Every year, the Entomological Society of America holds a YouTube Your Entomology contest in association with its annual meeting. This year, NBP team member Sarah Loboda submitted a video that she created after her 2010 field season in Schefferville, QC. It’s been featured on this blog before, but it warrants another viewing (it’s just that awesome!) We may be biased, but we’re pretty sure this is a winning entry. Good luck, Sarah!
By Chris Buddle, McGill University
The Arctic Pseudoscorpion Wyochernes asiaticus
I am heading back home after a simply amazing field trip to the Yukon Territory. As mentioned in a previous post, one of the goals of the trip was to collect more specimens of an Arctic pseudoscorpion Wyochernes asiaticus (Family Chernetidae) – a Beringian species known from Siberia, Tibet, and the Yukon. This species survived the last great glaciation event in North America by living in unglaciated regions of the northwest, including parts of the Yukon. In 2008 I had collected this species under rocks beside high elevation and high latitude creeks and rivers in a few locations in the Yukon. On this trip, my goal was to collect more specimens to further assess the distribution of this Beringian species, and to gather more life-history information including estimates of size and fecundity. Because of the relative rarity of pseudoscorpions, few data exist that describe life-history parameters of these arachnids.
Despite some rather wet and cold weather for a lot of the trip, the pseudoscorpion collecting was completely successful – we were able to collect hundreds of specimens, from the south end of the Dempster Highway (approximate latitude 64.3 degrees N) all the way up into the Northwest Territories (>67 degrees N). We collected specimens under rocks in more boreal regions, as well as the upper headwaters of high elevation creeks – some of these less than a metre wide. Here is an example of one of these northern, high elevation creeks in the Northwest Territories, just beyond the Yukon-NWT border:
An Arctic, high-elevation stream in the Northwest Territories: pseudoscorprion country!
To give you some idea of the ease of collecting, here is an example of what you might find when flipping over rocks beside the creeks:
Several Wyochernes asiaticus (Pseudoscorpiones) females (with yellow eggs visible)
I was also able to capture some video of these pseudoscorpions – as far as I am aware, Wyochernes has never before been videotaped, so this is the FIRST EVER movie of this species!
Our larger research goals included more than pseudoscorpion colleting, and I was in the Yukon with a wonderful team of scientists, including my graduate students Crystal Ernst, Katie Sim, a post-doctoral researcher Dr. Laura Timms, and an entomology professor from the University of Manitoba, Dr. Barb Sharanowski. We all had different objectives and goals for the Yukon trip, and over the next couple of weeks. I will post some more research stories from this field-work to give a sense of the scope of our research efforts in the Yukon.
The research team at the Arctic circle (Laura, Katie, Crystal, Barb & Chris)
Originally posted at Dr. Buddle’s Arthropod Ecology blog, here: http://arthropodecology.com/2012/07/19/successful-pseudoscorpion-hunting-in-the-yukon/
News from Chis Buddle in Iqaluit:
- One cabinet drawer of the insect collection prepared in Iqaluit
From 6 to 13 July, Chris Buddle (Team Leader) and Nicolas Chatel-Launay (undergraduate student) completed field work in Iqaluit – although the weather started cold (6C) and wet, it cleared about half way through our trip and we had several excellent days of collecting. Our objective was to prepare an insect collection of representative and common species in the Iqaluit area. This involved catching, pinning, spreading, and labeling insects and spiders and preparing them in two display cabinets as an ‘educational’ collection. The collection was left at the Nunavut Research Institute in the care of our colleague Jamal Shirley. We ended up collecting half of the known butterfly species for southern Baffin island, and this involved some serious chasing; Nicolas was especially proficient at bounding over the tundra in pursuit of the fast fliers. We also had good representative specimens of ground beetles, bees, and many many flies!
We also had help form some people that live in the Iqaluit area: David Nakashuk, a student at the Arctic College, helped us set up our Malaise Trap and helped pick black flies off rocks. First Air employee, and future field scientists Eva quickly become an expert spider-hunter in the afternoon she spent with us. We also spent time with Carolyn Mallory – she has lived in Iqaluit for over 12 years, and has written a soon-to-be-published book about common insects in the North. Carolyn took us collecting at Rotary Park in Apex (5 km from Iqaluit), and she also donated some of her weevil and wasps specimens to our collection. This kind of help is really appreciated.
On the 11 July, Chris gave a talk at the Nunavut Research Institute in their brand-new facility. This was well attended, and many insect enthusiasts were in attendance. Given the cool and wet weather, we took advantage of some of the cultural experiences in Iqaluit – we toured the Legislative Assembly on one afternoon, and we took part in Nunavut Day activities on the 9 July. This included watching a seal skinning competition – not something you see everyday! Many local celebrities were in attendance, although the most popular was the NHL hockey player Jordin Tootoo (he’s from Nunavut). We also enjoyed Muskox Burgers at the Store House Bar & Grill, located at the famous Frobisher Inn.
We left Iqaluit with mixed emotions – it was sad to leave the long days, friendly people, and ever-expansive Tundra, but also nice to get back home to see family. Our Insect Collection was well received and if you are ever in Iqaluit, please visit the Nunavut Research Institute to take a look.
Slow northern internet connections have hindered our ability to keep this blog updated in a timely manner, but now that we have team members back in the south, the blog is back in business! Our first long-overdue update comes from Team Wells, with a wrap up of the first leg of their journey, as told by team leader Doug Currie:
Team Wells wrapped up a memorable trip to the Mackenzie Valley last week. In addition to completing all the required sampling protocols, we got out for a fine day of riverboat collecting on the Mackenzie River (courtesy of Richard Popko, NWT Department of Resources, Wildlife & Economic Development) and a helicopter trip into the foothills of the Mackenzie Mountains (courtesy of Glen Guthrie, Sahtu Renewable Resources Board). This gave us access to sites that were otherwise completely inaccessible, providing many fine collections.
Helicopter perched on the bank of a black fly infested river in the Mackenzie MountainsRuben Cordero experiments with a novel technique to dislodge aquatic insects from the substrate.
Not to be outdone by “Team Arthropod’s” entry in Yellowknife’s “Midnight Sun Triathlon”, Team Wells participated in the Third Annual Bearathon in Norman Wells, finishing the 5K race in the medals! The fact that anyone crossing the finish line received a medal shouldn’t diminish our accomplishment!
Our time in Norman Wells passed all too quickly, and it was with mixed emotions that we moved on to our next site. Many thanks to all of our good friends in Norman Wells, including Alasdair Veitch, Richard Popko, and Glen Guthrie. We couldn’t have accomplished our objectives without your support!
Anna, Katie and Ruben departed for a night in Inuvik, before hooking up with new Team Leader Terry Wheeler in Dawson City. They are now stationed at the Tombstone Mountain campground in Yukon’s Ogilvie Mountains. “Old” Team Leader Doug returned to Toronto, where he’s now gearing up to rejoin Team Wells on the last leg of the trip… to the wilds of Aulavik National Park on northern Banks Island. Standby for the next Team Wells blog post, originating from the heart of Klondike Country. Beringia it on!