Resources for Natural History – General

The goal is to provide a selection of links to Internet sites giving accurate and information on flora, fauna and natural history of Nova Scotia. This will not be comprehensive but meant provide a quick source on a wide array of subjects. Although one can search the Internet directly this yields hundreds to thousands of returns, requiring a lot of time being spent searching through them for the appropriate site with relevant data, clearly illustrations and relevant to Nova Scotia.

We would welcome any other suggestions of useful internet sites and if appropriate to the goal post to the web page. These can be forwarded Murry Colbo,

One criterion is that the site cover a broad range of species in order to keep number of site listed short. There are many good sites on one specific species, such as a pest species or an endanger one, but that is not the goal for this project.

A preliminary list of the type of sites ferreted out to date are list are provided below:


Integrated Taxanomic Information System
Search for Scientific Latin Name or Common Name equivalents


Nova Scotia Wild Flowers
The Nova Scotia Wild flower Society has very good site illustrating a selection of wild flowers, but not for all. However, their links provide a range of very useful web sites for plant identification, including trees, as well as just illustrations.

Digital Flora of Newfoundland and Labrador
A site providing a vast array of excellent illustrations of their flora, much of which occurs in Nova Scotia, so very useful site to see characteristics of a particular plant

Interactive keys to Grasses, Legumes, Gymnosperms (conifers and relatives) Wetland Monocots, and Ericaceae
The grasses and Legumes are by state so the Maine flora is most useful. The other keys are for all the USA and although many species not occurring in NS this US Department of Agriculture site can provide a good start on identification of a specific plant and provides distribution maps.


Fungi in general
The George Barron’s Website on fungi is very informative about a range of fungi, there biology including mushrooms but also about interactions etc. Although often technical it contains many that are less technical and very interesting information that applies to NS Fungi.




N.S. Museum
An electronic version of Robie Tufts’ Birds of Nova Scotia provides an important reference for NS, although new records and systematic changes have occurred since this 1986 edition.

All About Birds
The Cornell University Bird lab site called All About Birds provides a great deal of accurate information with taxonomic part arrange by bird order having 584 of the 700 North American species represented.

Birding Pal Organization
This is a website for travelling birders.  It gives several thousand local birdwatching contact worldwide. There is also suggested birding guides for around the world.


University of Guelph
A listing of the freshwater and marine mammals of Canada, with notes on biology and distribution


Aquatic Invertebrates

General reference for Aquatic Invertebrates
This is an electronic version of a Aquatic Invertebrates of Alberta with a key based on illustrations. Not all invertebrates listed are in NS but a very good reference. Aquatic Invertebrates of Alberta

Worm Watch, part of Nature Watch (Information and key to Canadian earthworms


Insects in General

Bug Guide
The Bug guide covers a large range of insects and can provide a good starting point for finding out about an insect or group of them


Bees, Wasps and Ants (Hymenoptera)

Identification Atlas of the Vespidae (Hymenoptera, Aculeata) of the northeastern Nearctic region
An electronic book in the Canadian Journal of Arthropod Identification providing a key to 96 species of wasps (yellow jackets, hornets etc.) of north-eastern North America, many of which occur in NS. It is exceptionally well illustrated.

The Bee Genera of Eastern Canada
An electronic book in the Canadian Journal of Arthropod Identification providing a key for 39 genera of eastern Canadian bees, many of which occur in NS with exceptional illustrations.

Moths and Butterflies (Lepidoptera)

Lynn Scott’s Lepidoptera Index
Pictures of 600 of the 2000 species of Lepidoptera around Ottawa, many of which occur in Nova Scotia. A good introduction to the moths

The Moths of Canada
This is part the Canadian Biodiversity Information Facility, run by the Canadian Government. The moths are listed by scientific name and sorted by province with associated pictures of the species. Good for seeing what a species looks like but need to know the name.

Butterflies of Nova Scotia
* Every species of butterfly ever recorded in Nova Scotia (so far as we know) is included * Every species is presented with at least one photo * Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them * Data on distribution, breeding status, flight period etc. have been updated * A photographic table of contents makes it easier to locate species

Flies (Diptera)


to be added