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

120/150: Nematodes, one of the most abundant organisms on Earth

Animalia: Nematoda: Chromadorea: Rhabditida (Diesing, 1861)

Nematodes, aka roundworms, are extremely successful organisms that have adapted to almost every ecosystem; including polar regions, soils, as well as the inside of other organisms (you and me!). Nematodes represent 90% of all animals on the ocean floor and have been found at depths of over 3 km below the surface of the Earth in gold mines. Continue reading “120/150: Nematodes, one of the most abundant organisms on Earth”

97/150: An Ant Found Only In Canada

Animalia: Arthropoda: Insecta: Lepidoptera: Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Myrmicinae: Myrmica: Myrmica quebecensis (Francoeur 1981)

The ant species Myrmica quebecensis is a species endemic to Canada with an interesting biology. Rather than sustaining their own colonies, these ants are social parasites that rely on the colonies of another ant species to survive. Continue reading “97/150: An Ant Found Only In Canada”

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

A Mitey Start

Hello everyone, my name is Nathaniel Jones. This is my first blog of the summer. I am currently getting started on my new position here at BIO. I was fortunate enough to land the summer Undergraduate Research Assistantship position to sample the soil for arthropod diversity. So far this week I have just been getting started, learning a lot about the techniques of sampling small soil arthropods. Some of the mites are so tiny I am unable to use forceps, as they are almost microscopic and hard to distinguish from grains of sand. Continue reading “A Mitey Start”