Nature & Geography | The Canadian Encyclopedia

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    Basil, seeHERBS.

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    Bass, name applied to members of 4 fish families: temperate bass (Moronidae); sunfish (Centrarchidae); temperate ocean bass (Acropomatidae); and sea bass (Serranidae).

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     Bats are nocturnal mammals of the order Chiroptera (literally "hand wing"). Bats are the only flying mammals. Most bats in Canada are plain-nosed (family Vespertilionidae).

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    Bathurst Island Plant Fossils

    Early land plants have long been known from Eastern Canada, thanks to pioneering work by Sir J. William Dawson, father of Devonian palaeobotany and principal of McGill University from 1855 to 1893. But this record poorly represented the earliest phase of land colonization.

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    Bear (Animal)

    Bears (of the family Ursidae) are stocky, bob-tailed mammals with 5 clawed toes on each paw. Three species inhabit Canada.

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    Bear Attacks

    Infrequent attacks on humans have been made by grizzly (or brown), black or polar bears. Bears can run at speeds exceeding 50 km/h, are significantly stronger than people and can inflict serious injury.

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    Bearberry, or kinnickinnick, trailing, evergreen shrub of heather family. Flexible, rooting branches grow up to 2 m long, are covered with reddish, shreddy bark and bear alternate, dark green, oval leaves.

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    Beaufort Sea

    The Beaufort Sea coast is low lying and subject to considerable scouring by ice and erosion by storm surges. The Canadian shelf and the Yukon/Alaskan shelf form the southern boundary of the Beaufort Sea, but they have significantly different widths and alignments.

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    The beaver (Castor canadensis) is a herbivorous mammal. It is Canada’s largest rodent and the second-largest rodent in the world (after the capybara). It is primarily nocturnal and lives a semi-aquatic life. The beaver is one of the only mammals, other than humans, that can manufacture its own environment. It is known for building dams, canals and lodges. Its colonies are created by one or more beaver-built dams, which provide still and deep water for protection against predators. An emblem of Canada older than the maple leaf, the beaver has had a greater impact on Canadian history and exploration than any other animal or plant species. (See also Fur Trade in Canada.)

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    Bedbugs (Cimex spp.) are small insects that feed on the blood of vertebrates. They cannot fly, jump or travel very far independently, so they primarily spread between locations by being carried on objects and clothing. Bedbugs are hemipterans, or “true bugs,” in the family Cimicidae. There are hundreds of bedbug species, with two species that are common pests of humans: Cimex hemipterus and, more commonly, C. lectularius. They have been a pest-control issue in Canada and the rest of the world since at least the early 2000s. Bedbugs have been parasites of humans for thousands of years and likely evolved from an ancestor that lived in caves and fed on bats.

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    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.

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    Beech (Fagus), genus of trees of beech family (Fagaceae). Ten species occur worldwide; one, American beech (F. grandifolia), is native to North America.

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    Beef Cattle Farming

    Beef cattle farming is a key component of Canadian agriculture. The four Western provinces account for about 85 per cent of beef cattle on Canadian cattle farms, with nearly one-half in Alberta alone. Beef farms make up about one-quarter of all farms in Canada, second only to field crops, while the dollar value of live cattle exports ranks just behind spring wheat, canola and durum exports. Canada ranks among the world’s top 10 per capita consumers and exporters of beef.

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    The complex social organization, the biology and the industrious nature of honeybees (genus Apis) have long fascinated people.

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    Beet (Beta vulgaris), biennial herbaceous plant of the Chenopodiaceae family. There are 4 cultivated varieties: red or vegetable beet, fodder beet (mangel-wurzel), chard and sugar beet.

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