149/150: Not your typical song scales

Animalia: Arthropoda: Insecta: Hemiptera: Sternorrhynncha: Coccoidea: Diaspididae: Quadraspidiotus: Quadraspidiotus perniciosus (Comstock, 1881)

Scale bugs are some pesky critters. Belonging to the order Hemiptera, they have a defining beak like characteristic used to suck out the contents of its prey. The females are typically immobile and have a waxy scale like surface whereas the males have one set of functioning forewings and suppressed hindwings. Continue reading “149/150: Not your typical song scales”

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

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


amino acid sequence


Visual representation of DNA barcode sequence for Milkweed bug

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

127/150: Happy Halloween! The Masked Hunter wears a costume of disguise!

Animalia: Arthropoda: Insecta: Hemiptera: Reduviidae: Reduviinae: Reduvius: Reduvius personatus (Linnaeus, 1758)

The Masked Hunter is a true bug belonging to the family Reduviidae, also known as the Assassin Bugs. In accordance to their dangerous sounding common name they are known to have a painful bite, but they are relatively harmless towards humans as they don’t feed on blood or transmit diseases. The nymphs of this species are very interesting because they exude a sticky substance from “head to toe” allowing them to collect dust, lint and other particles. This natural camouflage enables them to ambush their unsuspecting prey. The next time you see a dust bunny floating around your house take a closer look as it may be a Masked Hunter in disguise! #Canada150 #Biodiversity150 #Halloween

Specimen CNC#HEM300372 – Osoyoos, British Columbia – 20-Jun-2005. Photo Credit: CNC/BIO Photography Group, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics
A Masked Hunter nymph covered in sand as its costume for Halloween! Photo Credit: Chiswick Chap goo.gl/6FKrhN
Close-up view of the Masked Hunters piercing mouthparts. Photo Credit: Thomas Pieper goo.gl/H5PXkw

Here’s the barcode sequence information for this species:

Process ID: HMCN586-09

nucleotide sequence


amino acid sequence


Visual representation of DNA barcode sequence for Masked Hunter Bug

Learn more about it’s BIN (Barcode Index Number): BOLD:AAH2979

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

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”

71/150: A lesser known truth of giant water bugs

Animalia: Arthropoda: Insecta: Hemiptera: Belostomatidae: Belostomatinae: Belostoma: Belostoma flumineum (Say, 1832)

Happy Father’s Day! Belostoma flumineum is a member of the genus Belostoma, commonly known as giant water bugs. These predatory insects can be found in wetlands, marshes, and ponds across North America, and can grow to be about 2.5 cm long. Though commonly known for their impressive size and painful bite, they’ve also got very dedicated fathers! Continue reading “71/150: A lesser known truth of giant water bugs”

Wild water bugs and warm weather

As part of this summer’s ongoing BIObus adventures Adrian, Connor, Nate and I got the chance to go hunting for arthropods in the beautiful Bruce Peninsula last week. With the weather being more than welcoming, we eagerly strapped on our waders and set out to explore the diverse aquatic habitats of the Grey-Bruce region. One thing I couldn’t help but notice during our daily sampling sessions was the abundance of belostomatids in almost every area we were. Continue reading “Wild water bugs and warm weather”

Sweeping Into Action

This week we deployed a sampling team of 5 to set up 3 sites for standardized sampling at rare Charitable Research Reserve in Cambridge. Four colleagues and I set out early Monday morning to get started on our days’ work. I was eager to get back out to the field and set up some traps. For a few of our crew members it was their first time preparing the array of traps for our standardized sampling. Continue reading “Sweeping Into Action”

Imaging Insects From Saudi Arabia

Since early May we have been focusing on completing all the images of specimens from Canadian National Parks and the Mecca region in Saudi Arabia from the Global Malaise Trap Program. Of the specimens I have imaged, there are some unique species from Saudi Arabia that stood out. Their life history has always intrigued me. Continue reading “Imaging Insects From Saudi Arabia”