112/150: Autumn is here and the Tamarack Tree loses its needles

Plantae: Pinophyta: Pinidae: Pinales: Pinaceae: Larix: Larix laricina (Du Roi) K. Koch

From the Algonquin word “akemantak” meaning “wood used for snowshoes”, tamarack is a native larch to Canada with a country-wide range. Tamarack are deciduous conifers, meaning they lose their needles in the autumn! Continue reading “112/150: Autumn is here and the Tamarack Tree loses its needles”

73/150: Dragons of the Forest

Animalia: Arthropoda: Insecta: Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae: Rhyssinae: Megarhyssa: Megarhyssa atrata (Fabricius, 1781)

At first glance, Megarhyssa atrata may slightly resemble small dragons due to their extremely long ovipositor! They can be found from May to June in North America, ranging all the way from Quebec to Florida. The Megarhyssa genus is known to have species with the longest ovipositors ever recorded in the insect world. Continue reading “73/150: Dragons of the Forest”

64/150: Birds of the Sea

Animalia: Echinodermata: Crinoidea: Comatulida: Antedonidae: Heliometrinae: Florometra: Florometra serratissima (AH Clark, 1907)

While you wouldn’t think birds would be able to exist in the ocean, the common feather star Florometra serratissima could very well be considered the bird of the sea! They are able to move around either by grasping terrain with their claw-like cirri or by swimming through the water with their feather-like arms. Continue reading “64/150: Birds of the Sea”

45/150: Cephalopods are Insane in the Membrane

Animalia: Mollusca: Cephalopoda: Teuthida: Loliginidae: Doryteuthis: Doryteuthis opalescens (Berry, 1911)

The opalescent inshore squid, Dorytheuthis opalescens, can be found along the Pacific coast from Alaska to Mexico. They are part of the myopsid squids, meaning that they have a cornea unlike other cephalopods as it is covered in a corneal membrane instead of a second eyelid. Continue reading “45/150: Cephalopods are Insane in the Membrane”

42/150: Nature’s Underwater Architect

Animalia: Arthropoda: Insecta: Trichoptera: Limnephiloidea: Limnephilidae: Philarctus bergrothi (McLachlan, 1880)

Philarctus bergrothi is part of the northern caddisfly family Limnephilidae, which are found within higher elevations in the northern hemisphere. Caddisflies are closely related to moths and butterflies. While moths and butterflies have scales on their wings and bear terrestrial larvae, caddisflies have hairs on their wings and bear aquatic larvae. Continue reading “42/150: Nature’s Underwater Architect”

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. Continue reading “36/150: Bug-on-a-stick: neither a stick bug nor a bug”

26/150: Not-so-sweet temptation

Plantae: Magnoliophyta: Magnoliopsida: Ranunculales: Ranunculaceae: Helleboroideae: Actaea: Actaea rubra (Aiton Willd.)

While the fruit of the red baneberry (Actaea rubra) may be tempting to eat, doing so is highly ill-advised! The plant is highly toxic and consuming large quantities of the bright red fruit may alter the nervous system and, in rare cases, lead to death. Continue reading “26/150: Not-so-sweet temptation”