136/150: Poach Eggs Not Whitefish

Animalia: Chordata: Actinopterygii: Salmoniformes: Salmonidae: Coregonus: Coregonus huntsmani (W. B. Scott, 1987)

The Atlantic whitefish (Coregonus huntsmani), is native to Nova Scotia, Canada residing in the Tusket River and Petite Riviere. If you see this species, consider yourself lucky. In 1970, under the federal Fisheries Act, the fishing for the species was prohibited. Habitat loss from the damming of the Tusket River contributed to its decline as well as introduced fish species. To this day, it is still considered endangered. The Atlantic whitefish has silver coloured sides and a darkish blue-green back, spawns in freshwater and lives out most of its life in the sea. Its diet consists of amphipods, periwinkles and marine worms. #Canada150 #Biodiversity150

The Atlantic whitefish (Coregonus huntsmani), an endangered species. Photo Credit: Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada goo.gl/x8k8Ca
Range of the Atlantic whitefish. Photo Credit: Government of Canada goo.gl/GZy7UT

Here’s the barcode sequence information for this species:

Process ID: BCFB943-07

nucleotide sequence


amino acid sequence


Visual representation of DNA barcode sequence for Atlantic Whitefish

Learn more about it’s BIN (Barcode Index Number): BOLD:AAI9334

122/150: Happy Hagfish Day!

Animalia: Chordata: Myxini: Myxiniformes: Myxinidae: Eptatretinae: Eptatretus: Eptatretus stoutii (Lockington, 1878)

The Pacific Hagfish is a jawless fish species that has a long, eel-like body. They are boneless, with only cartilage and keratin structures and flexible enough they can tie themselves into knots – a useful tool for applying some biting force when you have no jaw! They live up to 1000 meters below the surface, and feed on the carcasses of various aquatic animals, although they can go months without food. They are most famous for their unique predator evasion method: creating bucket loads of slime. Their skin is loose, and packed with slime glands, which – when grabbed by the biting mouth of a potential predator – release copious amounts of slime proteins. These fish can produce an immense quantity of slime in seconds, which makes them slippery and clogs up the mouths, and gills, of their attackers. Unfortunately their population is thought to be declining, because of their value in Asian eel-leather markets. #HagfishDay #Canada150 #Biodiversity150

Pacific Hagfish ties itself in knots to eat and remove itself from its own slime! Photo Credit: kinskarije goo.gl/i23yAH
Pacific Hagfish curled up and resting. Photo Credit: Jeanette_bham goo.gl/m26Dgg
Specimen NEOCAL07-0004 – Bamfield Inlet, British Columbia – 13-Jun-2007. Photo Credit: Dirk Steinke & Tyler Zemlak, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics

Here’s the barcode sequence information for this species:

Process ID: TZFPA151-07

nucleotide sequence


amino acid sequence


Visual representation of DNA barcode sequence for Hagfish

Learn more about it’s BIN (Barcode Index Number): BOLD:AAC6695

118/150: A snake that plays possum

Animalia: Chordata: Reptilia: Squamata: Colubridae: Dipsadinae: Heterodon: Heterodon platirhinos (Latreille, 1801)

The eastern hognose snake is named for its distinctive upturned snout, which it uses to dig through sandy soil. Individuals average about 28 inches in length, with the females typically being larger than males. They are found in several pockets of eastern North America, and can come in a variety of colour combinations depending on their locale. Continue reading “118/150: A snake that plays possum”

117/150: Just out of sight-The commonly overlooked Western Redback Salamander

Animalia: Chordata: Amphibia: Caudata: Plethodontidae: Plethodontinae: Plethodon: Plethodon vehiculum (Cooper, 1860)

The western redback salamander is a relatively small salamander, measuring about 4 to 10 centimeters in length, and is commonly identified by distinctive stripe down their back. Though their name indicates this stripe as red, it can also be yellow, olive, and tan. In some cases, it doesn’t appear at all. Continue reading “117/150: Just out of sight-The commonly overlooked Western Redback Salamander”

107/150: Loggerhead Shrike – The “Butcher Bird”

Animalia: Chordata: Aves: Passeriformes: Laniidae: Lanius: Lanius ludovicianus Linnaeus, 1766

The loggerhead shrike (Lanius ludovicianus) is classed as Endangered, with only 31 breeding pairs reported in Ontario in 2009, leading to many captive breeding programs. Although classed as a passerine bird (often known as perching, or song birds), shrikes hunt in an almost hawk-like way, impaling prey on spiny bushes or barbed wire fences before tearing it apart to eat. Continue reading “107/150: Loggerhead Shrike – The “Butcher Bird””

103/150: National Hummingbird Day – The Calliope Hummingbird

Animalia: Chordata: Aves: Apodiformes: Trochilidae: Selasphorus: Selasphorus calliope (Gould, 1847)

The first Saturday in September is being celebrated as National Hummingbird Day. Read on to learn more about the Calliope hummingbird. These birds are spunky, territorial, and have the nerve to chase away hawks while resembling the size of a ping pong ball! Continue reading “103/150: National Hummingbird Day – The Calliope Hummingbird”

93/150: What a big mouth!

Animalia: Chordata: Elasmobranchii: Lamniformes: Cetorhinidae: Cetorhinus: Cetorhinus maximus  (Gunnerus, 1765)

Basking sharks are known as the second biggest fish in the ocean reaching lengths of up to 10 metres and weighing almost 6 tonnes! But unlike its menacing cousins the basking shark is a gentle creature that feeds on small organisms such as plankton through filter-feeding. By using a thousand bristle-like structures on their gills and a mouth that can reach 1 metre in diameter they create a passive net and filtering system. Continue reading “93/150: What a big mouth!”

88/150: Whale, hello there Belugas!

Animalia: Chordata: Mammalia: Artiodactyla: Cetacea: Monodontidae: Delphinapterus: Delphinapterus leucas (Pallas, 1776)

The beluga whale is an enigmatic species well known to the Canadian Arctic. It is also known as a sea canary because of its high-pitched chirping and can grow up to 20 ft in length and weigh more than a ton! Continue reading “88/150: Whale, hello there Belugas!”

48/150: Talk about using your nose!

Animalia: Chordata: Mammalia: Eulipotyphla: Talpidae: Scalopinae: Condylura cristata (Linnaeus, 1758)

Moles belong to the family Talpidae which are known for their burrowing behaviours. The star-nosed mole is interestingly distinguishable from all other moles due to a ring of tentacle-like organs surrounding the snout. These fleshy appendages form the star-shaped Eimer’s organs. Continue reading “48/150: Talk about using your nose!”

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

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)”