Didn't they get the memo?
So we brought them in, zipped them into our mesh butterfly habitat from the Bohart Museum of Entomology, UC Davis, and began feeding them the last of the milkweed.
Would they make it? Maybe.
"I'm Dreaming of a Green Chrysalid..."
The first caterpillar formed a J.
"It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Chrysalis."
A gold-rimmed jade green chrysalis appeared, looking very much like a Christmas tree ornament or a precious gem.
"It's Chrysalis Time in the City..."
Soon, 10 more chrysalids formed. One more to go. Look, No. 12, don't get into a mid-life chrysalis or anything. Do your thing. Please.
Finally, on Dec. 15, the last caterpillar pupated. Twelve chrysalids.
And just like magic (Nature's magic), a stream of butterflies began eclosing. Today we have five monarch butterflies and seven chrysalids.
We expect more eclosures. There may be a Tiny Tim among them. That happens. But no sign of the protozoan parasite, Ophryocystis elektroscirrha (OE) or tachinid flies that make the most of the "hostest with the mostest" (they lay their eggs in the caterpillars and eat the host from the inside out).
What to do with the five monarchs? It's rainy and cold. Wait for a warmer day and release them? Help them along by traveling to an overwintering site? Offer them "bed and breakfast" at the Bohart?
Meanwhile, “Christmas” and "Chrysalis" seem inseparable.
We're no longer "dreaming of a white Christmas" here in central California. Our Christmas is green (chrysalids) and orange (adults.)
Happy holidays to all!
When you enter the Bohart Museum of Entomology, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, on Crocker Lane, University of California, Davis, be sure to look up. Way up!
Way up? Where?
Up there, on your left! See them? Above the shelved books.
What are they? Insects?
Right, they're insects. They're the mounted heads of rhinocerous beetles--the insect museum's answer to mounted deer heads.
Super Family: Scarabaeoidea
"You know we have some silly moments in the museum," said Lynn Kimsey, museum director and professor of entomology, in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
"Some time ago we received a shipment of rhino beetle donations that were badly damaged by carpet beetles. We decided to prove to the UC Davis Museum of Wildlife and Fish that we had trophy head mounts just as nice as theirs..."
It was Bohart Museum associate Greg Karofelas of Davis who suggested that the rhino beetle heads be mounted. He cut the boards from Sika spruce from a "Shield pattern," which is used to mount game heads.
Dynastinae can reach six inches in length. No, they're don't bite. No, they don't sting. The common name, "rhino," refers to the horns on the male head, used in fighting other males during the mating season, and for digging.
No battles, though, on the Bohart wall. Just one male rhino and one female rhino. Together.
Frankly, how often do you see male and female deer heads together?
There's a donate button on its website. All gifts are tax-deductible.
The Bohart Museum, home of nearly eight million insect specimens from around the world, also has a year-around gift shop (think t-shirts, posters, books, jewelry and insect-collecting equipment) and a live "petting zoo," consisting of about 200 critters, ranging from Madagascar hissing cockroaches to tarantulas to walking sticks.
Directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis, the museum is located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge building. Admission is free. It's open to the public Monday through Thursday, except on holidays. (See calenar on the home page)
A little information about the Bohart Museum, per Lynn Kimsey:
- We connect with nearly 15,000 visitors, both at the museum, in classrooms and through public events
- We identify more than 1000 unknown insects each year, guiding consumers to appropriate and cost-effective control strategies when needed.
- Helping people understand insects and spiders is one of the things we do best
State budget cuts "have a deep impact on the UC system, including the Bohart Museum," Kimsey points out. Here are examples of what donations from $20 to $1000 can mean:
- $20 donation: A teacher can borrow "Oh, My" boxes (educational specimen displays) and live animals to enhance their lesson plans
- $100 donation: New traveling exhibit boxes can be developed to meet the educational needs of teachers
- $200 donation: Bohart educators can visit a school and work with multiple classes to teach them about insects in an engaging hands-on manner
- $1000 donation: This supports an undergraduate student working in the museum for one quarter. With tuition and fees increasing, students need paying jobs. Working in the museum alongside scientists, and learning about insects can be a life-changing experience.
Through donations, the Bohart can better serve the community "and you (donor) may even inspire a new bug lover!" Kimsey says. Folks can also join the Bohart Museum Society; membership has its privileges. In addition, newly discovered insects can be named for a loved one. For more information and details, contact (530) 752-0493 or email@example.com.
Specifically, California bees and blooms.
Even more specifically, undomesticated bees (that is, not honey bees).
Did you know that:
- Of the 4000 undomesticated bee species in the United States, some 1600 species are found in California?
- Seventy percent of bees nest in the ground, and 30 percent in pre-existing cavities?
Like honey bees, native bees are declining due to pesticides, habitat destruction and fragmentation, global climate change, drought and other extreme weather events, and lack of nutrition.
Native pollinator specialist Thorp, a Bohart Museum associate, is a distinguished emeritus professor, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and also the co-author of Bumble Bees of North America: An Identification Guide (Princeton University Press). He retired in 1994 after 30 years of teaching, research and mentoring graduate students but continues his research on pollination biology and ecology, systematics, biodiversity, and conservation of bees, especially bumble bees. Among his special interests: native bees of the vernal pool ecosystem.He maintains his office in the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility on Bee Biology Road, west of the central campus.
Native bee expert Frankie is a professor and research entomologist at UC Berkeley. His specialty is behavioral ecology of solitary bees in wildland, agricultural, and urban environments of California and Costa Rica. More information on his projects can be found at www.helpabee.org. See also the Bay Nature interview.
Coville, who holds a doctorate in entomology from UC Berkeley, is a noted insect and spider photographer. Check out the photos on his website. Coville also has a strong interest in the biology and behavior of Hymenoptera and has published papers on Trypoxylon wasps and Centris bees.
Ertter is curator of Western North American Botany at the University and Jepson Herbaria, UC Berkeley. Primary research interests include western floristics (including the East Bay), systematics of several members of the rose family (that is,, Potentilla, Ivesia, Rosa), and the history of western botany.
California Bees and Blooms showcases 22 of the most common genera (and six species of cuckoo bees). You can learn about their distinctive behavior, social structure, flight season, preferred flowers (there are more than 6500 flowering species or angiosperms in California), and enemies, such as praying mantids.
The some 200 photos in the book will help you identify native bees, such as the bumble bee and carpenter bee below. We found these foraging in our backyard pollinator garden.
The Bohart Museum of Entomology, University of California, Davis, has butterflies in its gift shop that will never leave you, never migrate and never die.
Think stuffed animal/puppet in a zippered pouch that resembles a chrysalis. Unzip one section and out pops the familiar black, yellow and white caterpillar. Unzip another section and out pops the iconic monarch butterfly.
Monarchs are just part of the animal menagerie in the Bohart Museum gift shop. Besides the monarchs, you'll see stuffed animals resembling bed bugs, lice, tardigrades and mosquitoes. You'll find t-shirts, sweatshirts, books, posters, jewelry, insect collecting equipment and insect-themed candy, all ready for gift-giving. Proceeds benefit the Bohart's many educational and public outreach activities.
And now, mark you calendar! In keeping with the widespread interest in monarchs and other butterflies, the Bohart Museum is hosting a special open house, "Eggs to Wings: Backyard Butterfly Gardening," on Sunday, March 19. The event, free and open to the public, takes place from 1 to 4 p.m.
Meanwhile, other open houses, all scheduled from 1 to 4 p.m., will share the spotlight:
Sunday, Jan. 22: 1 to 4 p.m.: “Parasite Palooza: Botflies, Fleas and Mites, Oh, My”
Saturday, Feb. 18: (varying times throughout campus): Biodiversity Museum Day, an opportunity to explore 11 UC Davis collections
And toward the end of the academic year is the campuswide UC Davis Picnic Day, an annual open house set Saturday, April 22. The Bohart Museum will greet thousands of visitors from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The insect museum's regular hours are from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. The gift shop is open year around. The museum is closed to the public on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and on major holidays. Admission is free.