33/150: Brilliant, metallic, and kleptoparasitic: the cuckoo wasp is not your everyday wasp

Arthropoda: Insecta: Hymenoptera: Chrysididae: Chrysidinae: Trichrysis: Trichrysis doriae Neurada L., 1753

While we commonly think of wasps as stinging black-and-yellow insects that live in groups, they actually come in many sizes, lifestyles, and colours! The solitary cuckoo wasp, also known as the emerald wasp, comes in various metallic shades of blue, red, and green. Continue reading “33/150: Brilliant, metallic, and kleptoparasitic: the cuckoo wasp is not your everyday wasp”

15/150: Pretty underwater feather dusters or worms with tentacle eyes? Why not both!

Animalia: Annelida: Polychaeta: Sabellida: Sabellidae: Eudistylia: Eudistylia vancouveri (Kinberg, 1866)

You wouldn’t expect that the beautiful Vancouver feather duster (Eudistylia vancouveri) is a type of worm, but that’s exactly what it is. It belongs to a class of segmented bristle worms called Polychaeta within the family Sabellidae, AKA feather duster worms. They are sedentary marine worms that live in parchment-like tubes made of sediment. Their heads are concealed in a feathery crown of colourful tentacles, called radioles, which are used for respiration and filter feeding. Continue reading “15/150: Pretty underwater feather dusters or worms with tentacle eyes? Why not both!”

2/150: Scorpionflies, pollinating before it was cool

Animalia: Arthropoda: Insecta: Mecoptera: Panorpidae: Panorpa: Panorpa submaculosa (Carpenter 1931)

Mecoptera are primitive insects that are easily recognizable with elongated faces and 4 wings of roughly the same size. They are commonly called ‘scorpionflies’ because of the characteristic male genitalia in the group’s largest family, Panorpidae, which resemble a scorpion’s stinger. Continue reading “2/150: Scorpionflies, pollinating before it was cool”

DNA barcoding and Malaise traps capture the remarkable diversity in Canada’s National Parks

Hi everyone!

As some of you may know, we here at BIO spend a great deal of our field work sampling in Canada’s beautiful National Parks. In fact, from 2012 to 2014, BIO and Parks Canada partnered up to complete a massive national barcoding project that aimed to map out the country’s arthropod biodiversity: the Canadian National Parks (CNP) Malaise Program. I spent a lot of time planning, organizing, and coordinating this project and am thrilled to finally have results! Continue reading “DNA barcoding and Malaise traps capture the remarkable diversity in Canada’s National Parks”

Barcoding Canada – starting with its National Parks

Our National Parks are outstanding representatives of natural landscapes that are established to protect habitats, wildlife, and ecosystem diversity – which may be unique to specific natural regions across Canada. Therefore it is only fitting that when BIO set out to ‘barcode our country’s backyard’, collecting from Canadian National Parks was on top of the list. As of October 2014, BIO has sampled 43 of 45 of Canada’s National Parks. Continue reading “Barcoding Canada – starting with its National Parks”