69/150: Leeches – They don’t all want to suck your blood!

Animalia: Annelida: Clitellata: Arhynchobdellida: Erpobdellidae: Erpobdella: Erpobdella obscura (Verrill, 1872)

This past week Canadian Blood Services has been promoting awareness of blood donation with Blood Donor Week. We thought we’d share some info about leeches. On first mention of leeches, many people probably think of Hirudo medicinalis, the medicinal leech. But this is only one of almost 700 different species of leeches. Continue reading “69/150: Leeches – They don’t all want to suck your blood!”

43/150: It’s not the Easter bunny, it’s the Eastern cottontail!

animalia: Chordata: Mammalia: Lagomorpha: Leporidae: Sylvilagus: Sylvilagus floridanus (J. A. Allen, 1890)

Hopping around a meadow (or your lawn) at night, it’s the Eastern cottontail rabbit (Sylvilagus floridianus)! Often associated with Easter and the Easter bunny, this rabbit is common in southern Ontario and Manitoba, Canada, and throughout the eastern United States and Mexico. Continue reading “43/150: It’s not the Easter bunny, it’s the Eastern cottontail!”

31/150: Lady crickets like the tough guys!

animalia: Arthropoda: Insecta: Orthoptera: Gryllidae: Gryllinae: Gryllus: Gryllus veletis (Alexander, R.D. & Bigelow, 1960)

The Spring Field Cricket, Gryllus veletis, is common across North America. You hear this cricket’s song in the springtime until late July. Many cultures have considered crickets lucky, associating their chirps with happiness. Male crickets chirp to attract mates, and females assess the quality of the potential mate by the quality of their chirps. Continue reading “31/150: Lady crickets like the tough guys!”

Ontario BioBlitz at Riverwood Conservancy and the Credit River Watershed

It’s that time of the year again – Ontario BioBlitz time! This year we will be surveying the Credit River Watershed. A number of BIO staff along with researchers, students and citizen scientists are volunteering their time this weekend – June 11 and 12th, 2016 – to try to find as many species as they can. The event is hosted by the Riverwood Conservancy this year, in Mississauga at Riverwood Park. Continue reading “Ontario BioBlitz at Riverwood Conservancy and the Credit River Watershed”

Visiting Victoria

At the end of October, Gerry Blagoev and I flew across the country to visit the Royal British Columbia Museum (RBCM) in Victoria, British Columbia. We were on a quest for specimens! Identified specimens, that is. Most of the time our collections team is busy finding specimens out in the field and preparing them for DNA barcoding. Once they have a sequence, we determine what the taxonomy of our specimen is based on its sequence. But how do we get to the point where we can determine the taxonomy? How do we know this taxonomy is right? By going to the experts! Continue reading “Visiting Victoria”