must have felt that wind;
they turned toward their roosting places before it, sensing the coming
of a numbing chill that must soon make them incapable of flying,
knowing that to be blown into unsheltered areas might easily spell
death. Perhaps those heliconians farther west around the Gulf coast,
where the butterfly habitat swings through the lower Rio Grande valley
into Mexico, felt the advance of the same cold front, and were affected.
The sixteen on my place reached their roost around three P.M., but
by the time I checked them more closely with a lantern after nightfall,
they still seemed in for a rough time; the now strong wind pitched
the roost about like a ship in a hurricane. And as I looked closer,
EVERGLADES NATURAL HISTORY
I saw something which indicated at least five must lose part of their
wings before morning.
The pigeon pea bush bearing the dead branch roost stood next to a
small open tree less affected by the passing gusts. As the pigeon pea
was tossed about, the roost raked a bare branch of this tree; coming
into direct contact with this sawing motion, hung the wings of the five
endangered butterflies, too numb to fly. For a moment I watched this
movement, feeling somehow sorry I had noticed it; I was cold and
tired and wished to return indoors. I didn't want to tamper with nature:
two of the five butterflies were marked. Then, feeling somewhat sheep-
ish in more ways than one, and glad no one was around to see me
do it, I brought a large piece of plywood to the clearing to serve as a
windbreak for the roost.
If this unprecedented action prolonged the lives of any of the
sixteen heliconians that night, it only did so to plunge them into an-
other precarious cold day. It was nearly noon before the sun warmed
them enough to enable them to fly feebly to the flame vine, where it
was essential they must feed to hold their strength. For many months
this vine had been spreading into places I hadn't wanted it to grow,
but I hadn't bothered to check it. Now its cascades of orange-red
blossoms, tumbled about the outer edge of my jungle, were the heli-
conians' chief objective. Fourteen managed to make it. I am not
sure about the other two, for they failed to return to the protection
of the roost at four o'clock, when the temperature, still cool, again
began to drop. One of the missing butterflies had been a marked one.
The passing of the cold snap saw another jungle inhabitant survive:
one of the very large spiders you often encounter in their immense
webs hanging across clearings in hammocks and sometimes in avocado
groves. The sight of her made me wonder if spiders played significant
parts in the lives of heliconians; I had never seen one entrapped in a
web. In fact, thinking back, it seemed to me the butterflies led charmed
lives insofar as spiders were concerned, flying fearlessly around the
webs as if well aware and even contemptuous of the lurking spider,
doubtless the result of evolutionary instincts come down to them through
countless generations of spider-to-butterfly associations. But even as
ROLAND T. BIRD
instinct is not always a guaranty against accident, I was moved, a few
days later, to again interfere with nature and save a butterfly's life.
This particular spider had long inhabited the clearing by the pitcher
pump. But as the web was out of the way very high up, I had suffered
her to remain; I had even tossed horse flies to her once or twice, earlier
in the season, when horse flies were abundant. As for the butterfly,
I might not have noticed its accident at all if I hadn't been paying
particular attention to the heliconians.
I had entered the clearing to see: first, the butterfly struggling fran-
tically against the sky; next, the swaying, jerking web, like some evil
net; and next, the great spider coming down and advancing upon her
victim. Her long forelegs were lifted to strike, but I moved instantly
and saved the butterfly. As its flapping struggles were pretty pathetic,
and the spider had been extremely ugly, I experienced no compunction
upon watching the released creature fly away unharmed. It was not
one of the marked individuals, but carried away with it a split wing,
identifying it in a manner which would remind me of its close call
for many days to come.
The month of January passed and February rolled around. Mean-
while we had experienced two more short periods of frosty weather,
not severe or lasting, but enough to deplete the butterfly flock of five
more members, two of them marked. This situation soon was partly
offset by the arrival of three new migrants, possibly from the nearest
hammock, where February nectar supplies, unbolstered by flame vine,
were apparently low. Then, along in the middle of the month, with
twelve butterflies still coming to the roost, a series of casualties oc-
curred among them, unprecedented in all of my observations.
The day preceding had been one of those golden ones of winter sun-
shine which always make you feel so good to be in south Florida, and
so superior to those acquaintances who must suffer snow and ice in
more northern latitudes. I had counted the butterflies that evening,
with fireflies winking enchantingly about in the velvet darkness; a night
entirely windless and carrying no hint of disaster. Then, in the cool
dawn of the next golden morning, I happened to pass the butterfly roost
and, glancing toward where I expected them to still be at rest, saw noth-
EVERGLADES NATURAL HISTORY
ing but empty perch. And underneath, black and gold against the
ground, lay strewn a litter of shorn wings like so many autumn leaves.
My first impression was that either a cotton mouse or one of those
little woods rodents which climb Spanish needles to cut down the last
few inches of stem to get the seeds, had devoured every last butterfly.
But a quick count of wings indicated that eight butterflies had flown in
time to save their lives; the sixteen shorn wings had made the situation
appear worse than it really was. Presently I saw a sun-warmed sur-
vivor fly from a nearby bush to the flame vine and, reassured the rest
must be scattered about, took the shorn wings to my desk in the house,
where I arranged them in their proper relationships, noting with relief
that none came from marked individuals. It seemed too bad to lose
four more butterflies, but the incident had its bright side. It was one
factor regarding heliconians I had never known to be recorded. It
was a case when the "protective scent" had failed to work. And in
anticipation of another possible raid, I set four unbaited mouse traps
around the base of the pigeon pea in such a manner that a mouse would
have difficulty reaching the plant without tripping one of their little
A light rain began to fall that evening, marking another weather
change. The eight butterflies roosted very early, and I arranged the
plywood windbreak in such a manner it kept most of the driving drops
off the little sleepers. In the morning I found one of the mouse traps
sprung, but it was empty, having seemingly been set off by one of the
The rain continued throughout the day, and as it had turned quite
cool, I expected to lose more butterflies through exposure and starva-
tion, important factors now at the tag end of the season. The next
morning the rain gave way to wind, whipping those butterflies about
unmercifully that attempted to reach the flame vine. I saw one in-
dividual blown from a coffee bush and carried along the path like a
driven leaf. I rescued it and returned it to a more sheltered place,
all to no avail; when it tried to buck the wind again, it was beaten to
the ground. Then I carried it indoors into a darkened room, roosting
it beneath a bookshelf in hope of keeping it alive until the weather
moderated. This, too, was without success. It died that night, drop-
ROLAND T. BIRD
ping to the floor, accounting for the death of another marked butterfly,
and reducing my little flock to seven.
Normal weather again brought the night raider to the roost where
he somehow succeeded in crossing the mouse traps to devour three
more butterflies before the rest flew to save their lives.
I saw the wing litter as I approached the perch with a lantern about
nine o'clock in the evening, a pathetic pile of little fairy wings, some
lying upon the still unsprung traps. Some lay underside up, showing
those bright red specs of color you may note upon sleeping individuals
if you observe them at very close range: little pin point specs close to
the body, five on a side, worn like little secret badges seemingly to
identify the individual from the surrounding order of true dead leaves.
Two pair of wings had come from marked butterflies.
Perhaps the marauder climbed the pea bush for a third time two
nights later, and the surviving butterflies, conditioned by other raids,
all flew at what may have been the first hint of movement. At any
rate, possibly as a result of such a fright, they roosted on another
pigeon pea bush seventy-five feet to the east on the following night, an
exposed location which they were forced to abandon on the first evening
there was wind. By then only three were left to return to the old perch,
and to forestall any further visits from the night raider, I wrapped
a piece of thin tin around the lower trunk of the pigeon pea in such a
manner that no small mammal could climb its smooth surface.
The coming of March made me feel that the butterflies might now
live until the new season's heliconians began to hatch, as I had seen
happen on Paradise Key. At the same time my wife and two step-
daughters began to take note of the three survivors. For many weeks
they had been conscious of my going out at all hours of the night to
"check the butterflies," and had listened with casual interest to my re-
ports. Now, with the group approaching the vanishing point, I found my-
self no longer alone. There were often cries of "wait for me" adding
time though not displeasure to the usual routine. As to questions re-
garding how long any of the three butterflies might last, I could only
shake my head. Each butterfly had easily recognizable features, and
all were given names: Split Wing, Dusty and Mildred. Mildred was
just a large and beautiful female; Dusty a little fellow with wings so
EVERGLADES NATURAL HISTORY
badly rubbed he looked that way. As for Split Wing, the only in-
dividual left with any semblance of markings, the near victim of the
big spider, he had been around so long he seemed as much a part of
the place as the coffee bushes.
Much to my surprise, big Mildred, the strongest butterfly, was the
first to go. I think she was carried off on the same wind which blew
in a small heliconian in rather poor condition, a newcomer that left
again after spending one night with Split Wing and Dusty.
Time is a common denominator in the lives of both insects and hu-
mans, and I have often wondered if it passes as swiftly for them as it
does for me. In any case, Split Wing and Dusty continued to roost
again and again with the old regularity at the pigeon pea roost. And
as the days wore on, I found myself developing a growing attachment
for these last two butterflies, one which I would have blushed to admit
to anyone not familiar with the circumstances. Just to see them in
the morning, coming to the flame vine in that peculiar throbbing flight,
filled me with an elation I now find a little hard to express, an elation
equalled only by finding them back on the roost that night, like two
last-year's autumn leaves refusing to fall. At the same time the butter-
flies themselves seemed to have become inseparable; where one led,
the other followed.
Their flights about the brilliant blossoms of the flame vine were
like twin milkweed seeds being carried along and bobbed about by
the same air currents.
By the latter part of March I became so accustomed to the continued
miracle of their existence I began taking them for granted, sometimes
forgetting to check them at night. Then, when it began to appear that
we could expect no more cold weather, the northern sky darkened with
the threat of another approaching norther. I felt that winter was try-
ing to cheat now, and braced myself for the first chill blasts. I was glad
to see Split Wing and Dusty seeking their perch early in the afternoon.
The night was a rough one. The butterflies had great difficulty
reaching the flame vine the next day. I saw them in the early after-
noon when it became evident the norther would run through yet another
evening. Then, upon checking again, when I hoped to see them back
on their roost, I did not see them at all. But it was still early, and as
ROLAND T. BIRD
the two butterflies were not always easy to locate in the half acre of
range they occupied, I went off to gather firewood for a stove in my
I forgot the butterflies completely until a windy darkness had
fallen. Now the memory of not seeing them earlier gave me a real
feeling of concern. As I hastened to light a lantern, I felt that if I
hurried to the roost fast enough, I must surely find them there. And
on the way I wondered what I might do to assure them of one more
safe night, above and beyond what I had done before. For a moment
I considered leaving the lighted lantern in their vicinity to keep them
When I reached the roost, I was greeted with a bleak and empty
perch which did not seem real. In the harsh glare of the lantern, with
the wind growing more chill by the minute, it bobbed forlornly in the
shadows, a gray emptiness made the more barren because, in my
imagination, the butterflies were still there; I could see them as they
had hung upon scores of nights: little alert creatures trying hard not
to move as they stared in the unblinking manner of insects, while I,
the giant man with a hissing lantern that was like a frying sun, loomed
weirdly in its light. Split Wing had roosted here, to my certain
knowledge, a total of 68 nights. The lantern continued to hiss in typical
Coleman custom as I looked up into the surrounding wall of trees and
off into the chill, rustling darkness. Somewhere beyond those swaying
trees, somewhere out in that wind-whipped night, the last of the season's
little heliconian butterflies were gone forever.
I was glad to remember the egg-laying female I had seen in Decem-
ber and that May always brings new groups to the jungle.
Everglades National Park Pictorial
by RALPH S. PALMER
Blue jay waiting for leavings at the picnic tables
at Paradise Key, February 25, 1955. >
A six-foot 'gator.
at Anhinga Trail,
March 1, 1955.
98 EVERGLADES NATURAL HISTORY
RALPH S. PALMER
<- Snowy egret-the bird with the golden slipper-taking the sun on a small
cypress in Taylor Slough. Early morning near Anhinga Trail, March 1, 1955.
Adult tricolored heron concentrating on breakfast.
Near Royal Palm Ranger Station, February 14, 1955.
EVERGLADES NATURAL HISTORY
I ; t .
RALPH S. PALMER 101
<- Rare mangrove fox squirrel relaxing on a coconut palm trunk at
Everglades, January 1, 1954.
Wood ibis at home in East River
Rookery, February 23, 1955. V
EVERGLADES NATURAL HISTORY
The Frogs and Toads of the
Everglades National Park
by WILLIAM E. DUELLMAN and L. NEIL BELL
illustrated by Harold J. Walter
FAMILIAR to those who have been near a marsh or swamp on a rainy
summer night are the variety of melodies issuing forth from the
water and the surrounding trees and bushes. These sounds from a pond
in summer come from a group of animals, the frogs and toads, sur-
passed in vocal abilities only by the birds. Because of their singing
and their toleration of living in close proximity to man, we know these
animals much better than the more secretive salamanders. Like the
salamanders, the frogs and toads belong to that group of animals known
as Amphibians. They lead two lives, one in the water, and the other
on land. Their lives begin as poliwogs or tadpoles hatching from eggs
laid in the water. This part of the animal's life may last in some
species only a few days, or as in some others, for more than two years.
The tadpole first has a long tail, no legs, and it breathes by means of
gills, just as do fish. As it grows, legs appear, and lungs begin to form.
Shortly before these fellows leave the water, their hind legs become
long and developed for jumping, their gills disappear, and they begin
breathing air into their lungs. The change from tadpole to frog is
called metamorphosis or transformation; at that time the animal changes
from a fish-like animal to a frog, and from a life in the water to a
life on land.
In most cases the newly transformed frog is a miniature replica of
the adults. Some kinds grow to maturity within a few months while
others require as long as four years. Some frogs have webbed feet
and are well adapted to living in the water; others have suction discs
on their toes so that they are able to cling to vertical surfaces and live
in trees; still others have short, powerful legs which are used in digging.
EVERGLADES NATURAL HISTORY
This last group includes toads and a few frogs that may spend a part
of their life buried in the ground.
When the frogs are ready to breed, with the advent of the first
summer rains the males move to ponds or temporary pools of water.
Once there they begin singing; each variety of frog or toad has its
own song or call, and we can easily learn to recognize them. How-
ever, the peculiarity of the songs is not solely for our benefit, because
the singing of the males serves to attract the females (and other males)
of that species of frog to that particular pond. The sounds are pro-
duced by the frog forcing air back and forth from its lungs into a loose
pouch of skin usually situated in the throat. This pouch is called the
vocal sac, and it may be small and inconspicuous, or it may be quite
large for the size of the animal as in the oak toad.
Once the males have attracted the females to the ponds, the mating
takes place with the male clasping the female from above with his
forelimbs while they are both in the water (see figure of southern toad).
At this time the eggs are laid and fertilized. One female may lay
only a few dozen or as many as several thousand eggs. These may
be laid singly or in strings or large masses, attached to plants in the
water, lying on the bottom of the pond, or floating free. Toad eggs
are laid in long, winding strings and by this are easily distinguished
from frog eggs. Some frogs, one of which occurs in the Everglades
National Park, lay their eggs in damp places on the ground, and when
the eggs hatch, small frogs emerge. In these the tadpole stage is passed
in the egg. Therefore, these frogs are not dependent upon having
bodies of water in which to lay their eggs.
With the exception of Antarctica, frogs occur on every continent.
About 100 different kinds of frogs and toads live in North America;
a few of these are able to live in the Arctic regions, while certain toads
are found only in the southwestern deserts. However, it is in the
warmer and more humid climates of the southeastern states that the
greatest variety and number of frogs occur. These amphibians live
only in a small part of the vast area of the Everglades National Park.
The salt-water of Florida Bay and the extensive brackish mangrove
swamps are unfit for amphibian life, since neither the adults nor the
tadpoles are able to tolerate the salt water. Consequently in the Ever-
DUELLMAN AND BELL
glades National Park frogs and toads are found only inthe fresh-water.
Everglades, the pinelands, and the hammocks.
Most frogs have rather smooth skin, while that of toads is rough
and glandular. These glands or "warts" give off a secretion which is
sometimes irritating or even poisonous to small animals. This secre-
tion, however, does not cause warts on humans.
Frogs and toads are useful economically in two ways. We first
think of them for frog legs to eat, and the frog leg business in southern
Florida is of some commercial importance. For this purpose bullfrogs
and leopard frogs are extensively used. Secondly, frogs and toads
are helpful to man because of their feeding habits. All of them feed
to a greater or lesser extent on insects and in this way help to control
numerous pests. A few large toads in a vegetable garden may be
Toads have a rough glandular skin, boney ridges on the top of the
head, and an especially large gland (called parotoid gland) back of
the eye and above the ear drum or tympanum. There are two kinds
of true toads in southern Florida. The largest of these is the southern
toad, Bufo terrestris terrestris. The females are much larger than the
males, the former often growing to a length of more than four inches,
while the males rarely exceed 21/2 inches. The color above is light
grayish- or yellowish-brown with brown or olive brown blotches. The
belly is cream colored, and the throat in males is black.
Although found in the Everglades, the southern toad is most abun-
dant in the pine forests. We also often find them in town and about
houses, where they may be seen at night below a street light or car
port light eating the insects that fall to the ground upon hitting the
light. After rains during the summer months the high-pitched trill
of the male southern toad may be heard in the vicinity of almost any
body of water, whether it be a roadside puddle, drainage ditch, pond,
or temporary pool. The males sing from the water. Once he finds
a female, the male clasps her from behind with his forelimbs. While
thus held the female lays her eggs in long strings, and these are fertil-
ized by the male as they are laid. In two to four days the eggs hatch.
The tiny tadpole grows to nearly an inch in length, and after four to
EVERGLADES NATURAL HISTORY
six weeks, the limbs are developed, the tail is absorbed into the body,
and a little toad less than half an inch long begins its life on land.
One female may deposit as many as 3,000 eggs. Naturally, all
of these do not hatch and mature into adult toads, for if that were
true, the world would soon be overrun with toads. Often the temporary
ponds in which the eggs are laid dry up before the tadpoles transform
into frogs. The tadpoles and small toads are eaten by various birds
and snakes, so that only a very small percentage of them survive to
^ The second toad that we find in southern Florida is the oak toad,
Bufo quercicus. It is one of the most common and widespread Florida
amphibians, being found in large numbers in both the pine forests
and in the Everglades. Only about one inch long, these small toads
are more often heard than seen, for the loud "peep" of the males is
audible for a considerable distance. To be in the midst of a large
concentration of singing males is a deafening experience.
This toad may be identified by its small size and by the presence
of a light yellow line down the middle of the back. The head is small,
and the nose pointed. Th'ieolor above is light gray or brown with
dark brown or reddish blotches. The belly is white. The large vocal
sac of the males when inflated is sausage-shaped.
Unlike the spadefoot and the southern toad, the little oak toad is
often active during the day. On several occasions we have found them
hopping about in the pine forest at mid-day. Males sometimes call
during the day. The favorite food of the oak toad is ants, the rest
of the diet being made up of various kinds of beetles and other insects.
The spadefoot, Scaphiopus holbrooki, although superficially re-
sembling a toad, really is not a toad. It is colored light brown or
greenish above with dark brown markings and has a white belly. The
pupil of the large, protruding eye is vertical. Upon transforming from
the tadpole stage the little spadefoot is only about half an inch long,
but it grows to a maximum size of 21/2 inches. The name spadefoot
comes from the fact that there is a horny, crescent-shaped structure on
each hind foot. The spadefoot uses this "spade" for digging in the
DUELLMAN AND BELL
Hrarold I Waltfer
EVERGLADES NATURAL HISTORY
Spending most of their lives buried in the ground, these frogs
appear only after very heavy rains, at which time they congregate at
ponds and temporary pools of water to breed. The males float on the
surface of the water with legs out-stretched. Each time they inflate
the vocal sac, the back is arched, and the very loud nasal "waaank"
is emitted. When one is in the midst of a large corus of these frogs
the din is deafening.
The spadefoot does not live in the Everglades, but is found only
in the pinelands. They might be found in the pine woods near the
entrance to the park.
Si The leopard frog, Rana pipiens sphenocephala, is well known to
S most people. To see these frogs, all we have to do is walk along one
of the ponds or canals in the Everglades, such as along Anhinga Trail
at Taylor Slough. Presently there will be a splash a few feet in front
of us. With a little more precaution we may actually see the next frog
sitting on the bank before it leaps into the water. These are beautifully
marked frogs, being bright green or light tan above with dark brown,
rectangular spots arranged in rows on the back and sides. There is
a bright yellow fold of skin on either side of the back, and the belly
is pure white. Leopard frogs may reach a body length of four inches.
Leopard frogs call during the day as well as at night from the
canals and ponds in the Everglades. The call is a guttural croaking,
and the males do not congregate in large numbers when sinnging.T
eggs are laid in masses 5 to 6 inches across and 1 to 2 inches deep.
There may be several thousand eggs in one mass. Two or three months
are required for the tadpoles to grow to about three inches in length
before absorbing the tail and transforming into frogs about one inch
The leopard frogs are extremely abundant, and they serve as a
food item for many kinds of egrets, herons, and other birds, as well as
many mammals, raccoons in particular, and various snakes, especially
the water snakes.
The southern bullfrog, Rana grylio, is the largest frog found in
,f southern Florida. It reaches a head and body length of more than
six inches. Greenish-gray above with scattered dark green or black
spots on the back and legs and a white belly, they have large hind
DUELLMAN AND BELL
feet with the toes connected by a web of skin. Seldom venturing out
on land, the bullfrog is well adapted for its life in the water. Long
forceful kicks with its webbed hind feet serve to propel it through
the water at an amazing speed.
Although we may hear the pigjlike grunts of the males nearly
every month of the year from the ponds and canals in the Everglades,
especially Anhinga Trail and the pond next to the Royal Palm Ranger
Station, bullfrogs breed only during the warm summer nights. Their
individual egg masses may exceed a foot in diameter. After hatching,
the tadpoles grow to a length of about four inches, and after one or
two years transform into frogs. During this time many doubtless fall
prey to predatory fish, birds, and reptiles. Bullfrogs have voracious
appetites and will attack just about anything they can swallow. Large
individuals eat fish, other frogs, snakes, and even small turtles.
These frogs are hunted by commercial hunters for food. Their
practice of "jack-lighting" from an airboat and gigging the frogs on
a hook has considerably reduced the number of big frogs. Very large
individuals are now quite scarce. Fortunately they are protected
like everything else in the Everglades National Park, and there they
still remain abundant and reach a large size.
11azve/a' f/ld Jer
EVERGLADES NATURAL HISTORY
Southern Tree Frog
Southern Tree Frog
Cuban Tree Frog
//a /1wo 1f- JCfer
DUELLMAN AND BELL
The group of frogs commonly called tree frogs or tree toads is
found throughout the warm parts of the new world. There are three
tree frogs and three of their close relatives found in the Everglades
NIational Park. Real tree frogs have suction discs on the tips of the
fingers and toes, and with these they are able to climb with ease.
The most common and widespread member of this group in Flor-
ida is the southern tree frog, Hyla squirella. Little more than an inch
long, these frogs are usually pale green, but they are able to change
color quite rapidly to a light gray or brown. Sometimes faint darker
colored spots are apparent on the back, and there is always a white
line along the upper lip. On rainy summer nights it is possible to
drive considerable distances along the Tamiami Trail or from Home-
stead to Paradise Key without being out of range of their harsh-sound-
ing "waaaaaak" call. They often breed in the roadside ditches, where
the eggs are laid singly on the bottom. The tadpoles are about an
inch long and require nearly six weeks to transform into frogs. One
may easily find the southern tree frogs during the day by looking for
them in the folds in the leaves of cabbage palms and palmettos. Their
bundance and slowness make them easy prey for several kinds of
snakes, particularly ribbon snakes.
One of the most brightly colored frogs in this country is the green
tree frog, Hyla cinerea. Usually about two inches long and with long
hind legs, this frog is emerald green above with a well-defined white
stripe down either side. There may be scattered golden spots on the
back. More inclined to live in trees than the southern tree frog, the
males often call from trees or bushes at the margins of the ponds.
The breeding season extends from late spring to early fall. The eggs
are laid in small masses and attached to plants in the pond. The tad-
poles, which attain a length of 11/2 inches, transform about two months
after hatching. The "wounk-wounk-wgounk" call of the males is very
distinctive. The green tree frog is very common around Paradise Key.
The Cuban tree frog, Hyla septentrionalis, is an accidental immi-
grant from the West Indies. Large colonies have established them-
selves in Miami, Key West, and on some of the other keys. A few
of these frogs have been found at Paradise Key. It is quite possible
EVERGLADES NATURAL HISTORY
that this frog will establish itself in other hammocks throughout the
park; however, it does not live in the marshes of the Everglades.
This is a large tree frog; the females attain a body length of more
than four inches, while the males are considerably smaller. The color
above is light tan or gray with brown, gray, or greenish blotches. The
head is large and flat, and the toe discs are quite large. One must
look in the trees to find these frogs, and the males usually call from
the trees. The call is somewhat soft and guttural, and rather non-
descript. Eggs are laid in ponds in masses of more than 100. Upon
metamorphosis the little Cuban tree frogs are less than one inch long
and are light green with a white stripe on either side. The color pattern
soon changes to that of the adults.
The little tree frog, Pseudacris ocularis, really a tree frog rela-
tive, is the smallest North American frog. Only about half an inch
long when fully grown, they are light brown or gray or sometimes
greenish or reddish in color with a poorly defined darker stripe on
either side of the back. The eyes are large and protruding, and they
have no suction discs on the toes. This is a common frog of the Ever-
glades, but one must have considerable patience to find them. The
song is a high, shrill chirp, so high-pitched that it cannot be heard
by many people. The little tree frogs have a habit of sitting on blade
of sawgrass or other grasses in the marshes. Though you may hear
one just in front of you, you may not be able to see him, because, if
he is on the other side of the blade of grass, he may be completely
hidden from your view! The eggs are laid singly on the bottom of
the pond, and one female may lay as many as 100 at a time. After
seven to ten weeks the tadpoles transform into frogs little more than 1/4
of an inch long.
The chorus frog, Pseudacris nigrita verrucosa, is only about one
inch long. Rough-skinned and greenish-gray above with dark olive-
green spots arranged in rows on the back and sides, this frog is even
more difficult to find than the little tree frog. The chorus frog lives
in the rocky pine forests near the park entrance and breeds in the
sink-hole ponds formed by the collapse of the underlying limestone.
The males hide themselves in the midst of bunches of grass or in cracks
or holes in the rock at the edge of the pond. Upon the slightest dis-
DUELLMAN AND BELL
Ul- I ~
Little Tree Frog
EVERGLADES NATURAL HISTORY
turbance the singing may stop. It often takes half an hour to locate
one of these vocalizing midgets. The voice of the chorus frog may be \
easily imitated by running one's finger over the teeth of a pocket comb.
The eggs are deposited in small clumps of about 100, attached to
grasses in the water.
A small inhabitant of the Everglades is the cricket frog, Acris
gryllus dorsalis. This small frog usually does not attain a length of
more than 3/4 of an inch. The snout is pointed, and the legs are long.
The color above may vary from a green to a brown background with
dark brown bars on the sides. Usually there is a yellowish or reddish
stripe down the middle of the back. n the rear surface of the hind
legs are two brown stripes bordered by white. This last character is
sufficient to distinguish the cricket frog from any other in southern
The cricket frog lives in the Everglades where it abounds in the
shallow grassy ponds. Its voice, to which its name alludes, is a cricket-
like "gick-gick-gick-gick," repeated very rapidly. This may be imi-
tated by hitting two marbles together. The eggs are laid singly and
attached to vegetation in the pond. As many as 250 eggs may be laid
by one female. About two months after hatching the tadpoles trans-
form into frogs about half an inch long.
Because of their small size cricket frogs are easily supported by
the duck weed that floats on the surface of the ponds in summer. On
this medium they are able to hop about, but they can readily dive
through the duck weed to the safety offered beneath. When frightened,
cricket frogs make several hops in quick succession. Each of these is
usually in a sligthly different direction, making it possible for them
to quickly elude a would-be captor.
Toad-like, because of its fat, squat appearance, the narrow-mouth
toad, Gastrophryne carolinensis is not a true toad at all. This frog
is only about an inch long. It has a small head and pointed snout.
The legs are extremely short, and the body is very stocky. The color
above may be light gray, tan, or red, while the sides and the legs are
usually dark gray or brown. The narrow-mouth toad is found through-
out southern Florida, in the pielands as well as the Everglades. Dur-
ing the summer months the sheep-like "baaaa" of the males may be
DUELLMAN AND BELL
heard from the roadside ditches in the park. They call from the water
and may be entirely submerged except for the tip of the snout and the
small forefeet holding onto a blade of grass on the surface. The
eggs are laid in small batches of 10 to 100 on the surface of the pond;
however, one female may deposit several of these batches. The tad-
poles are small and black and transform in one or two months. The
narrow-mouth toad feeds entirely upon ants, and interestingly enough
it has been known to live in ant nests.
Ricord's frog, Eleutherodactylus ricordi planirostris, also reaches
a length of about an inch. The head is large, and the eyes are promi-
nent. The legs are long and slender, and the long toes have rather
large tubercles beneath each joint. The color is reddish-brown above.
There may be dark brown mottling on the back, or there may be a light
stripe on either side of the back.
This little frog lives on the floor of moist hammocks and in the
pineland. One may easily find them by walking along the Gumbo
Limbo trail on Paradise Key and turning over dead leaves and other
litter on the ground. The call is a bird-like chirp, and it may be heard
at night throughout the spring and summer. Ricord's frog does not
lay eggs in water. Egg clutches of 12 to 25 are laid in moist debris
or rotten logs in the hammocks. The tadpole stage is passed in the
egg. Upon hatching, the little frog is less than 1/4 of an inch long
and has a small tail and a little projection, or egg tooth on the snout,
both of which fall off shortly after hatching. Ants are the main item
The above short discussions cover all of the frogs and toads known
to occur in the Everglades National Park. After the next evening
rainstorm take a flashlight and go out along one of the roads in the
Everglades. You will be amazed at the abundance of these animals
and the enjoyment you can have observing them.
Natural History Notes
TURKEY VULTURE ATTACKS A LIVE COOT. On Saturday,
February 19, 1955, as in the cruise boat we approached Cuthbert
Rookery in the Everglades National Park during the late afternoon,
an interesting incident occurred 40 yards ahead of us, east of Rookery
Key. A turkey vulture swooped low over the water, and in the manner
of an eagle, seized and lifted a live coot approximately two feet out
of the water. As the cruise boat came closer, the vulture dropped
the coot and flew away. Perhaps the coot was not healthy, since it did
not dive when the turkey vulture attacked, but it easily swam away
apparently uninjured after being dropped.
Bent in his life history of the turkey vulture merely quotes Thomas
Gilbert Pearson (Auk, 1919) on the matter of turkey vulture attack-
ing live prey: "To a limited extent, our southern vultures feed on
living animals. Newly-born pigs are killed by them, and, in some of
the bird-colonies, young herons and ibises are often eaten." Probably
the event of a turkey vulture attacking an active, adult bird on open
water is unusual.-VERNON C. GILBERT, JR., Ranger-Naturalist, Ever-
glades National Park.
RED-SHOULDERED HAWK IN WATER. While exploring in
the Everglades about two miles south of Seven-Mile Fire Tower in the
National Park, I observed a large, brown bird vigorously thrashing
about in a heavy growth of sawgrass. Since the date was only Decem-
ber 28, 1954, about a foot of water remained in much of this part
of the Everglades from the summer and fall rains.
It was a hawk, and I pushed the canoe within about forty feet of
the spot in a vain attempt to discover the prey which I presume the
hawk was making this bold struggle to secure. However, the hawk
flew, only to alight quickly on a tall, wooden stake. A more bedrag-
gled red-shouldered hawk would be hard to imagine. Its tail and wing
feathers had become plastered with marl and probably presented only
NATURAL HISTORY NOTES
two-thirds of the surface which they normally would. The bird's
breast feathers clung together in sodden masses.
Having perched on this well-exposed stake, the hawk almost im-
mediately spread its wings and tail in anhinga or vulture fashion, and
began to dry its misshapen feathers. I approached within ten feet,
but the hawk's only evidence of concern was to emit a series of piercing
cries, all the while staring at me with a fixed, seemingly belligerent
expression. It continued its feather-drying pose, until I had worked
my way to within about seven feet of the stake. Then the hawk flew
to a distant group of willows, and began to dry its feathers anew.-
DAVID 0. KARRAKER, Ranger-Naturalist, Everglades National Park.
RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS ATTACK SHORT-EARED OWL.
While walking near the naked mud impoundment of filled land for
the development area at Flamingo in the Everglades National Park,
I heard hawks screaming. On the ground in the middle of the mud
flat crouched a bird, which through the binoculars I saw was an owl
instead of a hawk. As I watched, a red-shouldered hawk, Buteo lineatus,
stooped fiercely at the owl. Then another hawk flew into the fracas,
knocking the owl over. Again hawk number one made a strike. The
owl tried to dodge each assault but not to defend itself. Between
attacks by the red-shouldered hawks, the owl flew short distances toward
the rim of the mud flat. The hawks followed, perching on surveyor's
stakes driven into the ground here. Finally the owl reached the edge
of the open area and hid among the tangled weeds, but the hawks kept
up their assault. After watching almost an hour of this one-sided
skirmish, I started walking toward the birds. The hawks kept worry-
ing the owl, and I got within twenty feet before they gave up. Even
then they made one last assault, swooping within two feet of me.
At my feet I found that the victim was a short-eared owl, Asio
flammeus, exhausted and quite tractable. As I carried it to the car,
it snuggled close against me. We met some people, and the little fellow
hissed at them, but it seemed to remain quite friendly toward me.
After giving it fresh water to drink, we made it comfortable in a box.
At sun down with the help of ranger-naturalist David O. Karraker, we
found a place to liberate the owl in another part of the park. The
EVERGLADES NATURAL HISTORY
attacking incident took place on February 28, 1955, just after nine
in the morning, and the identification of the owl was checked by Mr.
Karraker.-MARY WIBLE, Carter Camp, Pennsylvania.
UNCOMMON DUCKS NEAR COOT BAY. During the month of
January and the first half of February, 1955, a number of people ob-
served several species of ducks which are uncommon in south Florida,
in a small pond on the Ingraham Highway three hundred yards north-
east of Coot Bay Pond in the Everglades National Park.
Both wading birds and ducks began to concentrate in this shallow
pond during the first week of January. By the twelfth of January
approximately twenty species of birds occupied the pond. Among the
ducks on this date, ranger-naturalist David Karraker and I identified
a male wood duck, Aix sponsa. By January 15 the number of species
in and around the pond had increased to twenty-five. District ranger
Vincent Mrazek, ranger Clifford Senne and I observed, in addition to
the wood duck, one male mallard, Anas platyrhynchos, and two male
green-winged teal, Anas carolinensis, swimming on the pond. Among
the birds wading in the pond there were six roseate spoonbills, Ajaia
ajaja. By January 17 there were twelve spoonbills wading and three
mallards swimming in the pond.
The apparent reason for the great concentration of birds was the
abundant supply of tiny fish swimming in the pond. I saw not only
ducks and wading birds, but coots, grackles, and red-winged blackbirds
join in feeding on the small fish. On the morning of January 21,
large numbers of birds remained in the pond. By mid-afternoon on
the 21st all but a few had unexpectedly disappeared, and for one week
a small number of coots swam alone in the pond. In the following
days other birds began to occupy the pond once again, and on February
1, in the late evening, I saw twenty male and female green-winged teal
swimming among a large number of other ducks.
The occurrence of the wood duck, mallard and green-winged teal
is considered rare in the Cape Sable area. Louis A. Stimson has re-
corded his observations of the green-winged teal here in the June,
1954 issue of this magazine.-VERNON C. GILBERT, JR., Ranger-Nat-
uralist, Everglades National Park.
COURTESY DAYTONA BEACH C. OF C. JACK CANSLER PHOTO
PIGMY SPERM WHALE STRANDS. The male pigmy sperm
whale, Kogia breviceps, shown above, was found on January 29, 1955,
washed up on the beach, three miles north of Ormond, Florida. The
Daytona Beach News Journal reported this stranding, in accordance
with its commendable habit of reporting all strandings and sightings
of unusual marine animals. Even though it was viewed by thousands
of passing tourists, the true identity of the animal was not established
due to the unfamiliarity of local residents and officials alike with this
rather rare species of whale. While this small whale in its general
appearance and size resembles a porpoise or dolphin, it can be easily
distinguished from a dolphin by its undershot lower jaw, which con-
tains approximately 16 pointed, curved teeth on each side. (In this
photograph the points of the teeth appear to be broken off.) Another
distinguishing feature is its complete lack of teeth on the upper jaw.
The body color is black on the back and light gray to white on the
underside. I believe that this is the eighth known specimen of a pigmy
sperm whale in waters of the State of Florida.-FRANK S. ESSAPIAN,
Marine Studios, Marineland, Florida.
Junior Natural History Department
by PEARL STAPLES FINN illustrated by Everett Gum
CATERPILLARS HAVE WINGS. There is a legend told of a
lost child following a beautiful butterfly out of the forest and so find-
ing his way home. In South America, men who travel in the jungles
are taught the directions in which certain butterflies migrate, to help
them find their way. So perhaps, there is some truth to the legend.
Butterflies are found in cold climates, warm climates; high on
mountains, in low plains; in fact anywhere there are flowering plants.
Have you ever tried to catch a big monarch as it flew lazily about?
Sometimes it seemed as if this beautiful orangy brown butterfly was
playing tag with you, so fearless it is. There is a reason for this fear-
lessness. It is protected by an odor, so birds and other animals know
this butterfly has a very bad taste. This is one of our most widely
known butterflies. Its large size, the wings spread about four inches,
its bright orange brown with white spots in black borders and black
veins make it easy to know.
The monarch is the most famous of our migrating butterflies. It
flies thousands of miles from its summer home in the north to spend
the winter in the Gulf states and other southern areas. Groups of
butterflies form and start south during autumn. Others join the flocks
as they fly southward. In some places thousands of monarchs arrive
on the same date each year to spend the winter in the same grove of
trees. They do not all leave at once in the spring, or make the whole
trip north. Some fly part way, lay eggs and die; it is the butterflies
which hatch from these eggs that make the trip north. A town in
California has strict laws to protect the millions of monarchs which
come there each winter. Killing of a butterfly may cost a person $500
in fines or six months in jail.
The zebra or heliconian, a tropical American butterfly, is found in
southern United States. You have seen it in south Florida, with the
- ii .
yellow stripes on its black wings suggesting its name zebra. I shall
never forget seeing my first flock of zebras. I had rowed across one
channel of the Barron river to an island in front of our house in Ever-
glades. In the partial shade of a thicket of guava trees were hundreds
of zebra butterflies slowly circling about. The flock was assembling
in the later afternoon to spend the night together. During the day,
each had gone his own way to find food. The bright yellow and black
coloring of the zebra helps protect it. Try following one and see how
quickly you lose sight of it flying through bits of sunshine in the deep
shade. As you can guess, the zebra loves the shade. The larvae live
on passion flower vines, so if you want zebra butterflies, plant their
favorite passion flowers.
I am sure you know butterflies go through other forms before they
are butterflies. From eggs laid by the female butterfly on just the
right food plant larvae called caterpillars hatch out. You can tell what
species of butterfly a larva will become from its size, color, patterns
and shape. Some are plain, smooth and one color. Others have dots,
EVERGLADES NATURAL HISTORY
stripes, blotches and patterns in dull and bright colors which help
protect them from their enemies. Ants like the sweet liquid from the
hollow spines on others, and help protect these caterpillars. Only as
larvae do butterflies harm plants, as only in this stage do they have
biting mouth parts. As butterflies they help develop the seeds by
carrying pollen from flower to flower.
After a larva has grown and shed its skin several times, it becomes
a pupa. In this stage the larva grows into a butterfly. It does not
eat or crawl about, but stays inside its pupal case. It does not look
like a caterpillar, but may look like a dead twig or rolled leaf, or be
brightly colored. The zebra pupa looks very odd, like a dead, broken
leaf. It seldom makes a cocoon, but holds itself in place by the horny
tip of its abdomen caught into a button of silk it has spun. It may
also fasten a belt of silk about its body. Some species of butterflies stay
in this pupal stage all through the winter. When the insect inside has
fully grown, the pupal case splits and the butterfly crawls out. It
spreads its soft, wrinkled wings and hardens them in the air, then flies
away, a full grown butterfly which will not change again. The butterfly
sucks food up through its long tube-like tongue which goes straight
into the nectar at the base of the flower. When not eating, the butter-
fly curls its tongue like a watch spring under its head.
It is sometimes difficult to tell a butterfly from a moth; so here are
some general differences. Most moths fly only at night, most butter-
flies in the day. Most moths rest with wings out flat, most butterflies
rest with wings held upright. The moth's antennae or "feelers" often
look much like a fern leaf, a butterfly's are smooth and club-like.
In the United States, certain tropical butterflies are found only in
and around hardwood hammocks of south Florida and the Florida
Keys. The best remaining tropical hammocks are found in the Ever-
glades National Park. In the shaded hammock look for the Florida
white butterfly. It is white with a silky sheen near the body, and is
about two inches across. The Florida purple wing is also found in
shaded hammocks. This medium-sized butterfly is dark brown to
black with a purplish sheen. It rests on tree trunks where the mottled
lighter colors of the under wings blend with the bark. This protection
makes it hard to find when it is still.
JUNIOR NATURAL HISTORY DEPARTMENT
A SHELL IS A SHELL. A shell is a shell, but what of the animal
which makes it? The shell is the skeleton of the mollusk. Like other
animals the mollusk has muscles, and the shell aids in their use. For
many mollusks, the shell also serves as protection.
All sea-shell animals have a muscular foot, a breathing tube or
siphon, a mantle and gills. The muscular foot helps the animal to
move about and the siphon may also be a mouth. The gills aid in
gathering food and oxygen. The mantle is one of the most interesting
parts of the animal. Dr. R. Tucker Abbott describes it as the leafy
cover of the animal's body like the flyleaves of a book.
The mantle is the organ which makes the shell. In the mantle are
found very small tubes which take lime from the water and deposit
it in tiny bits, along with a horny substance which acts as cement, to
make the shell. This horny substance, too, is made by the mantle.
Some mollusks always make shell. Others rest between the times they
make shell. In the gastropod, or snail type shells, you will sometimes
find the ridges showing these periods of rest and shell building. Scar
marks are sometimes found on shells, showing how the animal did
repairing. A crack or break in a shell is mended in the same way
that the shell is made, but as all the mending must be done from the
inside the mark shows.
The color in the shell is also made in the mantle. Tiny tubes make
the color and pour it out as the shell is being made. The pattern in
the shell depends upon the location of these tubes in the mantle. Some
families of shells are marked and colored in exactly the same way.
In others, the colors and patterns are different in each shell. In these
shells, such as the olive shells which are noted for their differences in
color and design, the little creature controls the colors and patterns
the markings to suit itself.
The olive shells are interesting for another reason. Unlike many
mollusks, this animal carries its shell inside of the mantle, and builds
it from the outside of the shell. That is why an olive shell is always
shiny when it is found.
Scallops are some of our most interesting and common bivalves.
You could make a collection of hundreds of these shells and not have
two alike. The species are of many sizes, and in some species, no two
shells are ever colored alike.
The scallop is a very lively animal, swimming about by rapidly
opening and closing its shells. With a sudden snap it can even jump
out of a boat. It has eyes, a whole row of blue ones along the edge
of its mantle. It swims to feed, to avoid its enemies or being caught
in a net. If it finds it cannot escape by swimming, it can bury itself
in the sand, aided by its foot.
The beautiful angel wing is a bivalve which spends its whole life
in the mud. It puts up its siphon through the mud to get food and
oxygen. Some of the same family bore into soft rock.
The common purple sea snail spends its whole life on the open
sea. You may have found it on the beach after a few days of steady
ocean wind in the spring. This shell is purplish white above, much
darker purple below and a little more than an inch long. The snail
makes a raft by which it floats all of its life. It breathes air in through
its siphon, puts some slime on the water and blows bubbles of air
JUNIOR NATURAL HISTORY DEPARTMENT
under the slime. The slime hardens and holds the bubbles, and the
snail adds to its raft as it wishes. When the weather is fine and no
danger threatens, the snail floats with its head and tentacles out of the
water; but let the weather get rough or the snail be frightened, it slides
into its shell and hides under the raft. The female carries her eggs
under her raft until after they are hatched. For a few days the baby
snails have no shells and float around under the mother's raft. By
the time they have grown shells they are old enough to go out into
the sea alone and make their own rafts.
Since the snail cannot control its raft, but must go where wind
and current take it, many are killed in storms. Others are killed by
boats, birds are fond of these snails for food, so there are many rafts
floating about without owners.
This little snail eats jelly fish and even the big Portuguese man-o-war
are killed and eaten by it.
Among the shells along the beach, you often find other queer things,
jelly-like egg cases fastened together or lying alone. The lozenge
shaped cases fastened to a string are laid by a whelk. After the baby
whelks with their little soft shells hatch, they eat their way out of the
case and start life on their own. If you examine each section of the
string of cases carefully, you may find not only the door by which the
young shells escaped, but you may find young shells still in some cases.
Some mollusks use their foot to fight with, others use it as a door.
Some mollusks feed like cattle in a pasture, leaving the area all eaten
off clean. Some live on dead animals and others eat live mollusks.
All have means of protection, and next time, I would like to tell
how mollusks are protected. I think you would like to know how
animals with such brightly colored shells can hide.
THE SINGING AND THE GOLD by A. B. Matthiesen. 283 pp. Doubleday
and Co., Inc., Garden City, N. Y., 1955.
The story of the murderer Watson and
the people killed at his place up the lonely
reaches of the Chatham River, is the great
legendary tale of the lower west coast of
Florida. Everybody in the Ten Thousand
Islands, in the island village of Chokoloskee,
the town of Everglades and all the way up
the coast to Ft. Myers has heard talk about
it all their lives. The old people who knew
the whole story about Watson and his mur-
ders, and his murderer friend Leslie Cox
and his murders, have always been the ones
who talked least about it, and they are dying
off. So there are already many versions of
what happened before Watson was shot by a
group of irate citizens and his body towed
down to Rabbit Key and buried below high
tide mark. To hear, by moonlight on a boat's
deck, up one of those black, silent mangrove
rivers, a couple of local fishermen drawling
their stories of the Watson story, is to feel
profoundly the magic of the Ten Thousand
I'm afraid this fictionalized version of the
Watson story by the Matthiesen family team
of writers misses something of that profound
thrill. They have written it, under a too
romantic and irrelevant title, very carefully.
They made three or four trips to study the
places and listen to people talk. But the
result is curiously stilted, from the conven-
tional speech of the people to the fictional-
ized thoughts of the fictionalized wife of
Watson. They write well, and it may be an
exciting novel to people who don't know
the place or the story. But the story remains
stranger and more baffling, more real, than
fiction. Or perhaps it is only that it would
take the genius of a Joseph Conrad to make
that heart of darkness into great literature.
-MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS,
Coconut Grove, Florida.
CORO-CORO by Paul A. Zahl. 264 pp., illus. with photos by author,
one in color. Bobbs-Merrill, New York, 1954. $4.50.
The story of search and adventure in far-
off. difficult places in this book is up to the
quality of Dr. Zahl's earlier conservation-Ori-
ented exploration-adventure book, Flamingo
Hunt, but the many digressions in this later
book ruined it for this reviewer. One can
expect and appreciate digressions into aspects
of cancer research, for that is the author's
regular work, and it reflects for us some-
thing about the sort of a man he is. But
these long ruminations about the paleonto-
logical background or physiological intri-
cacies of things hardly related to the story
of the book reach a point where they offend.
One is driven to wonder whether Dr. Zahl
wrote the story of his search in Venezuela
for the elusive scarlet ibis, known to the
natives there as Coro-coro, and then finding
the result still short for a full-length book,
dragged out his Harvard textbooks and filled
out his account here and there by hanging
these rehashes of unrelated textbook in-
formation tenuously to the thread of his
story. Forewarned, you may very probably
enjoy Dr. Zahl's adventures and observations
in Coro-Coro by skipping these intrusions,
but your reviewer conscientiously read them
until an unfortunate irritation grew from
it which quite prevented any enjoyment of
the final adventure which is apparently
considered to be the climax of the book.-
MAMMALS by Herbert S. Zim and Donald H. Hoffmeister, with 218
animals illustrated in full color by James Gordon Irving. 160 pp.
Simon and Schuster, New York, April 1955. $1.95.
MARK TRAIL'S BOOK OF NORTH AMERICAN MAMMALS by Ed Dodd, with
many black and white illustrations by the author. 242 pp. Haw-
thorn Books, Inc., 70 Fifth Avenue, New York 11, N. Y., 1955.
For twenty-five years Harold E. Anthony
was author of the only illustrated field book
on North American mammals. Now all of
a sudden you can take your pick from four
new ones. In 1952 Burt and Grossenheider
produced the most beautifully illustrated
one, a 200-page book for $3.75 called "A
field guide to the mammals." This one con-
tents itself with helping a person to identify
mammals. Then, last year Ralph S. Palmer
published a 384-page one for $4.95 in which
he himself illustrated 182 species in color.
This book in addition to helping one identify
each mammal, tells us where and how it
lives and the other important facts of its
natural history. These two books, written
for the layman, are the best there is on
their subject today. But what of the two
new books, each at $1.95, published just
this year? Are they good?
The answer is, "Yes." If one wishes to
arouse a wholesome interest in our native
animals in some youngster, one could not
possibly do better for such a price than to
buy him Ed Dodd's little book. This book
lives and breathes. It crawls with action.
The author, an important conservationist and
successful comic strip cartoonist, knows just
what it takes to hold a youngster's interest
in animals and just what sort of focus will
instill in him a suitable attitude toward
wild mammals. A typical example of the
action he packs into the account of one
animal, the key deer: in six scenes he suc-
cessively illustrates a buck nobly posed, a
doe and fawn weathering a hurricane be-
neath a palm, a buck beside a white-tail buck
for size, a doe drinking from a limestone
pot hole, a buck about to plunge in to swim
to another key, and finally, a shark loitering
beneath a swimming key deer. Ed Dodd
illustrates each of his 84 kinds of mammals
about five or six times and confines his
writing to a few hand-lettered comments
amplifying tersely what his action-packed
drawings portray. The natural history may
not be letter perfect, and it is certainly in-
complete, but the total effect is good. It
is a book that one may confidently take
home to any inquisitive boy.
"Mammals" by Zim and Hoffmeister is an-
other remarkable book for $1.95. Under the
guidance of these authors James Gordon
Irving has undertaken the most elaborate
color illustrations of North American mam-
mals so far assembled in one book. Instead
of vignetted, his animals are painted against
vegetation and landscapes of their natural
habitat. Even such inconspicuous creatures
as shrews and bats and mice enjoy this
luxury. This adds greatly to the value of
the book and to its attractiveness. Zim
and Hoffmeister have included 218 kinds
of mammals (to Dodd's 84) in their hand-
somely illustrated little book, but have
been able to say even less about each. The
color illustrations in this book do not begin
to approach the quality of that in Burt and
Grossenheider's, nor does the text begin to
compare with that of Ralph S. Palmer's, but
in its price range, it is clearly an outstanding
little book. It seems to me an excellent
inexpensive gift for a youngster who already
has demonstrated an interest in some branch
of natural history, or a neighbor who is
touring the western national parks this
EVERGLADES NATURAL HISTORY
FREAKS AND MARVELS OF INSECT LIFE by Harold Bastin. 248 pp.,
colored frontispiece, 20 plates, and numerous line drawings. A.
A. Wyn, Inc., New York, 1954. $3.75.
Here is another fine English book on in-
sects, worthy of inclusion in the library of
either the amateur or professional naturalist.
Harold Bastin has devoted his life to ento-
mology, botany, and scientific writing. His
style is clear and concise, perhaps a bit
clipped in places, but readable. He has
brought together a vast store of information
on insects from all over the world, and
although the main emphasis is on British
and European species there is much that
can be learned about insects in general.
The photographic illustrations, grouped
into 20 plates, are of superior quality. The
reader from south Florida will not have to
look far to recognize some familiar "faces"
even though none of the species illustrated
are strictly Floridian. Only a short time
ago, Miami was invaded by a "thorn bug"
similar to the one shown on Plate VI. A
"fire-elater" or "skipjack" similar to the
species shown on Plate XVIII is one of the
glories of summer nights along the Rim of
the Everglades. One of the few defects in
the illustrations seems to be on Plate X,
where the dark Florida queen and the Flor-
ida viceroy rather than the true monarch
and viceroy seem to be represented.
If you are not particularly interested in
queer insects, you may be interested in
searching out the queer characters who man-
age to creep in among the bugs, although
Mr. Baslin valiantly tries to ignore them.
Many of these are truly among the "Gothic
Naturalists", whose tradition reached its
greatest triumph in the works of Sir Charles
Darwin. One of which I had never heard,
but about whom I would like to know more, is
Professor Gregory, author of The Great Rift
Valley. It is to him that we owe the re-
markable observations of one of the African
fulgorids, a species of Flata, cited by Mr.
". . They are dimorphic-some individuals
of each sex being bright pink, others bright
green, while the larvae are queer-looking
objects draped with long filaments of a
waxy secretion, like the feathery appendages
of air-borne fruits and seeds. Their habit
is to sit motionless on the stems of plants,
feeding on the sap; and they were observed
frequently to group themselves so that the
green individuals were uppermost, then the
pink, and lowest of all the larvae-in this
way imitating the appearance of a flower-
spike." p. 98.
Professor Gregory was so taken in that
he attempted to gather the first of these
mock flowers which he came across only
to have flowers, buds, and fruits jump off
in all directions. I have had something
very similar to that happen to me with a
distantly related fulgorid in Brickell Ham-
mock, and so can well sympathize with
Professor Gregory.-FRANK N. YOUNG,
Authors Need To Know This
EVERGLADES NATURAL HISTORY accepts articles and notes pre-
pared as described below on south Florida natural history. These are
published if the editor, or an associate editor, recognizes them as au-
thentic and of a nature which will be interesting and informative to
the lay public of south Florida and to visitors to the Everglades National
Park. Manuscripts of feature articles should range between 1200 and
2400 words, and those for the Notes section should range between 100
and 600 words. Manuscripts which include original experience or
observation by the author are preferred. While care will be given to
handling manuscripts and illustrations, neither the editor nor the As-
sociation can accept responsibility for their safety.
SUBMITTING MANUSCRIPT. Articles and notes submitted for pub-
lication should be typewritten, preferably on standard size and weight
paper. All written material should be typed double spaced. Photo-
graphs for illustration should be glossy prints of good contrast, and
with no markings on the back. Drawings should be in Indian ink on
sheets of good paper separate from the manuscript. Photographs and
drawings submitted as full page illustrations should preferably be about
eight by twelve inches. Galley proof will be submitted if requested,
and authors must arrange in advance if reprints are to be made.
When a manuscript is submitted requiring many corrections of
punctuation, capitalization, or spelling, it will have to be retyped any-
how, and the editor naturally looks to see if other things need improve-
ment. Then the author's prerogatives may occasionally be transgressed.
When, on the other hand, a manuscript is submitted grammatically and
typographically perfect, the editor looks upon this as evidence that the
author has done his best. It is not difficult to refrain from tampering
with such a manuscript, and the author's pride in his workmanship is
easy to respect. Articles or notes to be submitted for publication
should be addressed to the Editor, Everglades Natural History, Box
275, Homestead, Florida.
RECOMPENSE. An author of a feature article receives a modest
honorarium shortly after its publication. Authors of feature articles
are entitled to as many as ten, and authors of notes to three, copies
of the issue in which their work appears only if they request it by
mail from the Executive Secretary of the Association.
Everglades Natural History Association
C. M. GOETHE, Sacramento, California
RICHARD F. DECKERT, North Miami, Florida
FRANK E. MASLAND, Carlisle, Pennsylvania
WILLIAM ANDERSON, Washington, D. C.
MRS. DOROTHY B. PALMER, Fort Pierce, Florida
RICHARD ARCHBOLD, Lake Placid, Florida
THOMAS C. DESMOND, Newburgh, New York
MRS. FORBES HAWKES, Coconut Grove, Florida
THOMAS S. HODSON, Homestead, Florida
MRS. BRUCE M. HOGG, Coconut Grove, Florida
WILLIAM H. LANE, Luneburg, Massachusetts
MARSHALL S. P. POLLARD, Coconut Grove, Florida
MRS. R. L. STEARNS, JR., Steams, Kentucky
GEORGE G. WARE, Leesburg, Florida
MARY WHELAND WILLINGHAM, Miami, Florida
MRS. ROBERT HARGIS ANDERSON, Miami, Florida
WILLIAM G. ATWATER, Coconut Grove, Florida
GEORGE N. AVERY, Marathon, Florida
KARL AUGUST BICKEL, Sarasota, Florida
PATRICK S. BILKS, South Miami, Florida
THERON LEROY BROXTON, Pensacola, Florida
GEORGE A. COFFIN, Miami, Florida
FRANK C. CRAIGHEAD, Carlisle, Pennsylvania
A. W. DAVIS, Marathon, Florida
MR. and MRS. HOWARD I. DOHRMAN, Coconut Grove, Florida
DR. CHARLES B. FAGER, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
FRED A. GATES, Miami Springs, Florida
MORRILL GODDARD, JR., Miami, Florida
H. JAMES GUT, Sanford, Florida
CLINTON DEWITT HANOVER, JR., Little Neck, N. Y.
JACK and JEANNE HOLMES, Coral Gables, Florida
JANET LICHTENDORF, Coral Gables, Florida
ARLINE LOTZ, Miami, Florida
MARIE CHRISTINE NORBERG, St. Petersburg, Florida
FREDERICK LAW OLMSTEAD, Palo Alto, California
ALFRED L. RIDGARD, Miami, Florida
JOHN W. ROBERTS, Winter Park, Florida
GILBERT RICE ROSSIGNOL, Savannah, Georgia
PEARL T. SKILL, Homestead, Florida
C. RAY VINTEN, St. Augustine, Florida
GLADYS E. WILBUR, South Miami, Florida