- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
And now, they're big, bold and finely detailed.
Western Hercules beetles are now a part of the Bohart Museum of Entomology's educational and outreach program through a T-shirt design that's drawing raves.
Courtney Lambert, an undergraduate student in entomology at the University of California, Davis who plans a career as a scientific illustrator, drew the Western Hercules beetles after expressing an interest in them during a recent entomology class.
Lynn Kimsey, professor and chair of the Department of Entomology and director of the Bohart Museum, taught the class and Fran Keller, a doctoral candidate in entomology, served as a teaching assistant.
“Courtney is an incredible artist,” said Fran Keller, who designed the shirt, along with others shirts and posters available at the Bohart.
One of the largest beetles in the western United States, the beetle (Dynastes granti) can measure 3.5 inches long. It is commonly found in parts of Arizona after the monsoons. The beetle is nicknamed “rhinoceros beetle” due to the male's large, fierce-looking thoracic horns. The female of the species has no horns.
Lambert's illustration features both the male and female on a limb.
Keller remembers collecting the beetles in Arizona as an undergraduate. She received a permit from the Arizona Game and Fish Department to do so. “These scarab beetles are truly magnificent,” she said. “They emerge after the monsoon rains and they flock by the hundreds on the streets. They are attracted to lights of businesses.”
“And unfortunately, they are also poached, and illegal collecting has made this and other monsoon emerging beetles, Chrysina sp. for example, rarer every season. It is important for collectors to know the status of an insect before they collect it, and to make sure they have valid collecting permits issued by the state they're collecting in. Hopefully we can educate with this t-shirt about the biggest beetles in the Western U.S.”
American physician-entomologist George Henry Horn (1840) 1897) first described the species in 1870. The blue-gray body has spotted markings. It's also nicknamed Grant's Hercules Beetle, honoring American general and President Ullysses S. Grant (1822-1885).
Funds generated from these beetle T-shirts will help provide continuing undergraduate support and training at the Bohart Museum.
The shirts are available in olive and brown with natural ink; black with white ink, and natural color with black ink.
Founded in 1946, the Bohart Museum is located at 1124 Academic Surge and houses more than seven million insect specimens. The museum, dedicated to teaching, research and service, has the seventh largest insect collection in North America. Contact information: (530) 752-0493 or firstname.lastname@example.org.