- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
But this Sunday, June 3, something even more special "may" occur.
That's "may" because a California dogface butterfly "may" emerge from its chrysalis during the Bohart open house, set from 1 to 4 p.m. in 1124 Academic Surge on California Drive.
Naturalist-photographer Greg Kareofelas of Davis, a volunteer at the Bohart, will be showcasing some live California dogface butterflies--and a chrysalis.
Kareofelas is rearing several dogface butterflies (Zerene eurydice). The first adult emerged from its chrysalis on May 28. He’s hoping one will emerge during the open house.
Even if it doesn't, Kareofelas will be presenting a slide show of the butterfly's life cycle. (By the way, Sunday marks the last Bohart open house of the 2011-2012 academic year, and yes, it's free and open to the public.)
Several years ago Kareofelas and entomology doctoral candidate Fran Keller teamed to create a California dogface butterfly poster, which is available for sale in the museum's gift shop.
What about the state insect? What do we know about it?
The high-flying butterfly, found only in California, is rarely seen in the wild. Its main host plant is False indigo (Amorpha californica), a riparian shrub that grows among poison oak and willows and along stream banks, often in steep and isolated canyons. The male has markings on its wings resembling a silhouette of a dog's head. The female is usually solid yellow with a black spot on each upper wing.
The California State Legislature designated the California dogface butterfly as the state insect in 1972. An entomology society in Southern California first proposed this butterfly as the state insect in 1929, but nothing came of it until 1972 when a fourth grade class in Fresno petitioned their state representative, said Tabatha Yang, the Bohart Museum's education and outreach coordinator.
The California dogface butterfly display will be one of the two main attractions at the Bohart's open house, which is themed “Bug Light, Bug Bright, First Bug I See Tonight!” The other key attractions will be bugs that glow under ultraviolet light, according to museum director Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis.
Think scorpions. And don't forget that species of millipede found on Alcatraz Island. They glow, too!