113/150: A Wolf Spider Like No Other

Animalia: Arthropoda: Arachnida: Araneae: Lycosidae: Alopecosa: Alopecosa koponeni sp. n. (Sundevall 1833, Simon 1885, and Blagoev & Dondale 2014)

Alopecosa koponeni sp. n. is a new species described in 2014 from the arctic tundra in the vicinity of Churchill, Manitoba! It was discovered by Centre for Biodiversity Genomics resident arachnologist Dr. Gergin Blagoev and Dr. Charles Dondale from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Continue reading “113/150: A Wolf Spider Like No Other”

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”

93/150: What a big mouth!

Animalia: Chordata: Elasmobranchii: Lamniformes: Cetorhinidae: Cetorhinus: Cetorhinus maximus  (Gunnerus, 1765)

Basking sharks are known as the second biggest fish in the ocean reaching lengths of up to 10 metres and weighing almost 6 tonnes! But unlike its menacing cousins the basking shark is a gentle creature that feeds on small organisms such as plankton through filter-feeding. By using a thousand bristle-like structures on their gills and a mouth that can reach 1 metre in diameter they create a passive net and filtering system. Continue reading “93/150: What a big mouth!”

90/150: Rattlesnake Plantains – orchids used for traditional cures

Plantae: Magnoliophyta: Liliopsida: Asparagales: Orchidaceae: Goodyera (robert brown)

Rattlesnake plantains are not nearly as scary as their names make them out to be. There are 4 species in North America belonging to the Goodyera genus and all known as rattlesnake plantains. They look like fleshy weeds, but are actually a type of orchid with signature veins on their leaves. Continue reading “90/150: Rattlesnake Plantains – orchids used for traditional cures”

88/150: Whale, hello there Belugas!

Animalia: Chordata: Mammalia: Artiodactyla: Cetacea: Monodontidae: Delphinapterus: Delphinapterus leucas (Pallas, 1776)

The beluga whale is an enigmatic species well known to the Canadian Arctic. It is also known as a sea canary because of its high-pitched chirping and can grow up to 20 ft in length and weigh more than a ton! Continue reading “88/150: Whale, hello there Belugas!”

84/150: Tardigrades – You Can’t Kill Me!

Animalia: Tardigrada: Eutardigrada: Apochela: Milnesiidae

Tardigrades are known by a variety of names such as water bears, space bears and my personal favorite, moss piglets! These organisms are microscopic in size reaching a full length of 0.5mm when fully grown with eight stubby legs protruding from the body. Continue reading “84/150: Tardigrades – You Can’t Kill Me!”

80/150: No stone unturned!

Animalia: Arthropoda: Hexapoda: Insecta: Plecoptera: Perloidea: Perlidae: Acroneuria: Acroneuria abnormis (Newman, 1838)

Stoneflies are insects that can be found worldwide (other than Antarctica) with 3,500 species known globally and many more being discovered! Stoneflies are known for being extremely vulnerable to pollution thus the presence of these insects are a great sign of clean water habitats. Continue reading “80/150: No stone unturned!”

74/150: Skates on all year!

Animalia: Chordata: Chondrichthyes: Elasmobranchii: Rajiformes: Rajidae: Raja: Raja binoculata Girard, 1858

Raja binoculata are commonly known as the big skate reaching a length of 2.4m and weighing 200lbs! They are normally found at depths of 120m but have been known to dive to almost 800m. They feed on various unsuspecting small organisms such as molluscs, shrimp and small fish by burrowing into the sandy bottom to act as a method of camouflage. Continue reading “74/150: Skates on all year!”

59/150: Snorkels & Pancakes for World Turtle Day!

Animalia: Chordata: Vertebrata: Reptilia: Testudines: Cryptodira: Trionychidae: Trionychinae: Apalone: Apalone spinifera (Charles Lesueur, 1827)

Spiny softshell turtles have a unique leathery shell which causes them to sometimes be called the pancake turtle! They can reach up to 54 cm and have a distinguishable snorkel like nose that allows them to stay submerged underwater for long periods of time. Continue reading “59/150: Snorkels & Pancakes for World Turtle Day!”

24/150: 50 pairs of shoes? That’s a lot of footwear for a centipede

Animalia: Arthropoda: Chilopoda: Lithobiomorpha: Lithobiidae: Lithobius: Lithobius forficatus (Linnaeus 1758)

Centipede means “100 legs”, but despite the name they can have as little as 15 to as many as 177 pairs of legs! They also vary in size from 4 mm to over 30 cm based on the species of centipede. They prefer habitats that are damp and dark but are usually nocturnal meaning they are most active at night time. Continue reading “24/150: 50 pairs of shoes? That’s a lot of footwear for a centipede”