Now there's an opportunity for classrooms all across the nation--and butterfly fans--to learn about it in "The Story of the Dogface Butterfly," written by UC Davis doctoral candidate Fran Keller and illustrated (watercolor and ink) by Laine Bauer, a 2012 graduate of UC Davis.
Net proceeds from the sale of the 35-page book will benefit the education, outreach and research programs of the Bohart Museum of Entomology, UC Davis.
The book tells the untold story of the California dogface butterfly, Keller said, and how schoolchildren became involved in convincing the State Legislature to select the colorful butterfly as the state insect.
Bauer’s illustrations depict the life cycle of this butterfly. Naturalist Greg Kareofelas of Davis, a Bohart volunteer, contributed photos. As part of their research, the trio visited a Placer County habitat of the butterfly last year.
As for the book, “There are also ecology, life cycle, taxonomy and conservation issues presented that are relevant to grades K-6 that can be used in classroom curriculum,” Keller said. In addition, the book includes information on the butterfly’s host plant, false indigo (Amorpha californica).
“A glossary in the back highlights key terms,” Keller said. “And there is a set of photographs of the California dogface and another yellow butterfly to help you determine if you have ever really seen the California state insect.”
Some people confuse it with it the alfalfa butterfly.
You can meet the writer and illustrator at the Bohart Museum's open house on Saturday, Feb. 2 from 1 to 4 p.m. The museum is located at 1124 Academic Surge on Crocker Lane, UC Davis campus.
The book can also be ordered online from the Bohart website.
The museum's gift shop also has t-shirts and posters depicting the state insect.
Indeed. Those attending the Bohart Museum of Entomology's open house on Saturday, Feb. 2, will see them--and see them feeding.
The Bohart Museum of Entomology is one of six museums or educational centers on the UC Davis campus holding an open house from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday. This is the second annual campuswide Biodiversity Museum Day, aka "Super Science Saturday," as it's the day before the Super Bowl. The other five are the Botanical Conservatory, Center for Plant Diversity, the Geology Museum, the Anthropology Museum, and the Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology. Maps will be available at each site. The event is free and open to the public.
Now, back to the bed bugs.
Danielle Wishon, an undergraduate student majoring in entomology, will be feeding her bed bug colony at 2 p.m. at the Bohart Museum, which is located in 1124 Academic Surge on Crocker Lane. Wishon is rearing a colony, now approaching 100 bed bugs, in a research lab in Briggs Hall.
"Aside from the fact that I find them visually adorable, I am interested in the current public panic over their current increase in population around the United States," said Wishon, who took control of the colony in October 2012. "The idea that several little animals will crawl up to you while you sleep and feed on your blood really disturbs most people, despite the fact that they do not transmit any disease."
Wishon, who studies with forensic entomologist Robert Kimsey and works in the Bohart Museum with director Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology, loves entomology. She's is a past president of the UC Davis Entomology Club and recipient of the department’s 2011 Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award.
"I think the general public would be very interested to see them feeding," Wishon said. "There is a lot of misinformation on the Internet about them, so it would also be a good opportunity for Q and A."
And speaking of Q and A, be sure to access the Entomological Society of America's bed bug resource page. You'll find information on "the menace in the mattress" (Cimex lectularlu) from all over the country, including right here at UC Davis. The UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program's Pest Note says:
"A single feeding may take up to 10 minutes, and feels like a pin prick, but because feeding usually occurs at night when people are asleep they are not aware they have been bitten until afterwards. However, saliva injected during the feeding can later produce large swellings on the skin that itch and may become irritated and infected when scratched. Swelling may not develop until a day or more after feeding, and some people do not show symptoms. Bed bugs currently are not considered to be disease carriers."
The yellow-faced bumble bee, Bombus vosnesenskii, is back.
We spotted some overwintering queen bumble bees gathering nectar on a hebe bush last Sunday at the Berkeley marina.
Distinguished by their yellow faces, yellow head pile, black wings, and a bold yellow stripe on their lower abdomen, they bumbled around the hebe as if they were newbie pilots.
The warm weather invited them out of their underground nests. RSVP accepted. The hebe proved to be a good host, enticing them with the sweet scent of nectar. Soon the queens will be starting rearing a colony, and the worker bees will emerge.
Hebe (genus Hebe), a native of New Zealand, grow wells along the coast. Gardeners who tend the marinas around the San Francisco Bay seem to favor it.
So do the bumble bees.
Paul de Barro, a senior principal research scientist at CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences, Australia, will speak on "Unraveling the Complex: Who’s Who in the Bemisia Zoo?” at the UC Davis Department of Entomology seminar from 12:10 to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 30 in Room 1022 of the Life Sciences Addition.
De Barro, who joined CSRO in 1994 (the acronym stands for Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization and is Australia’s governmental body for scientific research) will be covering the silverleaf whitefly from biotype to species. He will be introduced by Michael Parrella, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology.
De Barro, who holds a doctorate in entomology from the University of Adelaide, South Australia, is internationally known for his research on the pest.
The tiny (it's 1/16th of an inch) pest may be small but it wreaks major havoc on agricultural and ornamental crops worldwide. Its 500-plus hosts include broccoli, cabbage, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, pomegranate, poinsettia, garden roses, crepe myrtle, and lantana. It transfers such viruses as the tomato yellow leaf curl virus.
“The identity of Bemisia tabaci is a taxonomic question that goes back to 1889 and involves one of the world’s most important pests of agriculture, which despite its importance, has remained a taxonomic puzzle," he says. "Each year it destroys billions of dollars worth of crops in both developed and developing economies across Africa, Asia and the Americas. In developing economies, it reduces the ability for communities to be self-sufficient in terms of food production and reduces their capacity to generate the cash essential to alleviating poverty."
“Yet despite its global importance, its taxonomy remains confused. Is it a single species with varying populations that exhibit different biological characteristics (i.e. biotypes) or a complex of morphologically similar species with different biological characteristics?"
That's important to know, de Barro points out, because the answer "has a significant bearing on on the applicability and transferability of management practices between regions where the pest occurs, as these usually depend on insect biology, behavior, natural enemies interactions and responses to agricultural chemicals; what works for certain populations may be ineffective for other populations."
So in tomorrow's talk, he'll summarize "our understanding of the species complex and some the new learnings that are emerging as a result of the emerging new lens through which top view this pest.”
His talk will be recorded for later viewing on UCTV.
It's a sure sign of spring when the Japanese apricot tree north of Wickson Hall at the University of California, Davis, blooms.
Butterfly expert Art Shapiro, professor of evolution and ecology at UC Davis, noticed it flowering on Jan. 21. "First fruit tree of 2013 blooming!" he said.
This tree, Prunus mume Dawn, is quite special. It was planted on March 7, 1963 to honor the work of internationally known pomologist Warren Porter Tufts (1890-1968), emeritus professor and former chair of the UC Davis Department of Pomology. Tufts served UC Davis pomology from 1915 to 1958. Then he came out of retirement to chair the Department of Landscape Management for two years.
He died April 18, 1968. His biographers pointed out that he "played an important role in the development of the principles of pruning and training fruit trees, which became known as the UC method."
Just one of his many contributions...
As for the Japanese apricot tree, it's one of spring's early bloomers. Its ruffled double pink blossoms are quite fragrant, a fact not missed by the honey bees.
Today the honey bees were foraging all over the blossoms. Against a stunningly blue sky, they targeted the delicate pink blossoms and pressed against the thick reddish buds that will unfold soon.
Just as the bees did every spring when Tufts worked his apricot orchard in nearby Winters...