If you gift this to a family, friend or yourself, no one can ever take it away. It can't be stolen, damaged or lost. You'll never wear it out. It will never go out of fashion. It will always be considered special, creative, generous and thoughtful.
I mean, how many people get to name a new species of weevil?
In this case, it's naming rights for a cute little polka-dotted black and white weevil. For a donation of $2500 to the Bohart Museum of Entomology, University of California, Davis, it's yours.
To name, that is.
Bohart Museum Society member Henry Hespenheide, professor emeritus from UCLA, collected the weevil a couple of years ago in Panama, said Bohart Museum director Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis.
This species is from genus Macrocopturus. Its relatives are distributed widely in the Western Hemisphere from Florida and the West Indies to South America, and currently include more than a hundred known species. Most Macrocopcurus are probably wood-borers as larvae, and the Florida species is a pest of mahogany, Kimsey says. Although most species are colored to blend in with the bark on tree trunks, this species is unusual and striking in having the bright spots of red scales.
Genus: Dipara species #1
Origin: Democratic Republic of Congo
Describer Steve Heydon
This delicate black jewel is tiger-striped with white bands and dotted with purplish metallic patches. This species is relatively common in the gallery forests along the river courses of west central DRC, but it can be collected only by means of yellow pan traps deployed on the forest floor. Similar species exist throughout the world, but mysteriously, no one has a good idea what they feed on.
Genus Callocleonymus species #1
Describer: Steve Heydon
This new species will be the first representative of the genus to be found in North America. This species is so rare, it is known from only a handful of specimens. It is native to the bottomland hardwood forests of the Gulf Coast.
Genus: Hedychridium species #1
Describer: Lynn Kimsey
Members of the genus Hedychridium are among the most brilliantly colored of the chrysidids, with bright metallic blues, greens and even reds. This new species has all of that brilliance in blues and greens. These wasps are nest parasites of predatory, solitary wasps. They are like small jewels flitting about on the ground.
Genus: Psilochalcis species #1
Origin: Southern California
Describer: Steve Heydon
This new species of Psilochalcis is from the Algodones sand dune system of southern California. These tough little wasps survive in an area where daytime temperatures soar above 110˚ regularly, and the temperature near the sand exceeds 160˚ F. The females lay their eggs in the pupal stage of their hosts, probably small some small moth found feeding on the desert bushes.
Genus: Agapophytus nov. sp1
Describer: Shaun Winterton
Genus: Agapophytus nov. sp2
Describer: Shaun Winterton
Genus: Lagenosoma species 1
Describer: Shaun Winterton
Genus: Undescribed genus and species
Describer: Shaun Winterton
For more information on the Biolegacy Program, contact Lynn Kimsey at email@example.com or call the main Bohart lineat (530) 752-0492.
So when the Bohart Museum of Entomology open house, themed "Keep Calm and Insect On," took place last Saturday, an Australian walking stick, Extatosoma tiaratum, got into the act. It promptly walked from the hand of entomology graduate student Charlotte Herbert to her head and pretended to be a barrette. A Phasmid barrette.
This one was a sultry brown female adult stick insect with a decidedly spiked "hairdo." Spiked? The females are covered with thornlike spikes, used for defense as well as camouflage.
According to Wikipedia, "Both sexes, when threatened, stand on the front and middle legs, pointing their abdomen up or to the side in a sort of 'scorpion' pose. They fold back their legs to defend themselves if anything comes in contact with their abdomen. Adults can release a defensive odor that humans might not find offensive as it "is rather reminiscent of peanut butter, vinegar or toffee."
Many of the visitors at Saturday's open house at first overlooked the stick insect barrette. After all, it was camouflaged. But they quickly grasped Charlotte Herbert's enthusiasm for insects as she shared information and encouraged them to ask questions and hold the insects. In between, she led a workshop on how to make buzz kazoos.
"I have known since I was five years old that I wanted to be an entomologist," Herbert said. "Growing up on a farm in New Hampshire allowed me to fall in love with the natural world and the critters that exist in it. To this day, I love nature and especially insects. There is something extraordinarily beautiful about their small size and complexity."
"Four years ago I started to follow my passion of entomology beyond the hobbyists perspective and into research during my undergraduate at St. Lawrence University, Canton, N.Y. Even though my undergraduate school did not offer a degree in entomology, my advisor Dr. Karl McKnight took me under his wing and allowed me to conduct independent entomological research. It was there that I fell in love with the fly (Diptera) family Asilidae, also known as assassin flies or robber flies. There are over 7,500 species of assassin flies found worldwide. They are incredibly diverse, venomous, and aggressive aerial predators"
For the past two years Herbert worked with assassin flies at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. This fall she became a Ph.D student in Lynn Kimsey's lab and a volunteer at the Bohart Museum of Entomology. Kimsey directs the Bohart Museum and is a professor of entomology in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
"I am so happy to be at UC Davis!" Herbert said. "I am following my lifelong passion of entomology, surrounded with other like-minded individuals, and get the pleasure of working at the Bohart, where I can teach people to set aside their fears of insects and instead glimpse into their incredibly complex and beautiful world."
There definitely was no fear when visitors got acquainted with the walking stick in her hair and the one in her hand.
The Bohart Museum, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane, is home to nearly eight million specimens, as well a "live" petting zoo, with critters like Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks and a rose-haired tarantula named "Peaches." It also operates a gift shop filled with T-shirts, insect collecting equipment, posters, books, insect-themed candy and jewelry.
Throughout the academic year, the Bohart hosts an open house on specified weekends. The remaining open houses:
- Sunday, Jan. 10 from 1 to 4 p.m.: Parasitoid Palooza II
- Saturday, Feb. 13: Biodiversity Museum Day
- Saturday, April 16, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.: UC Davis Picnic Day
- Saturday, July 31, 8 to 11 p.m.: “Celebrate Moths”
That's the theme of the Bohart Museum of Entomology open house from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 5 in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane, University of California, Davis.
In addition to the many exciting activities planned that day--it's free and open to the public--you can visit the museum's gift shop and find something “buggy” for holiday season for you or your family and friends. The gift shop is also open during the museum's regular hours, from 9 to noon and 1 to 5 p.m., Mondays through Thursdays.
Want a monarch butterfly t-shirt? Check.
Want some dragonfly earrings? Check.
Want some stocking stuffers, such as see-through lollipops with tasty crickets inside? Check.
Want an insect net for the budding entomologist in your family? Check.
Want some books on bees and bumblebees or a children's book on California's state insect, the dogface butterfly or a children's book on a butterfly found in the Amazon forest? Check.
Here are some of the items available at the Bohart Museum:
- Earrings and necklaces (with motifs of bees, dragonflies, moths, butterflies and other insects)
- T--shirts for babies, children and adults (walking sticks, monarch butterflies, beetles, dragonflies, dogface butterflies and the museum logo)
- Insect candy (lollipops with either crickets and scorpions, and chocolate-covered scorpions)
- Insect-themed food, Chapul bars made with cricket flour, and flavored mealworms and crickets
- Insect collecting equipment: bug carriers, nets, pins, boxes, collecting kits
- Plastic insect toys and stuffed animals (mosquito, praying mantis, bed bug and others)
- Handmade redwood insect storage boxes by Bohart Museum associate Jeff Smith
- Posters (Central Valley butterflies, dragonflies of California, dogface butterfly), prints of selected museum specimens
- Books by museum-associated authors:
- The Story of the Dogface Butterfly (Fran Keller, Greg Kareofelas and Laine Bauer), Insects and Gardens Insects and Gardens: In Pursuit of a Garden Ecology (Eric Grissell), Bumble Bees of North America: An Identification Guide (co-authored by Robbin Thorp), California Bees and Blooms: A Guide for Gardeners and Naturalists (co-authored by Robbin Thorp), Guide to Butterflies of the San Francisco Bay and the Sacramento Region (Art Shapiro), Butterfly Wish (Steve Stoddard, pen name S.S. Dudley), and multiple dragonfly books by Kathy Biggs.
- Notecards of bees and other pollinators by yours truly and Mary Foley Benson's wasp and caterpillar art
- Bohart logos (youth t-shirts, stickers and patches
- Used books
- Gift memberships
- Naming of insect species in the biolegacy program
All proceeds go for a good cause--funding the operation of the Bohart Museum. Directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis, it houses nearly eight million insect specimens from throughout the world. Another popular attraction is the live "petting" zoo where you can hold and photograph Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks and a rose-haired tarantula named "Peaches."
Keep calm and insect on!
You just can't beat those Halloween costumes at the Bohart Museum of Entomology's annual membership party.
But have you ever thought of being a..drum roll..long-horned beetle? Of course, you have! Probably every Halloween, right?
Talk about creative!
UC Davis entomology undergraduate student Laurie Casebier crafted the cerambycidae beetle (long-horned beetle) costume. "I used my bike helmet and cut a hula hoop in half and attached the ends to my helmet to make the long antenna and used duct tape to make the familiar notched eyes," she said. "Then I cut out paper and my pseudotetramerous tarsi. I used a scarf as elytra. It was kind of modeled after the apple borer, but not really."
Forensic entomologist Bob Kimsey of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology faculty wore his favorite ghillie suit as he poured beverages for the crowd.
Then there were the look-alikes. Entomology student Maia Lundy, president of the UC Davis Entomology Club, dressed like her friend, entomology graduate Alex Nguyen ("Maia decided that it would be funny to look like me," he said)
and entomology graduate student Joel Hernandez and UC Davis alumnus Melissa Cruz arrived as lumberjacks,
And then were were the bees that buzzed and the butterflies that fluttered.
No one wore an orange T-shirt that proclaimed "This IS my Halloween costume."
That would..er...really bug entomologists.
No, expect to see a peacock jumping spider, violin spider, and praying mantis. And okay, maybe a monarch butterfly and a honey bee or two.
But a peacock jumping spider?
The best costume at the Bohart Musuem's recent Halloween party was of a peacock jumping spider, designed, created and worn by UC Davis entomology undergraduate student Wade Spencer.
And that's not all. He performed courtship dances throughout the evening, wowing the crowd.
“He spent a huge amount of time on this even practicing the 'moves' watching videos of the spiders,” said Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology and professor of entomology.
Bohart Museum associate Fran Keller, who received her doctorate in entomology at UC Davis, captured a video of Spencer's courtship dance. Posted on the Bohart Museum Facebook page, it immediately went viral on social media. (As of Nov. 1, more than 700,000 accessed it.)
How did Spencer come up with the idea? From watching biologist Jürgen Otto's videos of the peacock jumping spider. See Otto's video on YouTube.
When Spencer saw the videos, he thought "Wow! these little things are amazing!"
"Then when I saw the species Maratus speciosus, I thought the pattern on the abdomen looked somewhat like a face. The moment that occurred to me I decided I could make that a mask and the costume idea was instantly solidified in my mind.”
Spencer, who plans to obtain a doctorate in entomology and teach, hails from a tiny rural suburb of Los Angeles called Sunland. “It's often seen as 'Sunland/Tujunga' as they are joint communities with a rich history," he said. "They're also often seen in movies, TV shows, and commercials as it's a popular filming area.”
A graduate of Verdugo Hills Senior High School, Tujunga, Calif., he then went on to Pasadena City College (PCC) before transferring to UC Davis.
Spencer said his insect interest "all started with my great grandmother whom I called 'Gommie.' She babysat me often and would take me out into nature for picnics and such. There she would teach me about the plants, birds, snakes and lizards, the water cycle, geology, mammals, and, of course, insects. She didn't know many of the scientific names but she knew so many common names. it'd make your head spin. After many years of her influence and really learning how to simply stop and appreciate the nature around me, I decided I wanted to get into biology.”
After he completed ecology/evolutionary biology courses at PCC and field projects, he decided that "field biology was the thing for me."
"Then, after completing organic chemistry, I decided I wanted to synthesize molecules, specifically pharmacological compounds. I really wanted to either work with plants or bugs to extract molecules for potential medicines as they have amazing compounds with insane properties to them. Then I realized that while I loved the organic chemistry and all that, I really didn't want to be cooped up in a lab all day as my true passion was to be out in the field.”
“I lived with my great grandma from 2008 until 2014, taking care of her in her older years as she did for me in my younger years," Spencer recalled. "She would always encourage me to get into the sciences and follow my true passions.” He applied to a handful of colleges and was accepted by three. “I thought about it for a little and came to the conclusion that if I study bugs--which are way cooler than only flowers--I could also study the plants that I loved.”
Wade Spencer chose UC Davis. Unfortunately, his great-grandmother passed suddenly in November of 2013. "So, long story still long, my great grandmother was the one to push me into the amazing world of bugs and I still feel like a curious and playful child when I'm out in the field frolicking with the bugs and the rest of nature. I find my peace when I'm out in nature because I feel connected with my best friend, my Gommie.”
Spencer volunteers at the Bohart Museum of Entomology open houses, held periodically throughout the academic year. He can be found enthusiastically encouraging visitors to hold a rose-haired tarantula named Peaches, and extolling the virtues of Madagascar hissing cockroaches and walking sticks.
As for Fran Keller's video, it's drawing lots of comments on social media, including:
- This Wade person is amazing for not only making this costume but performing the dance that goes with it.
- Best Halloween costume, ever!
- So funny, only biologists and entomologists would understand the human and mastery
- Nice to see other people admire these little critters
- I completely love this person!
- Guy in costume, will you marry me? I love you!