The Collections team has worked hard the past 2 weeks sorting and preparing samples collected from schools around the country for this fall’s School Malaise Trap Program. Our first step was to count the specimens in each sample bottle and our grand total from 59 schools was 61,052 specimens! Our team then sorted through all those specimens to choose a select number from each school to represent the diversity found at all locations. We choose 16,045 specimens for DNA barcoding.
There was plenty of diversity of organisms found, ranging from 5 classes of animals – Insecta (insects), Arachnida (spiders, mites and their relatives), Gastropoda (snails and slugs), Diplopoda (millipedes), and Collembola (springtails). Within the insect group we revealed 14 orders including the more common Diptera (flies), Hymenoptera (wasps, bees, and ants), Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies), Coleoptera (beetles) and Hemiptera (true bugs). Some uncommon insects found were one odonate (dragonfly) from St. Ignatius of Loyola Catholic Elementary School in Guelph, Ontario and one plecopteran (stonefly) from Carleton North High School in Florenceville-Bristol, New Brunswick.
The next step is the DNA barcoding process in the lab where DNA is extracted, amplified and sequenced to give us our barcodes for each specimen. We target a specific piece of DNA that can help us identify what we found. The sequences are uploaded to our online database BOLD and compared to known sequences to confirm identification of the specimens.
Results will start pouring in the next few weeks… I wonder what school will have the highest diversity? What school collected the most specimens? Who discovered a new species?
The final count for St. Ignatius of Loyola for Week 2 reached about 40 insects (Level 1). Although our trap was taken down on Monday, we still have a few exciting reports: 1) a large dragonfly was the newest addition to our collection; 2) rabbit droppings were sighted beside the trap; 3) a black-and-orange caterpillar was seen on the trap; and 4) some white mushrooms are growing beside the trap… take a look!
The count is in the 30’s after a mid-week count yesterday at St. Ignatius of Loyola in Guelph. New additions include 2 ladybugs this time. We are happy to see some diversity! We are going to say goodbye to the trap tomorrow with the class by doing a photo shoot.
MOTH AND BEE–About 5-7 more insects were caught yesterday while it damper and colder at St. Ignatius of Loyola. Although it was a slower day, new additions include: a bee and a small type of moth. The moth is something we have not had before so the variety has been really interesting for us to see.
St. Ignatius of Loyola in Guelph collected 10-15 insects on Monday. Some new additions include: small fruit flies, and a black-and-white beetle. Several black flies were caught again. We are looking forward to see what the week will bring in terms of collection with this damp weather. Take a look inside!
As the first week ends, Mrs. Rose-Wideman’s class at St. Ignatius of Loyola is excited to report that 50 insects have been collected. New additions include: a cricket, a large grasshopper, spiders, and more black flies. We look forward to seeing what we will catch next week.
St. Ignatius of Loyola Catholic School is excited to report that over 16 organisms were caught in the Malaise Trap today! New additions include: a bee, a small grasshopper, quite a few black flies, and mosquitoes. Take a look: