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

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


amino acid sequence


Visual representation of DNA barcode sequence for Platyhelminthes

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

104/150: Feeling crabby about pubic lice?

Animalia: Arthropoda: Insecta: Psocodea: Pthiridae: Pthirus: Pthirus pubis (Linnaeus, 1758)

Humans host three types of lice, which are wingless and unable to jump so they spend their entire lifecycle on the host. The pubic louse, a blood sucking parasite that lives exclusively on humans, can thrive anywhere on the body with coarse hair, such as in beards or the eyelashes. Continue reading “104/150: Feeling crabby about pubic lice?”

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

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


amino acid sequence


Visual representation of DNA barcode sequence for Bot Fly

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

83/150: Giving birth to live larvae through a hole in their head: The life cycle of the Twisted Wing Parasite

Animalia: Arthropoda: Insecta: Strepsiptera: Elenchidae: Elenchus: Elenchus tenuicornis (Kirby, 1815)

The Strepsiptera, or “twisted wing parasites” is a small insect order consisting of about 600 species in 9 extant families. Hosts are typically Hymenopterans (bees & wasps), but also include Orthopterans (grasshoppers & crickets) and Hemipterans (stink bugs and leafhoppers). Continue reading “83/150: Giving birth to live larvae through a hole in their head: The life cycle of the Twisted Wing Parasite”