148/150: Learn more about this Canadian rarity

Animalia: Arthropoda: Insecta: Lepidoptera: Geometridae: Larentiinae: Xanthorhoini: Xanthorhoe clarkeata (Douglas Ferguson, 1987)

The Xanthorhoe clarkeata are a newly discovered species of geometrid moth as of 1987. They live primarily on the Haida Gwaii Islands of British Columbia. This species is likely endemic to only these islands, making it a rare and unique species to Canada. Much like most geometrid moths, the females of X. clarkeata are totally wingless! The odd traits don’t end there, the unusual larval form of geometrid moths are known as inchworms. They gain their name from their interesting looping movement pattern thanks to a complete lack of legs in their middle section. Since the caterpillars only have two pairs of rear legs and three pairs of front legs, they anchor their rear legs, extend, and pull their body forward with their front legs giving the appearance of “inching” forward or “measuring” the earth as they walk. The movement of the caterpillars also gives way to their Greek family name: “Geometridae” or “earth measurer”. There are 2,188 geometrid moths with barcodes on BOLD. #Canada150 #Biodiversity150

Specimen CNCLEP00034073 – Graham Island, British Columbia – 27-Jul-1981. Photo Credit: Jeremy deWaard, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics
Specimen CCDB-20269-B09 – Graham Island, British Columbia – 27-Jul-1985. Photo Credit: CBG Photography Group, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics

Here’s the barcode sequence information for this species:

Process ID: LNAUS1730-13

nucleotide sequence


amino acid sequence


Visual representation of DNA barcode sequence for Xanthorhoe clarkeata

Learn more about it’s BIN (Barcode Index Number): BOLD:AAH9158

147/150: Nutty Facts about the Peanut Worm!

Animalia: Sipuncula: Phascolosomatidea: Phascolosomatida: Phascolosomatidae: Phascolosoma agassizii (Henri Marie Ducrotay de Blainville, 1827)

Peanut worms, also known as Sipunculids are marine worms in that typically dwell in shallow waters. Sipuncula means “little tube” or “siphon” in Latin and refers to the introvert of peanut worms, a long sensitive tube ringed with tentacles which they can extend to collect food. Continue reading “147/150: Nutty Facts about the Peanut Worm!”

114/150: The Magnetic Gumboot Chiton

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”

68/150: Did you know scorpions live in Canada too?

animalia: Arthropoda: Arachnida: Scorpiones: Vaejovidae: Paruroctonus: Paruroctonus boreus (Girard, 1854)

Paruroctonus boreus, or the Northern Scorpion, is native to British Columbia and Alberta and is the only species of scorpion found in Canada. Though a relatively common species, it is rarely seen due to its nocturnal nature. However, like all scorpions, P. boreus glows under black light due to fluorescent compounds found in its exoskeleton and can be found in the field by using a hand-held UV lamp. Continue reading “68/150: Did you know scorpions live in Canada too?”

54/150: Imagine a worm 60 metres long!

Animalia: Nemertea: Enopla: Monostilifera: Emplectonematidae: Paranemertes: Paranemertes peregrina (Coe, 1901)

Nemertea, also known as “ribbon worm” is a phylum of marine invertebrate worm-like animals that are characterized by their eversible proboscis. The proboscis is used to catch prey and comes out of the nemertean’s body and stabs its prey with a venomous tip. Continue reading “54/150: Imagine a worm 60 metres long!”

15/150: Pretty underwater feather dusters or worms with tentacle eyes? Why not both!

Animalia: Annelida: Polychaeta: Sabellida: Sabellidae: Eudistylia: Eudistylia vancouveri (Kinberg, 1866)

You wouldn’t expect that the beautiful Vancouver feather duster (Eudistylia vancouveri) is a type of worm, but that’s exactly what it is. It belongs to a class of segmented bristle worms called Polychaeta within the family Sabellidae, AKA feather duster worms. They are sedentary marine worms that live in parchment-like tubes made of sediment. Their heads are concealed in a feathery crown of colourful tentacles, called radioles, which are used for respiration and filter feeding. Continue reading “15/150: Pretty underwater feather dusters or worms with tentacle eyes? Why not both!”

6/150: Yellow cedars get cold feet

Plantae: Pinophyta: Pinidae: Pinales: Cupressaceae: Callitropsis: Callitropsis nootkatensis (D. Don, 1824)

One of the oldest known trees in Canada is a Yellow Cedar (Callitropsis nootkatensis), and its estimated age is over 1800 years! Unfortunately the tree was discovered after having been cut down in a clear cut operation in 1980. Continue reading “6/150: Yellow cedars get cold feet”

Beginning to Barcode British Columbia

The summer of 2014 can be said to have been CBG’s busiest field season. Not only was it the final year of the Canadian National Parks (CNP) Malaise Program, but we also focused on concentrated sampling efforts in provincial parks within Ontario and British Columbia (BC). Now that the CNP Program is complete, we were finally able to process some of our BC samples. Continue reading “Beginning to Barcode British Columbia”

DNA barcoding and Malaise traps capture the remarkable diversity in Canada’s National Parks

Hi everyone!

As some of you may know, we here at BIO spend a great deal of our field work sampling in Canada’s beautiful National Parks. In fact, from 2012 to 2014, BIO and Parks Canada partnered up to complete a massive national barcoding project that aimed to map out the country’s arthropod biodiversity: the Canadian National Parks (CNP) Malaise Program. I spent a lot of time planning, organizing, and coordinating this project and am thrilled to finally have results! Continue reading “DNA barcoding and Malaise traps capture the remarkable diversity in Canada’s National Parks”

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”