144/150: Rotifers – a phylum on their own


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Animalia: Rotifera: Monogononta: Ploima: Synchaetidae Hudson & Gosse, 1886

Rotifers are microscopic aquatic animals that can be found in a quite diverse range of habitats. Common habitats include both lentic (still water) and lotic (flowing water) waters, and both fresh and salt waters. They are very small (only 0.1-0.5 mm long) soft-bodied invertebrates with hard jaws that are surrounded by a crown of cilia, called a corona, that they move in a circular motion to displace water around their mouth and capture particles to eat. They are known to consume very small food particles which includes dead or decomposing organic materials and phytoplankton. Rotifers are parthenogenetic in reproduction, in which the species consists of mostly females that asexually produce their daughters from unfertilized eggs. Some species produce two kinds of eggs that develop by parthenogenesis: one kind forms females and the other develops degenerate males that cannot even feed themselves! Males are typically only produced when conditions are harsh and a new batch of genes added to the gene pool could be beneficial to the population. Way to go ladies! #Canada150 #Biodiversity150

A micrograph of a rotifer. Photo Credit: Wiedehopf20 goo.gl/adNNGe
Rotifer with its corona extended – a crown of cilia that draws a vortex of water into the mouth, which the rotifer sifts for food. Photo Credit: Don Loarie goo.gl/VRKBcw
A species of rotifer, Keratella cochlearis, taken under microscope. Photo Credit: Treinisch goo.gl/77vtcm

Here’s the barcode sequence information for this species:

Process ID: CAISN128-12

nucleotide sequence

ACTCTATATTTCGTATTTGGAATATGAGCAGGACTAGTTGGTCTTAGAATAAGACTACTAATTCGTTTAGAATTAGGTGTAATTGGCTCTTTTTTAGGAGAT——GAGCATTTATACAATGTTATTGTAACAGCTCACGCTTTTGTTATGATTTTCTTCATAGTAATACCTATTTCTATAGGAGGTTTTGGTAATTGACTAATTCCTTTAATGCTAGGGGTAGCTGATATAGCTTTCCCTCGTATAAATAATTTATCGTTCTGATTATTAATTCCTGCATTTATAATGCTACTATTAAGAAGAATTTTAGACGCTGGGGTAGGAACAGGTTGAACTGTTTACCCTCCTTTATCTGATTCTAAG—TATCATTCTGGAATCTCAGTAGATTTAGCTATTTTTAGATTACATCTAGCTGGAATCTCATCAATTCTGGGTAGAATTAACTTTATAACTACAATTATTTGTTCACGTACAACTAAAATAGTAAGAATAGATCGTTTACCTCTAATGCTTTGATCATTAGGAGTAACGGCTTTTCTATTAGTTACTACTTTACCAGTTTTAGCAGGTGCTATTACAATGTTACTGACTGATCGTAACTTTAATACATCATTTTTTGATCCTTCTGGAGGAGGAAACCCTGTACTCTATCAACACCTA———————————————

amino acid sequence

TLYFVFGMWAGLVGLSMSLLIRLELGVIGSFLGD–EHLYNVIVTAHAFVMIFFMVMPISMGGFGNWLIPLMLGVADMAFPRMNNLSFWLLIPAFMMLLLSSILDAGVGTGWTVYPPLSDSK-YHSGISVDLAIFSLHLAGISSILGSINFMTTIICSRTTKMVSMDRLPLMLWSLGVTAFLLVTTLPVLAGAITMLLTDRNFNTSFFDPSGGGNPVLYQHL—————

Visual representation of DNA barcode sequence for Rotifer

Learn more about it’s BIN (Barcode Index Number): BOLD:ACL8152

143/150: Monarchs aren’t the only ones that need milkweed


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Animalia: Arthropoda: Insecta: Hemiptera: Lygaeidae: Oncopeltus: Oncopeltus fasciatus: (Dallas, 1852)

Large milkweed bugs are a member of the family Lygaeidae, otherwise known as seed bugs. They get their name from their association with the milkweed plant. They lay their eggs in milkweed pod crevasses and the seeds provide a food and defense source for them. Through eating the seeds, milkweed bugs sequester toxins, which act as a chemical defense against predators. Just like monarch butterflies that also eat milkweed, the large milkweed bug bears the daunting colours of black and orange. This colouration acts as a warning signal for predators to say: “I’m not going to be as tasty as you think.” One interesting misidentification that is commonly made is between these and Box Elder bugs. Despite being the same colour scheme and being roughly the same size, you can tell by the patterns of red on their black wings (seen in the photo below). Those black and orange bugs you seen in the news as pests in large numbers are probably box elder bugs, and not large milkweed bugs. #Canada150 #Biodiversity150

The Large Milkweed bug – Specimen CNC#HEM400640 – Perth, Ontario – 13-Sep-2008
The Large Milkweed Bug is depicted on the left, and the Box Elder bug on the right. Photo Credit: Katja Schulz goo.gl/R9BPFH & Judy Gallagher goo.gl/nS59Zp
A Large Milkweed Bug on a leaf. Photo Credit: Ryan Hodnett goo.gl/81NCCK

Here’s the barcode sequence information for this species:

Process ID: CRHIA649-16

nucleotide sequence

ATATTTGGAATATGATCTGGAATAGTAGGTTCATCAATAAGATGAATTATTCGAATTGAATTAGGTCAACCAGGTATATTTATTGGAAATGACCAAATTTATAATGTAATTGTAACAGCCCATGCATTTATTATAATTTTCTTTATAGTAATACCAATTATAATTGGTGGCTTCGGAAACTGACTAGTACCTTTAATAATTGGAGCACCTGATATAGCATTTCCACGAATAAATAATATAAGATTCTGATTATTACCACCTTCATTAACCCTTCTTTTATCTAGAAGAATTACAGAAAGAGGAGCTGGAACAGGATGAACTGTTTATCCTCCTCTATCTAATAGAATTTTTCACAGAGGAGCATCTGTAGATATGGCTATTTTTTCTCTACATTTAGCAGGAATTTCATCAATTCTGGGTGCAATTAATTTTATTTCAACAATTATTAACATACGACCAACAGGTATGTCTTTAGAAAAAACCCCTTTATTTGTATGATCAGTAGGAATTACAGCTCTATTGCTTCTATTATCCTTACCTGTATTAGCAGGAGCAATCACAATACTATTAACTGAT——————————————————

amino acid sequence

MFGMWSGMVGSSMSWIIRIELGQPGMFIGNDQIYNVIVTAHAFIMIFFMVMPIMIGGFGNWLVPLMIGAPDMAFPRMNNMSFWLLPPSLTLLLSSSITESGAGTGWTVYPPLSNSIFHSGASVDMAIFSLHLAGISSILGAINFISTIINMRPTGMSLEKTPLFVWSVGITALLLLLSLPVLAGAITMLLTD——————

Visual representation of DNA barcode sequence for Milkweed bug

Learn more about it’s BIN (Barcode Index Number): BOLD:AAG8878

126/150: Platyhelminthes – A diverse group of parasites and regenerators!


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Animalia: Platyhelminthes Claus, 1887

Platyhelminthes, also known as flatworms, are an extremely successful phylum with around 25,000 known species. Most of the classes are parasites with only the class Turbellaria being mostly non-parasitic. Platyhelminthes are extremely diverse and are well known predators. They can be found parasitizing many different animals, but of particular concern to humans are flukes and tapeworms which travel through the circulatory system to the intestines or the liver causing inflammation, fatigue, and abdominal pain. So, make sure you cook your meat well, because they are often transmitted through it. Flatworms in the past have been an interesting model of study due to their regenerative power. Researchers have gone to the length of cutting planarian worms until they couldn’t regenerate any more. They discovered that one model organism was able to regenerate as 1/279 of its original size. Despite the many advances in the research of stem cells, there is still much to learn, and these creatures are a great resource to study and better understand regeneration. #Canada150 #Biodiversity150

Specimen 10BIOBC-00607 – Brady’s Beach, British Columbia Canada – 29-May-2010. Photo Credit: CBG Photography Group, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics
Thysanozoon nigropapillosum – a free-swimming species of Platyhelminthes swimming at 40 ft (12 m) depth, Manta Ray Bay. Photo Credit: Betty Wills goo.gl/QfN4Lt
Arrow head flatworm (Platyhelminth – Bipalium kewense). A land planarian slithering along the ground. Photo Credit: Andreas Kay goo.gl/FifR2T

Here’s the barcode sequence information for this species:

Process ID: OPQCS173-12

nucleotide sequence

TACATTATATTTAATATTTGGAATTTGATCCGGTTTAATAGGTACAGCTTTTAGATTCTTAATACGTGCTGAATTATCACAA—CCTGGAAGTATATTAAAAGATTCTCAACTTTATAATAGTATTATTACTGCGCATGGATTAATAATGATATTTTTCTTTGTAATGCCTGTATTAATAGGGGGATTTGGAAATTGATTAATACCATTATATTTAACTAGACCAGATATGGCTTTTCCTCGATTAAACAAAATGAGATTTTGATTACTACCCCCAGCATTTTTCCTATTGTTAGGATCATTTATTGTTGAAGGGGGTGCAGGGACAGGTTGAACTGTCTACCCACCTTTATCTTCAAATATTGCCCAAAGAGGGCCAAGAGTAGATATGGCAATTTTCTCACTACATTTAGCTGGGGTTAGATCAATTCTAGGATCTATAAATTTTATTACTACAATGGTTAAATCTAAGGTACAA—GTTTCTTGAGGCCAATTACCACTTTTTTTATGGGCGGTGATGGTAACAGCTTATATGTTGGTTTTATCATTACCCGTATTGGCAGGAGGTTTAACCATGTTATTAACTGATCGAAAATTTAAAACTACCTTTTTTGATCCTGGTGGTGGTGGAGACCCCATTTTGTTTCAACATATCTTT

amino acid sequence

TLYLIFGIWSGLIGTAFSFLIRAELSQ-PGSILNDSQLYNSIITAHGLIMIFFFVMPVLIGGFGNWLIPLYLTSPDMAFPRLNNMSFWLLPPAFFLLLGSFIVEGGAGTGWTVYPPLSSNIAQSGPSVDMAIFSLHLAGVSSILGSINFITTMVNSKVQ-VSWGQLPLFLWAVMVTAYMLVLSLPVLAGGLTMLLTDRNFNTTFFDPGGGGDPILFQHIF

Visual representation of DNA barcode sequence for Platyhelminthes

Learn more about it’s BIN (Barcode Index Number): BOLD:ACC8696

123/150: The European earwig may be a pest to us, but at least they have good mothers


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Animalia: Arthropoda: Insecta: Dermaptera: Forficulidae: Forficula auricularia (Linnaeus, 1758)

The European earwig is an introduced species, as you may have guessed from its common name. This insect is known as a household pest and with omnivorous eating habits can either be found eating your grains & vegetables, or other smaller insect pests. Despite popular stories, earwigs do not crawl into your ears while you sleep, and they don’t bore into your brain as thought by many people. Unlike most insects, European earwigs display parental care. Once the females lay eggs, they place all of them in a hole and stand over it, protecting them from predators. Females also monitor mold growth and move the eggs around in the hole. Females are known to produce two broods of eggs, the first typically is around 30 to 60 eggs, with the second being around half of that or less. Eggs laid in colder weather typically take around 70 days to hatch, while ones in warmer weather only take around 20 days. #Canada150 #Biodiversity150

Specimen BIOUG00571-G01 – Point Pelee National Park, Ontario – Malaise Trap. Photo Credit: CBG Photography Group, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics
A female European Earwig guarding her young. Photo Credit: Nabokov goo.gl/s3vioD
A European Earwig residing on a leaf. Photo Credit: Judy Gallagher goo.gl/vC13rQ

Here’s the barcode sequence information for this species:

Process ID: SIOCN019-10

nucleotide sequence

AACTTTATATTTTGTATTTGGGGCTTGATCAGGAATAGTGGGGACTTCATTGAGCTTGTTGATTCGGGCAGAATTGGGCCAACCTGGAGCTTTAATCGGAGATGATCAAATTTATAATGTAATTGTTACGGCCCATGCTTTTGTAATGATTTTTTTTATGGTAATGCCTATTATGATTGGAGGTTTTGGGAATTGACTGGTACCTTTGATGTTGAGAGCCCCAGATATGGCCTTTCCCCGAATAAACAACATGAGTTTTTGGTTACTACCCCCTTCGCTTATGCTTTTGCTTTCTGGGAGTATGGTAGATAGAGGAGCTGGTACAGGTTGGACAGTTTACCCCCCTTTGTCGGGGGCCATCGCCCACGCAGGGGCTTCGGTAGATTTGAGTATTTTTTCATTGCATTTGGCAGGGATTTCATCAATTTTGGGGGCAATTAATTTTATCACAACGGTGATTAATATGCGCCCATCGGGCCTTAAGCTGGAACGAATACCGTTGTTTGTATGATCCGTAGCCATTACTGCTCTTTTATTGTTGCTTTCTTTGCCAGTATTGGCAGGGGCTATCACTATGCTTTTGACGGACCGGAACTTAAATACATCTTTTTTCGACCCTGCGGGAGGGGGGGACCCCATTCTTTATCAACATTTATTT

amino acid sequence

TLYFVFGAWSGMVGTSLSLLIRAELGQPGALIGDDQIYNVIVTAHAFVMIFFMVMPIMIGGFGNWLVPLMLSAPDMAFPRMNNMSFWLLPPSLMLLLSGSMVDSGAGTGWTVYPPLSGAIAHAGASVDLSIFSLHLAGISSILGAINFITTVINMRPSGLKLERMPLFVWSVAITALLLLLSLPVLAGAITMLLTDRNLNTSFFDPAGGGDPILYQHLF

Visual representation of DNA barcode sequence for Earwig

Learn more about it’s BIN (Barcode Index Number): BOLD:AAG9897

114/150: The Magnetic Gumboot Chiton


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Animalia: Mollusca: Polyplacophora: Chitonida: Acanthochitonidae: Cryptochiton: Cryptochiton stelleri (von Middendorff, 1847)

Chitons are some underrated interesting creatures. Like their better-known relatives, the gastropods, chitons have a mantle, a muscular foot for locomotion, and a radula for eating. Their radula, or ‘rasping tongue’ is made up of many teeth like structures that are capped with magnetite, an element with enough magnetic power to pick up these chitons with a magnet. Continue reading “114/150: The Magnetic Gumboot Chiton”

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


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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”

96/150: Surprisingly the butterwort lacks both butter and warts, but it does eat insects!


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Plantae: Magnoliophyta: Magnoliopsida: Lamiales: Pinguicula vulgaris (Linnaeus)

The common butterwort is an insectivorous plant that has some special basal leaves. The bright green leaves have glandular hairs that produce a sticky substance to trap insects and enzymes to break them down. Once an insect has been trapped, the plant curls its leaves in and digests it. Continue reading “96/150: Surprisingly the butterwort lacks both butter and warts, but it does eat insects!”

92/150: The Canadian Cicada, true North strong and free


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Animalia: Arthropoda: Insecta: Hemiptera: Cicadidae: Okanagana: Okanagana canadensis (Provancher, 1889)

Canadian Cicada is a very fitting name for this species as it is the most northerly found cicada, being seen as far north as the North West Territories. They can be found throughout Canada and the northern United States. Although it has been found in many different habitats, the Canadian cicada prefers conifer wood habitats like pine forests. Continue reading “92/150: The Canadian Cicada, true North strong and free”

89/150: Bizarre parenting brought to you by the Bot Fly


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Animalia: Arthropoda: Insecta: Diptera: Oestridae: Cuterebra: Cuterebra fontinella (Clark, 1827)

Nothing says parenting like leaving your young in the flesh of mammals to grow up. Members of the genus Cuterebra can be found parasitizing different hosts, but they all share the same process of parasitism. Adult bot flies are non-feeding with vestigial mouthparts that evolution rendered unusable. That leaves mating as their main goal for their life stage. Males wait for females and will mate with them in air. Females locate an area where hosts visit frequently through chemical cues, and will lay around 1200-4000 eggs. Being able to respond to changes in temperature and carbon dioxide concentrations, the larvae will hatch in response to the presence of a host, and aim to enter the host through the nostrils or open wounds. Once in a host, larvae will go through many stages of growth called instars and then drop out of the host and pupate in the ground. Finally, they emerge as adults ready to start the process again. #Canada150 #Biodiversity150

An adult Cuterebra fontinella. Photo Credit: CBG Photography Group, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics
A Cuterebra larva that would typically be found within the skin of mice and other rodents. Photo Credit: Sean McCann goo.gl/G8f53g

Here’s the barcode sequence information for this species:

Process ID:  BBDEC095-09

nucleotide sequence

AACATTATATTTTATTTTTGGAGCTTGATCTGGAATAGTAGGAACTTCTTTAAGTATACTTATTCGAGCAGAACTAGGACACCCAGGAGCACTAATTGGAGACGATCAAATTTACAATGTTATTGTAACAGCTCATGCTTTTATTATAATTTTTTTTATAGTTATACCAATTATAATTGGAGGATTTGGTAATTGACTAGTACCATTAATATTAGGAGCTCCTGATATAGCATTCCCACGTATAAATAATATAAGTTTTTGACTACTACCTCCATCTCTAACACTTTTATTGGTAAGAAGTATAGTAGAAAACGGAGCTGGTACAGGATGAACCGTTTACCCTCCCCTATCATCTAATATCGCTCACGGAGGAGCTTCTGTAGATTTAGCTATTTTTTCACTACATTTAGCTGGAATTTCATCTATTCTAGGTGCTGTAAATTTTATCACCACAGTAATTAACATACGATCAACAGGAATTACATTTGATCGAATACCCTTATTTGTTTGATCAGTAGTTATTACAGCATTACTATTACTTTTATCATTACCAGTTTTAGCCGGAGCTATTACTATACTTTTAACCGATCGAAACCTAAACACCTCATTTTTTGACCCAGCTGGAGGTGGAGACCCAATTTTATACCAACATTTATTC

amino acid sequence

TLYFIFGAWSGMVGTSLSMLIRAELGHPGALIGDDQIYNVIVTAHAFIMIFFMVMPIMIGGFGNWLVPLMLGAPDMAFPRMNNMSFWLLPPSLTLLLVSSMVENGAGTGWTVYPPLSSNIAHGGASVDLAIFSLHLAGISSILGAVNFITTVINMRSTGITFDRMPLFVWSVVITALLLLLSLPVLAGAITMLLTDRNLNTSFFDPAGGGDPILYQHLF

Visual representation of DNA barcode sequence for Bot Fly

Learn more about it’s BIN (Barcode Index Number): BOLD:AAH0836

86/150: Mantidfly nymphs take the word “cowboy” to a new level: they ride spiders!


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Animalia: Arthropoda: Insecta: Neuroptera: Mantispidae: Mantispinae: Leptomantispa: Leptomantispa pulchella (Banks 1912)

A Praying Mantis with spider riding nymphs?! Not quite! But this lovely mantid mimic is a member of the order Neuroptera, with the common name of ‘Mantid Fly.’ This species (Leptomantispa pulchella) has a large range all the way from Costa Rica to Canada. Continue reading “86/150: Mantidfly nymphs take the word “cowboy” to a new level: they ride spiders!”