The game is six degrees of Canadian history. Take two seemingly unrelated pieces of Canadian culture and connect the dots through various people, places and events to discover how they’re distantly — or maybe not so distantly — related. Along the way, we visit the quizzical and curious, the tragic and comic, and everything in between.
The game is six degrees of Canadian history. Take two seemingly unrelated pieces of Canadian culture and connect the dots through various people, places and events to discover how they’re distantly — or maybe not-so-distantly — related. Along the way, we visit the quizzical and curious, the tragic and comic, and everything in between.
Spirit bears are rare white-coated black bears (Ursus americanus kermodei) that live in the coastal temperate rainforests of Northwest British Columbia. Their striking colour is caused by an uncommon recessive genetic trait. Spirit bears are not a unique species or subspecies, but a unique colouration of the coastal British Columbian black bear subspecies kermodei. Referred to as moksgm’ol, meaning “white bear,” by Tsimshian coastal First Nations, spirit bears play an important role in local culture and increasingly in Indigenous-led ecotourism.
Bees are members of the insect order Hymenoptera (including sawflies, wasps, bees and ants) whose habits of feeding on plant pollen and nectar have made them important pollinators of flowering plants and crops. There are more than 20,000 species worldwide, and nearly 800 can be found in Canada. Bees’ nesting habits range from solitary to highly eusocial. Most bees are solitary, wild species, but some are kept or managed for pollination of crops or to produce honey, including the non-native western honey bee (Apis mellifera). Other familiar bees include bumble bees (genus Bombus), mason bees (genus Osmia) and leafcutter bees (genus Megachile). More than a third of all bee species found in Canada are either mining bees in the genus Andrena, or sweat bees in the genus Lasioglossum.
Bison are large, even-toed hoofed mammals of the family Bovidae. Two subspecies of bison exist in North America: the plains bison (Bison bison bison) and the wood bison (Bison bison athabascae). Historically, the plains bison lived primarily in the Great Plains of central North America, while the wood bison lived further north, from Alaska into the Yukon and the Northwest Territories, and in the northern portions of British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan. Prior to the arrival of Europeans, it’s estimated that plains bison numbered 30 million and wood bison 170,000. Various aspects of European colonization led to the rapid depopulation of North America’s bison. By the late 1800s, plains bison no longer existed in Canada, and wood bison numbered about 200. Conservation efforts in both Canada and the United States mean that today, North America’s plains bison population fluctuates between 350,000 and 400,000, and wood bison between 5,000 and 7,000.
Protection may be achieved by various means, including land-use zoning, long-term agreements with landowners and outright acquisition of land by wildlife agencies. Protected land areas may be designated as national wildlife areas, conservation areas, game reserves, etc.
Animals' lives are circumscribed by 2 imperatives: finding food for survival, growth and reproduction and avoiding becoming prey before reproducing. For an animal to occupy a habitat, it must be able to survive and reproduce within it. Birds have evolved many ways of meeting these challenges.
Beetles are an extremely diverse group of insects, which together make up the order Coleoptera (from Greek koleos, meaning, “sheath,” and ptera, “wings”). So named for their hardened forewings, which conceal a second pair of flight wings, beetles have the greatest number of known species of any comparable group of living things. There are an estimated 380,000 described beetle species worldwide, representing about 40 per cent of the world’s known insects. Beetles occupy nearly every available terrestrial and freshwater habitat, having evolved to fulfill more ecological roles than probably any other group of organisms. As such, beetles are found all over the world. In Canada, over 8,150 species are known, representing 121 of the world’s 176 families of beetles. Familiar beetles include lady beetles, fireflies, scarabs, weevils, tiger, ground, blister and leaf beetles.
The mosquito (Spanish for "little fly") is a fragile, long-legged fly of the order Diptera, family Culicidae. Over 3,500 species are known worldwide and at least 82 are found in Canada. Often considered a nuisance to humans because of their itchy bites, it is the females that feed on the blood of other animals. Both sexes feed on plant fluids such as nectar. Most of the woodland species with which Canadians are familiar belong to the genus Aedes. These species are found throughout Canada and are recognizable by their alternating white and black colour, and slender, pointed abdomens. They are present in large numbers soon after winter’s end and on spring and summer evenings. The comparatively small northern house mosquito (Culex pipiens) is commonly found indoors in early spring and late fall, and is distinguished by its size and its blunt-tipped abdomen. Canada boasts the second oldest fossilized mosquito ever found. It is preserved in 76.5–79.5 million-year-old amber from southern Alberta.