49/150: BEHOLD! The longest migration of any bird, The Arctic Tern


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Animalia: Chordata: Aves: Charadriformes: Laridae: Sterna: Sterna paradisaea (Pontoppidan, 1763)

The Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea) is a winter, sea-faring bird with the longest yearly migration of any known species. They will travel a total of 70,900 km in one year from their breeding site in Northern Canada and Europe to their winter home near Antarctica. Continue reading “49/150: BEHOLD! The longest migration of any bird, The Arctic Tern”

44/150: I’ve got black tiger stripes and can be found all over Canada!


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animalia: Arthropoda: Insecta: Lepidoptera: Papilionidae: Papilioninae: Papilio: Papilio canadensis (Rothschild & Jordan, 1906)

Commonly known as the Canadian Tiger Swallowtail, Papilio canadensis is one of the most well-known butterflies in Canada because of its large size (wingspan of 7-10 cm) and distinctive pattern (yellow with black tiger stripes). They are found in all provinces with ranges extending to the north of the Arctic Circle in Yukon, Ontario, and Quebec. Continue reading “44/150: I’ve got black tiger stripes and can be found all over Canada!”

42/150: Nature’s Underwater Architect


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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”

35/150: A Purple Sea Urchin for Purple Day!


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animalia: Echinodermata: Echinoidea: Echinoida: Strongylocentrotidae: Strongylocentrotus: Strongylocentrotus purpuratus (Stimpson, 1857)

Today is Purple Day, a day of support for people with epilepsy. We thought we’d share a very purple creature, the Purple Sea Urchin (Strongylocentrotus purpuratus). Continue reading “35/150: A Purple Sea Urchin for Purple Day!”

32/150: Put a spring in your step and celebrate frogs with us!


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Animalia: Chordata: Amphibia: Anura: Ranidae: Rana: Rana sylvatica LeConte, 1825

It’s officially the first day of spring (finally!) and it also happens to be World Frog Day! Check out this cool infographic about frogs made by the National Aquarium in Baltimore to learn more about these cool creatures. Continue reading “32/150: Put a spring in your step and celebrate frogs with us!”

30/150: Hail Hydra! The immortal cnidarian


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animalia: Cnidaria: Hydrozoa: Anthoathecata: Hydridae: Hydra: Hydra canadensis (Rowan, 1930)

From Marvel movies to Greek mythology, ‘Hydra’ is a familiar word referring to a many headed monster that can regenerate heads for every one cut off. It sounds far-fetched, but in fact, is exactly what the freshwater cnidarian can do. Hydra is a genus containing tubular radially symmetric organisms that are a maximum of 1 cm long. Their tentacles contain the same stinging cells (or cnidocytes) found in anemones and jellyfish, that can fire bursts of neurotoxin when triggered by prey. If Hydra are attacked they can recoil into a small gelatinous sphere to protect themselves. Hydra can reproduce both sexually and asexually, depending on environmental conditions like food abundance. Hydra have a remarkable ability to regenerate after they’ve been injured, growing new feet from head fragments, and vice versa, thanks to their bodies being composed mostly of stem cells. They also appear to be immortal; showing no signs of deteriorating with age under idealistic conditions. Definitely cool! #HailHydra #Canada150 #Biodiversity150

Specimen 08BBCNI-0002 – Waterton Lakes National Park – 8-Aug-2008 – Free Hand. Photo Credit: Alison Forde, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics
Image of a live Hydra (Hydra vulgaris). Photo Credit: Proyecto Agua goo.gl/qusius

Here’s the barcode sequence information for this species:

Process ID:  SAHYD001-10

nucleotide sequence

AACTTTATATATAATCTTTGGAGCTTTTTCTGGAATGATAGGCACTGCTTTAAGTATGTTAATTAGAATTGAACTTTCAGCACCTGGTAGAATAATAGGAGATGATCATCTATATAACGTTATAGTAACAGCTCATGCTTTTGTCATGATATTTTTTTTAGTAATGCCAGTCTTGATAGGAGGCTATGGGAACTGATTTGTTCCTATTTATATAGGAGCACCGGATATGGCTTTCCCTAGACTTAATAACCTAAGTTTTTGATTACTCCCCCCCGCATTAATCCTGCTTTTAACTTCTTCTCTAGTAGAACAAGGAGCTGGAACAGGATGGACTGTCTACCCACCTTTATCTGGTCCATTAGCTCATTCAGGAGGGTCTGTTGATTTAGCTATTTTTAGTTTACATTGTGCTGGTTTTTCTTCTATTGCAGGAGCTATAAATTTTATAACAACTATTTTCAATATGAGAACACCGGGTTTAACATTTGATAAACTTCCTCTATTTGTCTGATCAGTATTAATTACNNCATTTTTATTATTATTGTCTTTGCCTGTTTTAGCAGGAGCAATAACTATGCTTTTAACCGATAGAAATTTTAATACTACTTTTTTTGATCCTGCTGGAGGGGGTGATCCTGTATTATATCAACATTTATTT

amino acid sequence

TLYIIFGAFSGMIGTALSMLIRIELSAPGRIIGDDHLYNVIVTAHAFVMIFFLVMPVLIGGYGNWFVPIYIGAPDMAFPRLNNLSFWLLPPALILLLTSSLVEQGAGTGWTVYPPLSGPLAHSGGSVDLAIFSLHCAGFSSIAGAINFITTIFNMRTPGLTFDKLPLFVWSVLIXXFLLLLSLPVLAGAITMLLTDRNFNTTFFDPAGGGDPVLYQHLF

Visual representation of DNA barcode sequence for Hydra canadensis

Learn more about it’s BIN (Barcode Index Number): BOLD:AAN4537

Title Image: Specimen 08BBCNI-0001 – Waterton Lakes National Park – 8-Aug-2008 – Free Hand
Photo Credit: Alison Forde, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics

28/150: Vampires of the Sea (and your worst nightmare)


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animalia: Chordata: Cephalaspidomorphi: Petromyzontiformes: Petromyzontidae: Petromyzon: Petromyzon marinus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Sea Lampreys (Petromyzon marinus) look like eels but don’t be fooled! They are jawless and have concentric circles of teeth in their horrifying, suction-cup like mouth. They are a predatory species and they attach on to the side of a fish, tear away its skin, and suck out its blood. Continue reading “28/150: Vampires of the Sea (and your worst nightmare)”

23/150: And you thought only vertebrates breathe with lungs? Meet the Arctic Pond Snail


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Animalia: Mollusca: Gastropoda: Hygrophila: Lymnaeidae: Stagnicola: Stagnicola arctica (Lea, 1864)

The Arctic Pond Snail (Stagnicola arctica) is a freshwater gastropod belonging to the family Lymnaeidae. This species occurs across northern Canada from Labrador to the Yukon Territory and are typically found in lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, ditches and muskeg pools. Continue reading “23/150: And you thought only vertebrates breathe with lungs? Meet the Arctic Pond Snail”

21/150: The Plant That Bites Back


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Plantae: Magnoliophyta: Magnoliopsida: Caryophyllales: Droseraceae: Drosera: Drosera linearis (Goldie)

The slender leaf sundew (Drosera linearis) is a carnivorous plant that lives in boggy areas with nitrogen-poor soil.  Their main diet consists of mosquitoes and other small insects, which they trap using sticky hair-like structures on their leaves.  It can take the plant as little as 15 minutes to kill the mosquito, but they digest their insect prey for up to 2 weeks! Continue reading “21/150: The Plant That Bites Back”

14/150: Woolly Bear Caterpillars Surviving Winter


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Animalia: Arthropoda: Insecta: Lepidoptera: Lymantriidae: Gynaephora: Gynaephora groenlandica (Homeyer., 1874)

Tired of winter? Get some tips on winter survival from the Arctic Woolly Bear caterpillar (Gynaephora groenlandica). Did you know this caterpillar lives up to 7 (some suggest 14) years before pupating into a moth? Continue reading “14/150: Woolly Bear Caterpillars Surviving Winter”