#Biodiversity150 number 36 of 150 Bug-on-a-stick moss

36/150: Bug-on-a-stick: neither a stick bug nor a bug

Plantae: Bryophyta: Bryopsida: Buxbaumiidae: Buxbaumiaceae: Buxbaumia aphylla (Hedw. 1801)

This unusual plant is actually a species of moss! Buxbaumia aphylla, known as bug-on-a-stick, is found across the upper Northern Hemisphere in temperate and subarctic regions. Despite being a hardy moss that can tolerate poor soil quality and disturbed habitats, it is a short-lived competitor and has a hard time establishing new populations. It is a rare microscopic moss with reduced, microscopic leaves and gametophytes and is very rarely seen. Only the reproductive sporophyte is visible, appearing as a stalked green or brown capsule which gives the impression of a bug on the end of a stick. To disperse its spores, the bug-on-a-stick relies on rain drops to make contact with the flat capsule in order to eject the spores, assuming the yummy-looking green capsule isn’t eaten by hungry herbivores! We have successful barcodes for seven specimens of this species. #Canada150 #Biodiversity150


Bug-On-A-Stick capsules in their natural habitat. Photo Credit: Bernd Haynold goo.gl/EhLn8b
Specimen CCDB-28097-H09 – Kejimkujik National Park – 12-Jun-1992. Photo Credit: CBG Photography Group, Canadian Museum of Nature

Here’s the barcode sequence information for this species:

Process ID:  BRYCA1897-16

nucleotide sequence


amino acid sequence


Visual representation of DNA barcode sequence for Bug-on-a-stick

Title Image: Three mature Bug-On-A-Stick capsules.
Photo Credit: Tab Tannery, goo.gl/53q4ws


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