111/150: See no Weevil, Hear no Weevil, Speak no Weevil

Animalia: Arthropoda: Insecta: Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Otiorhynchus: Otiorhynchus sulcatus (Fabricius, 1775)

Not all weevils are evil, but unfortunately this species of weevil is quite a pest. The black vine weevil has been found to be a pest of over 100 different wild and cultivated plants. Unfortunately, this species is not the lesser of two evils since its larval and adult stage are both considered pests. Continue reading “111/150: See no Weevil, Hear no Weevil, Speak no Weevil”

110/150: Ant-mimicking spiders; One of these things is not like the other!

Arthropoda: Arachnida: Araneae: Salticidae: Myrmarachne: Myrmarachne formicaria (De Geer, 1778)

Members of the genus Myrmarachne are commonly referred to as the Ant-mimic spiders and represent some of the best examples of Batesian mimicry in the world. Their cephalothorax is elongated, with a tapered waist that imitates the silhouette of an ant and they will often wave their front legs in the air to resemble ant antennae. Continue reading “110/150: Ant-mimicking spiders; One of these things is not like the other!”

109/150: This little brown bat may be gone soon! That means more mosquitoes biting you!

Animalia: Chordata: Mammalia: Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae: Myotinae: Myotis: Myotis lucifugus (LeConte, 1831)

The little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus) was once a common species around North America but is now considered Endangered and protected federally in Canada under the Species at Risk Act. The little brown bats are insectivores that are 6-10 cm long, weigh 5-14 grams and live for 6 to 7 years. They are nocturnal and can be found roosting in attics and barns during the summer months and in winter they hibernate in caves or mines. Continue reading “109/150: This little brown bat may be gone soon! That means more mosquitoes biting you!”

108/150: Dead moose, buffet, fighting arena, or dance floor? For waltzing flies, it’s all the above

Animalia: Arthropoda: Insecta: Diptera: Piophilidae: Piophilinae: Prochyliza: Prochyliza xanthostoma (Walker, 1849)

This North American fly occurs in forests, aggregating around moose carcasses as they are carrion feeders. Females will wait on vegetation surrounding a carcass and watch males combat on the carcass. The flies are sexually dimorphic and males have larger antennae, head capsules, and foretarsi for competing in combat. Continue reading “108/150: Dead moose, buffet, fighting arena, or dance floor? For waltzing flies, it’s all the above”

107/150: Loggerhead Shrike – The “Butcher Bird”

Animalia: Chordata: Aves: Passeriformes: Laniidae: Lanius: Lanius ludovicianus Linnaeus, 1766

The loggerhead shrike (Lanius ludovicianus) is classed as Endangered, with only 31 breeding pairs reported in Ontario in 2009, leading to many captive breeding programs. Although classed as a passerine bird (often known as perching, or song birds), shrikes hunt in an almost hawk-like way, impaling prey on spiny bushes or barbed wire fences before tearing it apart to eat. Continue reading “107/150: Loggerhead Shrike – The “Butcher Bird””

106/150: Thrips are tiny insects with big agricultural implications

Animalia: Arthropoda: Insecta: Thysanoptera: Thripidae: Thripinae: Frankliniella: Frankliniella occidentalis (Pergande, 1895)

Western flower thrips belong to the order Thysanoptera. These insects are very small (~1mm long) and elongated with long thin wings fringed with hairs. Like true bugs, they have small piercing and sucking mouthparts on the underside for feeding on plant tissue. Continue reading “106/150: Thrips are tiny insects with big agricultural implications”

105/150: Sea pens – not your typical corals

Animalia: Cnidaria: Anthozoa: Pennatulacea: Pennatulidae: Pennatula: Pennatula aculeata (Danielssen, 1860)

Sea pens are colonial marine cnidarians found worldwide and normally at depths greater than 10 meters. Sea pens prefer deeper waters because they can avoid uprooting due to water turbulence. They live most of their lives in a sessile (immobile) state, however they can relocate and anchor themselves in more desirable areas where steadier streams of their food source, plankton, might be found. Continue reading “105/150: Sea pens – not your typical corals”

104/150: Feeling crabby about pubic lice?

Animalia: Arthropoda: Insecta: Psocodea: Pthiridae: Pthirus: Pthirus pubis (Linnaeus, 1758)

Humans host three types of lice, which are wingless and unable to jump so they spend their entire lifecycle on the host. The pubic louse, a blood sucking parasite that lives exclusively on humans, can thrive anywhere on the body with coarse hair, such as in beards or the eyelashes. Continue reading “104/150: Feeling crabby about pubic lice?”

103/150: National Hummingbird Day – The Calliope Hummingbird

Animalia: Chordata: Aves: Apodiformes: Trochilidae: Selasphorus: Selasphorus calliope (Gould, 1847)

The first Saturday in September is being celebrated as National Hummingbird Day. Read on to learn more about the Calliope hummingbird. These birds are spunky, territorial, and have the nerve to chase away hawks while resembling the size of a ping pong ball! Continue reading “103/150: National Hummingbird Day – The Calliope Hummingbird”

102/150: Silverfish and Firebrats Outlived the Dinosaurs!

Animalia: Arthropoda: Insecta: Zygentoma: Lepismatidae: Thermobia: Thermobia domestica (Packard, 1837)

Zygentoma is a primitive, wingless order of insects encompassing approximately 120 species in 3 families. The evolution of this group can be traced back over 100 million years, having survived multiple ice ages and mass extinction events, including the fall of the dinosaurs! Continue reading “102/150: Silverfish and Firebrats Outlived the Dinosaurs!”