Newsletter of the Biological Survey of Canada (Terrestrial Arthropods)

Volume 25,  No. 2, Fall 2006



News about studies of arctic insects 

General information and editorial notes

News and Notes:

Bio-Blitz 2006

Canadian Journal of Arthropod Identification

Summary of the Scientific Committee meeting

Project Update: Briefs and Similar Documents Prepared by the BSC

Lost Collections – Fate or Fault

The Quiz Page

Canadian Perspectives: Life-cycle Types in the Arctic

Web site notes

Arctic Corner

Update on some Insect Biodiversity Activities in the Arctic during 2006

Invertebrate Community Structure in Lakes of the Central Canadian Arctic

Selected future conferences

Quips and Quotes

Requests for Material or Information Invited

Update on Some Insect Biodiversity Activities in the Arctic during 2006

Donna Giberson, Department of Biology, University of Prince Edward Island, 550 University Ave., Charlottetown, PE C1A 4P3

The COSEWIC Arthropod Specialist Subcommittee met in Whitehorse this July, to discuss arthropod species status reports for COSEWIC and proposals for species to be included for status report preparation. Following the meeting, the various members were given the opportunity to go collecting along a sand dune area in Kluane National Park in southern Yukon. Many of the members also took the opportunity to do some collecting in other parts of the Yukon following the meeting. Many thanks to Syd Cannings of the Yukon Centre for Data Conservation, who organized the meeting with the COSEWIC secretariat and arranged the Kluane trip and the necessary permits.

Following the COSEWIC meeting, I was able to do some incidental mayfly and stonefly collecting along the highways of Yukon, including parts of the Alaska Highway, Klondike Highway, and Dempster Highway. These samples are currently being processed.

My main arctic work this summer has consisted of investigating a number of specimens that were collected for the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline study of the early 1970s. These specimens were archived at the Freshwater Institute and the CNC, but most of the material remains unidentified (at least to species). I am currently relabelling all the material, since most of the vials are identified by code numbers with little or no locality data. Once each vial has a locality label I’ll be working (in collaboration with Steve Burian and Ken Stewart) on identifying the mayflies and stoneflies of that region to species. Special thanks are owed to Dave Rosenberg who preserved these samples in the first place, and then arranged for the loan of the material from the Freshwater Institute and provided the “code books”.

Interestingly, this work has led to some further collaborations to look at material collected in the Northwest Territories. Aquatic insect samples collected for environmental assessment work in the Canadian north are rarely identified to species (usually to family, or rarely, to genus), so such data are not useful for biodiversity study. However, thanks to the collaboration with Dave Rosenberg on the initial Mackenzie Valley material, I have found out about recent ongoing studies in region by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and also have obtained material collected along Mackenzie Valley tributaries in 2005 and 2006, and along the Nahanni River as well. This has allowed us to increase our “sampling effort” in these areas with very little additional cost.

We would like to highlight insect and arachnid work from the arctic in subsequent issues of this Newsletter, so anyone doing work in the arctic who is interested in getting the word out, should contact Donna Giberson, at



back to top Biological Survey of Canada (Terrestrial Arthropods) home page