The ants that herd aphids

Oleander aphids (Photo by cory_silas_sheffield, CC BY-NC 4.0)

Oleander aphids (Photo by cory_silas_sheffield, CC BY-NC 4.0)

On July 21, 2021, I was carrying out annual conservation monitoring at the Old Man on His Back Prairie and Heritage Conservation Area (OMB), when I came across an unusual sight: much of the silver sagebrush that covers the property was covered...

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What’s that stuff on my tree? A guide to Manitoba’s lichens

Lichen on tree (Photo courtesy of Manitoba Museum)

Lichen on tree (Photo courtesy of Manitoba Museum)

If you’re an observant person, you may have noticed colourful things growing on Manitoba’s trees and rocks. Although some of these organisms are mosses (especially near the base), they are more likely to be lichens. Bright orange...

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Discoveries in little-known fungi: Adventures in looking at lichens

Opegrapha parmeliiperda, cross section of one fruiting body showing four-celled spores developing inside spore sacs; blue colour result of treatment with potassium hydroxide followed by Lugol’s iodine solution. (Photo courtesy of Kendra Driscoll)

Opegrapha parmeliiperda, cross section of one fruiting body showing four-celled spores developing inside spore sacs; blue colour result of treatment with potassium hydroxide followed by Lugol’s iodine solution. (Photo courtesy of Kendra Driscoll)

I used to think that scientists understood the basics about most living things on Earth, that new species were all discovered long ago by people like Linnaeus and Darwin. Maybe you could find new species in the most remote corners of the planet,...

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Grasslands, close-up

Western bergamot (Photo by NCC)

Western bergamot (Photo by NCC)

As a conservation intern with the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) this past summer, I have had the wonderful opportunity to explore the land that we help conserve here in Saskatchewan. Growing up in this province, I developed a love for the...

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Clowns of the sea: the Atlantic puffin

Atlantic puffins (Photo by Laurel Bernard/NCC staff)

Atlantic puffins (Photo by Laurel Bernard/NCC staff)

The summer of 1999 was a unique one for me. I spent three months living on a small 23-acre (9.5 hectare) island 16 kilometres away from the nearest land. Machias Seal Island in New Brunswick was home to two full-time lighthouse keepers, three...

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Wild cats of Canada

Bobcat (Photo by Gary Kramer, courtesy of USFWS)

Bobcat (Photo by Gary Kramer, courtesy of USFWS)

Today (August 8) is International Cat Day, an occasion started by the International Fund for Animal Welfare in 2002. In honour of International Cat Day, learn about the three wild cat species found in Canada. All of Canada’s wild cats all...

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Unlikely animal pairings: Part two

Brown-headed cowbird (Photo by David Dodd CC BY-NC)

Brown-headed cowbird (Photo by David Dodd CC BY-NC)

This is part two of a two-part series on unlikely animal pairings. Check out part one, the hunting partnership between an American badger and a coyote, here. Another unlikely animal partnership features a bird that is known to take advantage of...

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Unlikely animal pairings: Part one

Coyote (Photo by Paul Turbitt)

Coyote (Photo by Paul Turbitt)

Have you ever seen the internet stories entitled “unlikely animal friends”? Usually, they are stories about a dog and a cat that sleep together, but sometimes they are about more exotic couplings, like an ostrich and a giraffe, or a...

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Paw in claw: Friendships in the wild

A sea anemone hitching a ride on a hermit crab. (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

A sea anemone hitching a ride on a hermit crab. (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

Friendships are one of the most organic things that can happen between humans. An often magical thing, these bonds are strong and can last a lifetime. While these human connections are no doubt valuable, for animals, “friendships,”...

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It’s turtle time!

Blanding's turtle (Photo by NCC)

Blanding's turtle (Photo by NCC)

Anyone who drives the winding, hilly roads of Ontario’s Frontenac Arch is familiar with the picturesque views of forest rolling along granite ridges, lakes scattered across the landscape, diverse wetlands and the potential for wildlife...

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