A new invasive weevil that is turning berry buds into duds in British Columbia

By Michelle Franklin, Paul Abram, and Tracy Hueppelsheuser

 

Most of the weevils we find in raspberry and strawberry fields in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia (BC) are nocturnal, so you would be hard pressed to find adult weevils without venturing out at night with your headlamp or flashlight.  However, in 2019 a curious small black weevil was observed during the day in a backyard raspberry patch in Abbotsford, BC.

The first specimens of this weevil were collected by Provincial Entomologist and coauthor, Tracy Hueppelsheuser from the BC Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries and sent to taxonomists and co-authors, Dr. Patrice Bouchard from the Canadian National Collection and Dr. Robert Anderson from the Canadian Museum of Nature for their expert identification. It turned out that this weevil was indeed new to the Fraser Valley, BC.  This tiny (2.5 – 3mm), black, long nosed weevil was the strawberry blossom weevil, Anthonomus rubi, which is native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa. This was the first observation of this species in North America.

Strawberry blossom weevil is not just a pest of strawberries.  It is able to feed and reproduce on a wide variety of plants in the family Rosaceae, including other economically important berry crops such as raspberries and blackberries.  Adult weevils overwinter in the leaf litter and become active in the spring.  After mating, the female chews a hole inside a closed flower bud, lays her egg inside, and then clips the stem below, killing the bud and preventing fruit development.  The weevil larva then develops inside the bud and emerges as an adult about a month later when temperatures are warm in the summer.  In its native range, the weevil  completes a single generation each year.

I started my position as a research scientist in July 2020, specializing in small fruit entomology and Integrated Pest Management at the Agassiz Research and Development Centre of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.  With help from Paul Abram (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada), Tracy Hueppelsheuser (BC Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries), and crop consulting company, ES Cropconsult we hit the ground running, completing surveys in the Fraser Valley in the summer 2020 to determine the distribution and associated host plants of the strawberry blossom weevil.  We found adult weevils on cultivated plants (e.g. strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, and rose) and wild hosts (e.g. salmonberry, thimbleberry, Himalayan blackberry, and wild rose).  Our survey found this species to be well established throughout the Fraser Valley from Richmond to Hope.

However, there is some good news for potential natural pest control.  Later during the summer we saw parasitoid wasps around weevil-damaged Himalayan blackberry buds.  We knew that some species of parasitoid wasps had the potential to be natural enemies of the weevil. Parasitoid wasps lay eggs on weevil larvae and their offspring often develop on the larvae resulting in their death. This behaviour has been successfully used as biological control of other weevil pests for decades. Hence, we initiated natural enemy surveys by collecting damaged buds from the field.  Although COVID protocols restricted lab access, I monitored damaged buds in my temporary laboratory (a.k.a home garage) and within a few weeks parasitoids emerged! Over the summer, we had over 150 parasitoids emerge from strawberry blossom weevil damaged buds. With the help of taxonomist and co-author, Dr. Gary Gibson from the Canadian National Collection, we identified the metallic-colored parasitoid to the genus Pteromalus. Future work is needed to identify the parasitoid to the species level, determine its origin (native to North America or inadvertently introduced from another continent), and determine its impact on strawberry blossom weevil populations.

I am continuing to work with my co-authors to understand the biology of this new pest and its natural enemies, with the goal of using this knowledge to develop sustainable pest management strategies in the future.  If you are interested in this new berry pest, please contact me at michelle.franklin@agr.gc.ca.

Free online access to article (until October 4, 2021): Click here

Links to information pages:

Strawberry blossom weevil – Anthonomus rubi Herbst – Canadian Food Inspection Agency (canada.ca)

Anthonomus rubi Detection in Canada Anthonomus rubi D tection au Canada | Phytosanitary Alert System (pestalerts.org)

Strawberry Blossom Weevil – Invasive Species Council of British Columbia (bcinvasives.ca)

Full article: https://doi.org/10.4039/tce.2021.28

2021 North American Forest Insect Work Conference

25-28 May 2021
Shaping Forests: Action in a Changing World

We are proud to announce that the final program has been published and is now available for your viewing pleasure!

Registration is now OPEN with early bird registration occurring until May 1!
Please visit the NAFIWC website to register!

Student Competition Judges: We are currently in search of nine judges for three sessions of student paper competitions all on Wednesday May 26th!
If you are able, please contact Kier Klepzig (kier.klepzig@jonesctr.org) or Rich Hofstetter (rich.hofstetter@nau.edu).

The NAFIWC 2021 Proceedings will be published as a USDA Forest Service General Technical Report, publicly available online. All presenters (talks and posters) are encouraged to submit a short synopsis of their work (1-3 pages maximum, including tables and figure as appropriate) for publication in the proceedings. Reports and abstracts will not be edited so please take care to provide a quality document. Please send submissions via email to Deepa Pureswaran at deepa.pureswaran@canada.ca by May 25. Submitted abstracts will be used lieu of synopses if not received by the deadline.

Check this site often, we will be announcing training sessions for virtual presentations for moderators and speakers soon!

Mark your calendars for Black in Entomology Week, happening virtually from Feb. 22-26. This is an event dedicated to celebrating and supporting Black entomologists, organized by Maydianne Andrade, Swanne Gordon, Vik Iyengar, Shakara Maggitt, Michelle Samuel-Foo, Jessica Ware, and Natasha Young.

The goals of #BlackInEnto week include fostering community among Black entomologists, including students and enthusiasts, for Black entomologists to inspire others and share their passion for insects (and other terrestrial arthropods), and to create funding opportunities for Black entomology students.

In addition to daily content on the @BlackInEnto twitter feed, there is a fantastic schedule of live panel discussions and social events on zoom. Some highlights include:

 

Tuesday Feb. 23

A panel on Black in Entomology with organizers Maydianne Andrade, Michelle Samuel-Foo, and Jessica Ware. This discussion will focus on the challenges and successes of Black entomologists, and ways everyone can get involved in efforts to diversify entomology and support Black entomologists. Hosted by the California Academy of Sciences. Watch here.

Plus, discussions about Entomology Careers, Getting into Undergraduate Research, and a community building social for non-traditional students. Full schedule here.

 

Wednesday Feb. 24

Panel discussion: Contributions of Black Entomologists to Insect Sciences. Hosted by Texas A&M University. Register here.

 

Thursday Feb. 24       

Panel discussion on Colonialism in Entomology, and an Entomology Trivia Night. Full schedule here.

 

Full schedules and registration links, profiles of Black Entomologists, and more can be found on the Black in Ento website here.

SEPTEMBER 14–19, 2020

This year BugFest, a North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences annual event, will go online. It will be a virtual infestation!  Join us as we interact with entomologists from North Carolina and around the world to learn about the fascinating world of bugs. We will have SIX days of buggy adventures as we celebrate our theme arthropod … THE FLY!

2020 THEME ARTHROPOD: FLIES!

BugFest 2020 Theme Days:

  • Mosquito Monday
  • Beneficial Tuesday
  • Art and Culture Wednesday
  • Entomophagy Thursday
  • Prime Crime Friday
  • BugFest Bugstravaganza Saturday

What’s in a name? BugFest celebrates all arthropods, a group that includes insects, spiders and scorpions, centipedes and millipedes, crayfish and crabs and many other creatures, as well as true bugs, like cicadas and planthoppers.

 For information and to register for programs visit https://naturalsciences.org/calendar/bugfest/programs/

On June 8th, we invite you to celebrate National Insect Appreciation Day (NAIAD) with thousands of insect enthusiasts, amateurs, and professionals all across Canada. This year, the in-person activities scheduled for NAIAD were canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it will still be possible to participate in the “insect picture challenge” on social media. We hope that this challenge will prompt the public to develop their curiosity towards insects and raise awareness about the presence of insects all around us.

In order to participate in the challenge, a person will have to post a least one picture of an insect during the National Insect Appreciation Day on June 8th. When posting the photo, the participant should include associated hashtags and nominate five friends by inviting them to also post an insect picture.

Hashtags:
#InsectPictureChallenge
#NationalinsectDay

by Angela Gradish

A common eastern bumble bee male on a flower. Photo by Brett Forsyth.

There’s been a buzz in the air about bees lately, and for good reason: bees are major pollinators of both wild plants and agricultural crops, and some species are declining because of threats like habitat loss, climate change, and agricultural intensification. Many people assume the honey bee is the top pollinator among bees. But bumble bees, the honey bee’s bigger, hairier, and louder cousins, are just as important for pollination*. (For some plants, bumble bees are even better pollinators than honey bees.) North America is home to 46 bumble bee species that collectively visit hundreds of types of plants. Also, a few bumble bee species are commercially reared and sold to growers to pollinate certain crops, like blueberries and greenhouse tomatoes. Unfortunately, some bumble bee species are declining or endangered, and the status of many other species is unknown. Bumble bees are historically understudied, and so for some areas, there aren’t many bumble bee records (documented sightings of individual bumble bees with associated reference information, like sighting location, date, and species name). Without good records, it’s difficult to know how many individuals of certain bumble bee species there are now and how large their geographic range is, and how their population sizes and ranges may have changed over time. Brett Forsyth, a photographer and naturalist from Guelph, hopes to help address this problem and raise awareness about bumble bees with his new online project, Photographing Bumble Bees for Identification.

A pinned rusty-patched bumble bee, an endangered species in Ontario. Photo by Brett Forsyth.

Originally from British Columbia, Brett became interested in bumble bee conservation when he moved to Ontario. Currently, there are three bumble bees on the Species at Risk in Ontario list: the rusty-patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis, endangered), the gypsy cuckoo bumble bee (Bombus bohemicus, endangered), and the yellow-banded bumble bee (Bombus terricola, special concern). Brett decided to figure out how to photograph these at-risk species, and in the process, he discovered that there are relatively poor records of many Ontario bumble bees, especially in the northern and central areas of the province.

Brett saw a way to improve our knowledge of Ontario bumble bees** via iNaturalist, an existing online citizen science project aimed at documenting and sharing observations of global biodiversity. Users create free profiles and upload photos of their biodiversity finds, where they can then be viewed by other users and identified by experts. iNaturalist educates people about the natural world, but it also can provide scientists with valuable data that can be used to track changes to species’ geographic distributions and population sizes. For those data to be useful, the species in the uploaded photos must be identifiable, which requires high-quality images that contain key body structures needed to identify the organism. But as anyone who’s ever tried will tell you, getting a bumble bee to sit still for a picture is tricky. As a photographer, Brett saw an obvious solution to that problem: simply teach people to take good pictures of bumble bees with their mobile devices, and in turn, get better data on Ontario bumble bees.

Pocket guide to photographing bumble bees by Brett Forsyth.

In a series of videos on the Photographing Bumble Bees website, Brett takes viewers step-by-step through the process of taking pictures of bumble bees and uploading their photos to the Bumble Bees of Ontario project on iNaturalist. He also provides a free, printable pocket guide that outlines the most important tips for photographing bumble bees and gives descriptions of the three at-risk species in Ontario. Brett has four general tips for getting great pictures of bumble bees. First, get as close as you can to the bumble bee. (Don’t be scared of that stinger–bumble bees really aren’t very aggressive!) Second, get separate shots of the bumble bee’s back, side, and face. These areas contain features that are important for identifying bumble bees. Third, slow motion video can be used to get good images of fast-moving insects because it produces a bunch of still images that you can sort through later to find the perfect shot. And fourth, find an app that will allow you to manually focus your phone’s camera.

Brett hopes his project will inspire 250 people to join the Bumble Bees of Ontario project on iNaturalist and generate at least 1,000 new bumble bee records from central and northern Ontario. More generally, he wants to get more people interested in bumble bees and the underappreciated world of insects. So help scientists help bumble bees: Grab your phone, get outside, and start snapping photos.

 

*This article is focused on bumble bees, but there are many other types of bees. In fact, there are around 4000 species of bees in Canada and the US. All of those bee are also very important pollinators, and many of them may also be at risk. (We know even less about other bees than bumble bees.) So please learn about other bees too!

**Maybe you’re not in Ontario, but don’t let that stop you from using these tips to photograph bumble bees in your area. Information on any bumble bee species from anywhere is important!

I will admit that the headline was thoroughly and completely “click bait”. That’s because I was worried that “The new ESC Science Policy Committee and its mandate” would have you move along to the next article. And I hope that giving you the goods now on what this article is about doesn’t cause that right… now.

For those of you who are still with me, and I hope that is a majority of our members, I am aware that policy is not generally considered an exciting topic. But in this era of climate change, environmental degradation, increasing population pressure on our agricultural and silvicultural output, emergent and spreading vector-borne diseases, research funding challenges, and rapidly shifting politics in Canada and many of our largest trading partners, we as entomologists cannot merely sit back and let policy happen. We need to engage with policy makers to encourage careful decision making with the long view in mind.

Our diverse Society membership has an equally diverse set of skills and perspectives to offer to Canadians and the rest of the world. But engagement can only happen if we are willing to put fingers on the pulse of various issues, and to collaboratively marshal responses to issues as they begin to emerge. In other words, we can only be effective if we are able to anticipate in time and react with collective care and wisdom.

Over the past many years, the ESC has maintained a Science Policy and Education Committee. That committee has been effective in many areas including over the past several years:

  • expressing concern to the federal government about travel restrictions on federal scientists wishing to attend ESC meetings,
  • encouraging the continued support of the Experimental Lakes Area,
  • responding to NSERC consultations, and
  • drafting the ESC Policy Statement on Biodiversity Access and Benefit Sharing which was later adopted by our Society.

However, because the combination of both public education and public policy was a substantial and growing mandate, the ESC Executive Council Committee decided in 2015 to split the committee into two, each part taking care of one of the two former aspects.

In October 2016 I was asked to chair and help to formulate the new ESC Science Policy Committee. Your committee now consists of (in alphabetical order):

  • Patrice Bouchard (ESC First VP, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada)
  • Crystal Ernst (appointed member, postdoctoral fellow at Simon Fraser University)
  • Neil Holliday, (ESC President, ex officio committee member, University of Manitoba)
  • Dezene Huber (appointed member as academic representative, Chair 2016/2017, University of Northern British Columbia)
  • Fiona Hunter (ESC Second VP, Brock University)
  • Rachel Rix (appointed member and student and early professional representative, Dalhousie University)
  • Amanda Roe (appointed member as government representative, Natural Resources Canada – Canadian Forest Service)

Each executive member’s term is specified by their ESC executive term. Each appointed member is a member for up to 3 years. The Chair position is appointed on a yearly basis. The terms of reference specify that the committee should contain members “who (represent) the Student (and Early Professional) Affairs Committee, and preferably one professional entomologist employed in government service and one employed in academia.

We are officially tasked “(t)o monitor government, industry and NGO science policies, to advise the Society when the science of entomology and our Members are affected, and to undertake tasks assigned by the Board that are designed to interpret, guide, or shift science policy.”

We are now working on putting together an agenda, and have started to work on a few items. For instance, you may recall an eBlast requesting participation in Canada’s Fundamental Science Review that was initiated by Hon. Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science. We hope that some of you took the opportunity to send your thoughts to the federal government.

As we develop an agenda, we would like to consult with you, the ESC membership. Please tell us:

  • What policy-related issues do you see emerging in your area of study, your realm of employment, or in the place that you live?
  • How might the ESC Science Policy Committee integrate better with your concerns and those of the rest of the membership? 
  • How can our Society be more consultative and responsive to the membership and to issues as they arise?
  • Who are the people and organizations with which ESC should be working closely on science policy issues?
  • How can you be a part of science policy development, particularly as it relates to entomological practice and service in Canada and abroad?

 

Please email me at huber@unbc.ca with your thoughts, questions, and ideas. We know that many of you are already involved in this type of work, and we hope that we can act as synergists to your efforts and that you can help to further energize ours.

 

Dr. Dezene Huber

Chair, ESC Science Policy Committee

This article also appears in the March 2017 ESC Bulletin, Vol 48(1).

By B. Staffan Lindgren (@bslindgren)

I have always thought of myself as extremely fortunate and blessed to have made a career in entomology. The main reason is that 99.9% of all entomologists I have met and come to know over the years have been extremely nice people. Like most entomologists, I was interested in animals (which in my case included insects and spiders) at a young age. Many of my friends probably considered me a bit odd, but that’s as far as it went as far as I recall. Unfortunately, that is not always the case as this story reveals.

The other day I (along with a large number of people on Twitter) got to witness this kindness in action in a way that warms my heart. Nicole Spencer, a concerned mother, sent a request to the Entomological Society of Canada (ESC) regarding her young daughter, Sophia, who happens to love insects and wants to become an entomologist when she grows up. Sophia’s interest has somehow led to teasing and outright bullying in school, however. Fortunately Sophia’s mom understands the importance of nurturing her daughter’s interest, as did my mother even though I kept spiders in jars in my bedroom. Nicole’s and Sophia’s heartfelt letter was passed on to Morgan Jackson (@BioInFocus), who promptly posted a tweet on behalf of the ESC (@CanEntomologist) asking entomologists to help out. This tweet, which displayed the letter, included the hashtag #BugsR4Girls, and it quickly went viral.

facebook-shareWithin a very short period, Morgan had amassed a list of 100+ people willing to assist, along with a number of additional offers from non-entomologists. An offer even came from celebrity Dominic Monaghan, British actor and host of the television program Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan. You can get the gist of it all from the Storify that Morgan put together. The huge response led to interest from media, and Sophia and her mom were featured on Buzzfeed Canada, where the whole story is revealed. It hasn’t ended there. Another media story came from LFPress, and Sophia’s story even made the front page of the Toronto Star! In addition, numerous tweets have been posted with or without the hashtag, and above I have reproduced 3 (but there are so many more that you really need to look for yourself). I also posted about this on my Facebook Page, and the story was shared by others there. The comments from this one really says it all!

I mentioned non-entomologists. Here is an open letter to Sophia (called Beatrix in the letter because the author didn’t know her name at the time) from a science communicator.bug-chicks

On the one hand this is a story about a little girl who has big dreams. On the other hand it is a story about the future of women in STEM. Sophia has dreams about becoming a scientist, but both she and her mother are uncertain of what possibilities are out there. Many other young children are in the same boat, I’m sure. But the journey starts at home with parents encouraging children to believe that they can be or do whatever they set their minds to. Last Friday I listened to a CBC Radio show with Maria Issa, a Canadian scientist who started in life just like Sophia by daydreaming and watching lady bugs. In spite of the odds being stacked high against her success, she made it, but many are discouraged, which later affects their self-confidence. My experience is that there is no gender difference in ability – in fact women mature sooner and are more focused than men IMHO. And the increasing number of brilliant female scientists in entomology is a case in point. Luckily for Sophia, she has an encouraging mother. Whether or not she becomes an entomologist is not the point. The point is that she believes in the possibility.

llavanerasFor me, Sophia’s story is a wonderful, multifaceted teachable moment. With all her new friends, Sophia will do just fine. I wish her all the luck in the world.

whiffin

Opinion Piece – M. Alex Smith, Department of Integrative Biology, University of Guelph (salex@uoguelph.ca; @Alex_Smith_Ants; www.malexsmith.weebly.com)

—-

Like many Canadians, I have been hearing more and more about the so-called “Mother Canada” development in Cape Breton Highlands National Park (CBHNP). Proposed by a combination of private funding in partnership with the federal government, this enormous 10-storey memorial is meant to “… be a place for remembrance and gratitude” to Canadians who have “fallen as a result of war and conflict”. Parks Canada has expressed direct support for this monument through actual monetary donations. The erection of such a memorial within a Canadian National Park has garnered much recent interest in the Canadian and international press.

Beyond any aesthetic concerns people may have about the specific plans, in my opinion, there are two critical problems with this monument. The first was pointed out in a Globe and Mail editorial of June 24 2015: it is redundant. Every town and city in Canada already has a memorial to those who have served and sacrificed. My second objection is a combined biological and sociological one. It concerns the location of a private funded monument within a Canadian National Park, where it appears very unclear what the ramifications of that action will be on the fauna in and around the proposed site. The mandate of Parks Canada is elegantly expressed in its charter, “To protect, as a first priority, the natural and cultural heritage of our special places and ensure that they remain healthy and whole” while fostering “public understanding, appreciation and enjoyment in ways that ensure the ecological and commemorative integrity of these places for present and future generations”. Indeed, 26 former senior Parks Canada managers wrote an open letter to the Minister of Environment Leona Aglukkaq detailing their objections and that such a plan, “is in violation of the site’s Wilderness Zone designation as detailed in the Management Plan for the Park”.

Beyond the effects of the actual physical construction on the park environment, the monument will potentially increase tourist traffic to the area. How will these changes affect the biota (both animal and plant) of the immediate area? Exactly how well known is that fauna? How was the effect on the sites and the adjacent park environment determined?

A detailed impact analysis was completed by Stantec Consulting Limited who concluded that the effects of the development are, “generally predicted to be negligible to moderate in magnitude”. Conclusions regarding the effect of the construction and development on the “wildlife” of CBHNP were based on a single terrestrial field survey of the locality and a consultation of a CBHNP sightings database. (Stantec is actually listed as a Partner and Supporter of the development). In the Stantec impact analysis, “wildlife” is exclusively mammals and birds. As an ecologist whose professional and personal life is replete with instances of being overwhelmed and delighted by the diversity of arthropods living coincidentally (and cryptically) with their better-studied vertebrate relatives, this raised some concerns.

So what can I offer? Well in 2009, I spent a wonderful time collecting arthropods in CBHNP as part of the BioBus program out of the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario at the University of Guelph. In fact, four colleagues and I spent a night collecting insects at a site only 3 km away from the proposed development (Black Brook and the nearby Jack Pine Trail). The Jack Pine trail was particularly beautiful! The trail goes through a forest of Jack Pine that is more than 200km away from the rest of its range and has survived fire and spruce budworm infestation. At any rate, since all the data is publicly available online (dx.doi.org/10.5883/DS-ASCBHNP), I thought this would be an opportune time to explore those records in light of the planned “Mother Canada” development.

 

Figure 1: A high resolution GigaPan panorama taken at the Black Brook collection site (http://gigapan.com/gigapans/29312).

Figure 1: A high resolution GigaPan panorama taken at the Black Brook collection site (http://gigapan.com/gigapans/29312).

 

Figure 2: The collection team earlier in the trip in Terra Nova National Park Newfoundland.

Figure 2: The collection team earlier in the trip in Terra Nova National Park Newfoundland.

It was a beautiful night in 2009 (Jul-21) at Black Brook where we collected arthropods using two common methods (UV light (which means lots of moths!) and free-hand active search using insect nets). That night, in about four hours of collecting, we came away with 363 specimens from nearly 200 species (191 named and provisional species based on their DNA barcodes). To put this number in context, CBHNP has 200 species of bird – a total nearly matched for arthropods by our single nights work at one location! This diversity is only a small fraction of the diversity of arthropods currently protected by CBHNP. Via these DNA barcodes, (public on BOLD (www.barcodinglife.org, dx.doi.org/10.5883/DS-ASCBHNP) we can compare them to the > 4 million DNA barcode records representing >400,000 species worldwide on this database.

What we find from this comparison is that some of these species may be exceedingly rare. Despite concentrated collections in this and other National Parks before and since this night* there are four species which have been found only once out of these millions of records. While this diversity is currently protected by Parks Canada, it is within 3 km of the proposed “Mother Canada” development. It is unclear how the changes in traffic and construction from the development will affect this protected diversity.

Why bring this up now? What use is a rapid analysis of a single night’s collections? I decided to bring it up to call attention to numerous small and cryptic species in and around the location of the proposed development about which we know very little. Going ahead with an enormous private development within a National Park is a mistake that flies in the face of the mandate of Parks Canada – and does so without good evidence that it would not have negative effects on the diversity of animals that it was created to protect.

 

Figure 3: This neighbor-joining tree is a graphical representation of the diversity of nearly 200 species of arthropods collected at Black Brook in July 2009. The taxa are colour coded and are followed by the number of specimens we caught.

Figure 3: This neighbor-joining tree is a graphical representation of the diversity of nearly 200 species of arthropods collected at Black Brook in July 2009. The taxa are colour coded and are followed by the number of specimens we caught.

John Barber (a freelance journalist from Toronto) closed his recent article in the Guardian newspaper with a marvelous quote from Valerie Bird, a WWII veteran and resident of Cape Breton, “It is vulgar and ostentatious,” she said. “It certainly doesn’t belong in a national park, and I don’t think its going to do a darn thing for veterans.” “I think the idea of this horrible thing offends veterans,” she added. “I find it difficult to find words. This is a monstrosity.”

Not simply a monstrosity – but one contrary to of the principle mandate of Parks Canada, “to protect, as a first priority, the natural and cultural heritage of our special places and ensure that they remain healthy and whole”. Ultimately, this is the essence of the problem. This issue is more than a simple discussion regarding the aesthetics of a >$25 million, >25-metre tall conglomeration of private and corporate citizens (in apparent partnership with our federal government). If a private group wants to erect a memorial on private grounds and can raise the money for their monument – it is certainly their prerogative. This is a critical discussion about the mandate of Parks Canada and specifically how well they protect the natural heritage resident within that Park.

To place this monument in a National Park is not the right of any private group. To consider placing such a monument in a National Park without careful consideration of the most diverse Park residents (insects, spiders and their kin) is not simply poor planning; it’s poor management and should be stopped.

* -Since that evening in 2009, the BioBus has continued to collaborate with Parks Canada in Cape Breton Highlands National Park and now even more is known about the vast diversity of small and important insects from other areas within this National Park. Collections of arthropods have now been made for 3000 species! For more information about those collections visit the reports section at www.biobus.ca. The author has no current association with the BioBus program. All specimens analysed here are publically available via the public data portal of the Barcode of Life Data System (dx.doi.org/10.5883/DS-ASCBHNP).

Useful websites:

Thanks to Morgan Jackson for helpful thoughts on an earlier draft of this post.
Figure 4 – Shareable infographic outlining information & data presented in this article. Please feel free to circulate.

Figure 4 – Shareable infographic outlining information & data presented in this article. Please feel free to circulate.