Naming our son was easy. We opted for family names handed down 200 years ago.
A puppy? When we acquired a half-St. Bernard, half-German Shepherd mix (the same breed as Buck in Jack London's Call of the Wild), that was easy, too. The puppy insisted on eating the daisies, so...ta-dah.."Daisy."
Kitten? We named our calico kitten, "Indiana Joan," heralding her adventuresome personality that included--but was not limited to--falling into the fish pond. Fast forward to 15 years later. A woman is holding a "Free" sign outside a supermarket and inside a cardboard box is a frightened tuxedo kitten about to be taken to a shelter. We did not name her "Free." Since she proved to be a mix of princess (loves to cuddle, and still does) and warrior (loves to hunt rodents, and still does), she became "Xena, the Warrior Princess."
But how do you name an insect? It's not as simply as "Daisy" or "Indiana Joan" or "Xena the Warrior Princess."
The theme is "Name That Bug! How About Bob?"
Bob is a very good name. Just ask forensic entomologist Bob Kimsey of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, and his wife and colleague, Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum and UC Davis professor of entomology.
And at least one big box supermarket is quite fond of "Bob." Ever noticed the sign, "Remember BOB?" at the cash register? That clues the cashier to check "Bottom of the Basket (BOB)."
So, when you attend the Bohart Museum of Entomology open house on May 17, you'll meet and chat with taxonomists and other scientists at the Bohart Museum and the California Department of Food and Agriculture who will explain how insects are named. There also will be family arts-and-crafts activities. The event is free and open to the public.
It's good to know that you, too, can name insects. The Bohart Museum sponsors a nonprofit Biolegacy Program, an opportunity to name an insect after yourself or a loved one. For example, there's a new wasp species named “The Bockler Wasp," thanks to a concerted drive to memorialize a beloved and award-winning high school biology teacher.
When the retired science teacher, Donald “Doc Boc” Bockler of Arlington (Mass.) High School, died at age 65, two of his former students from the Class of 1993--Tabatha Bruce Yang of the Bohart Museum and Margaret Dredge Moore of Arlington--launched a fundraising drive to name an insect after him. They selected a newly discovered species in the genus Lanthanomyia and sought the name, Lanthanomyia bockleri.
Senior museum scientist Heydon recently published his work on Lanthanomyia bockleri Heydon in Zootaxa, a worldwide mega-journal for zoological taxonomists and the name is now official.
“Once an article goes through the scientific review process and is published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, the name of the new species is official and immortalized in the scientific literature,” explained Kimsey.
Kimsey described species-naming as “a unique, lasting form of dedication” and “a great honor both for the person giving the name and for the individual or other honoree whose name is being given to the species.”
Heydon explained that Lanthanomyia is a genus whose species are restricted to central and southern Chile and adjacent parts of Argentina. The new species is found in the Nothofagus forests of Patagonian Chile, including Chiloe Island. It belongs to a family of parasitic wasps called the Pteromalidae. “Unlike other related species, this one has a unique dorsal attachment of the head to the thorax," Heydon said. "If you see a specimen of Lanthanomyia with the neck attaching close to the top of the head, you know it is bockleri. Adults are reared from galls on Nothofagus and are thought to be parasites of gall-forming weevils.”
“Donald Bockler was fascinated by evolution and nature and he would have been proud,” said Yang, education and outreach coordinator at the Bohart Museum. Like many other Bockler students, she credits him for influencing her decision to pursue a career in science. For more information, and to obtain a list of species available for naming, contact email@example.com.
The Bohart Museum, founded by noted entomologist Richard M. Bohart (1913-2007), houses a global collection of nearly eight million specimens. It is also the home of the seventh largest insect collection in North America, and the California Insect Survey, a storehouse of the insect biodiversity.
The Bohart Museum's other special attractions include a “live” petting zoo, featuring Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks and tarantulas. Visitors are invited to hold the insects and photograph them. A crowd favorite is a rose-haired tarantula named "Peaches."
The museum's gift shop, open year around, includes T-shirts, sweatshirts, books, jewelry, posters, insect-collecting equipment and insect-themed candy.
The Bohart Museum's regular hours are from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. The museum is closed to the public on Fridays and on major holidays. Admission is free. Open houses, focusing on specific themes, are held on weekends throughout the academic year.
The next open house is "Moth Night," set from 8 to 11 p.m., Saturday, July 18 on the Bohart Museum grounds. Participants will learn how to collect moths and identify them.
Want more information on the Bohart Museum? Contact Tabatha Yang at firstname.lastname@example.org or (530) 752-0493.
What a grand event!
When the University of California, Davis held its annual campus "Take Your Daughters (And Sons) to Work" Day today (April 23), the participants met one-on-one with entomologists, firefighters, physicians, plant specialists, veterinarians and scores of others in the UC Davis workforce.
It was one big open house.
At the Bohart Museum of Entomology, children's author S.S. Dudley (also known as retired scientist Steve Stoddard of medical entomologist Thomas Scott's lab in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology), entertained the crowd by talking about the places he's been, the insects he's seen and the people he's met. He is the author of “Butterfly Wish” and “Elf Hills.”
Joel Fuerte, 6, of Woodland, whose mother Gabriela "Gabby" Sanchez Fuerte, works for the School of Education, listened wide-eyed.
Joel then walked over to the live "petting zoo" and held walking sticks and a rose-haired tarantula named Peaches. Little Roxanne Bell, 7, whose mother Jenna works at the Mondavi Center, said that Peaches "tickled" her. Her expression? Priceless!
Meanwhile, Tabatha Yang, education and public outreach coordinator, led tours of the museum, which houses nearly eight million insects.
"Take Your Daughters (And Sons) to Work" goes by the name of TODS, but that doesn't began to explain what it's all about. It's more than just a career day. Officials say "it not only exposes girls and boys to what a parent or mentor does during his/her workday, but shows children the value of their education and provides an opportunity to share how they envision their future and begin steps toward their goals in a hands-on and interactive environment."
Yes, it does.
Maybe some day little Joel Fuerte will become a children's author and little Roxanne Bell, an entomologist. Or vice versa! Or, maybe they can do both, and follow the career path of Steve Stoddard, aka S. S. Dudley.
And yes, there was. A Madagasar hissing cockroach was one of the critters that UC Davis entomology major Wade Spencer showed to guests at the Bohart Museum of Entomology open house last Saturday during the 101st annual campuswide Picnic Day.
Some folks call them "hissers." That's because of the hissing sound they make when when they force air through their spiracles, or respiratory openings. Sometimes they hiss when you touch them or pick them up. Want to hear them hiss? Access George Gavin's program on the BBC website.
Madagascar hissing cockroaches can reach three inches long. They seem to favor rotting logs for their homes. They're vegetarians, so guests at the Bohart Museum don't have to worry about them as predators.
Hollywood producers can't get their fill of them.
And then there was the television series Fear Factor. (The Bohart Museum received some of the excess roaches.)
We also remember when Six Flags Great America sponsored a Halloween contest at its 2006 FrightFest and challenged people to eat a hisser. Eat 36 hissers in one minute and beat the world record. Fortunately, they rescinded the idea and the offer.
The hissers at the Bohart, though, are not for eating. They're for admiring. Some 4000 people visited the Bohart Museum last Saturday to view all the exhibits, which included a pollination display and the ongoing live "petting zoo." Although the crowd favorite is Peaches, a rose-haired tarantula, also popular are the walking sticks and hissers.
The Bohart Museum, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane, houses nearly eight million insect specimens. Directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis, it is open to the public from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and on special weekends.
The next weekend open house is from 1 to 4 p.m., Sunday, May 17. The theme? “Name That Bug! How About Bob?” Admission is free.
How do you begin? Where do you start?
Distinguished Professor James R. Carey of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology led a class on how to do just that several years ago. Under his direction, UC Davis students crafted a playlist of 11 short videos on insect-collecting.
The project, considered the best-of-its-kind on the Internet, won an award from the 7000-member Entomological Society of America.
The videos are online but if you attend the UC Davis Picnic Day on Saturday, April 18, you can see the continuous loop of videos being played from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Room 122 of Briggs Hall, off Kleiber Hall Drive. Fliers printed with the URL and QR codes also will be available.
The entire series can be viewed in less than 10 minutes. The clips range in length from 32 seconds to 77 seconds.
“So in less than 10 minutes, someone can learn how to make an insect collection,” Carey said. The clips are tightly scripted, with an emphasis on brevity, simplicity and low cost."
Making the insect-collection module was a low tech-low cost operation partly by design. “I wanted production to be ‘low tech' so that anyone who could use a point-and-shoot camera and basic movie-editing software could produce a video clip,” Carey said. ”It needed to be low cost not only because of no funding for the project, but because the basic challenge was to produce a set of high-content-high quality video clips at virtually zero cost."
UC Davis forensic entomologist Robert Kimsey provided the introductory narration for each clip. The students chose MovieMaker software (included in the MS Office package) and Sony Vegas Movie Studio. Paul ver Wey, media production manager of the UC Davis Information Educational Technology's Academic Technology Services, taught them the basics of videography and editing; Wes Nelms gave a tutorial on the use of Vegas Movie Studio
So, stop by Briggs Hall and watch the videos on how to make an insect collection. Or access them online.
Hand Collecting (32 seconds)
Using an Aspirator (34 seconds)
Ground Collecting (54 seconds)
Aquatic Collecting (58 seconds)
Using Nets (58 seconds)
Killing (51 seconds)
Pinning (43 seconds)
Point Mounting (50 seconds)
Labeling Specimens (48 seconds)
Spreading (77 seconds)
Storage and Display (32 seconds)
The 101st annual UC Davis Picnic Day is expected to draw as many as 100,000 visitors campuswide. The focus is on entomology at Briggs Hall and at the Bohart Museum of Entomology. Briggs Hall includes cockroach races, maggot art, honey sampling, fly-tying, a pollination pavilion and many other activities. The Bohart Museum, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane, is home of nearly eight million insect specimens. On Saturday it will showcase pollination activities and provide many other events under the theme, "The Good, The Bad and the Bugly."
When entomologist Jeff Smith, a volunteer associate at the Bohart Museum of Entomology, University of California, Davis, was showing elementary school students the museum's moth and butterfly collection, a boy took one look at a drawer of south African butterflies and exclaimed "They look just like penguins!"
They're just one of the species of butterflies in the 400,000-specimen Lepitoptera collection that Smith curates. He has spread the wings of 200,000 butterflies and moths since 1988 for the Bohart. He does incredible work.
Said Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum and professor of entomology at UC Davis: "Also, we are borrowing specimens of pollinating birds, bats and lemurs from the UC Davis Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology to cover non-insect pollinators, which should be fun." The event is free and open to the public. Specialists will be on hand to answer questions.
Many of the butterflies are simply breathtaking. Some, like the bright blue Morphocpress cyanide, will elicit a "Wow!" or maybe a double or triple "Wow!" As will the owl butterfly.
And if you haven't seen a single monarch butterfly yet this year, not to worry. You'll see dozens of specimens at the Bohart.
(Note: If you can't make it to the open house on March 14, the Bohart Museum is open to the public from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. It's closed to the public on Fridays and on major holidays. Admission is free. Home of nearly eight million specimens, the Bohart houses a global collection of nearly eight million specimens. It is also the home of the seventh largest insect collection in North America, and the California Insect Survey, a storehouse of the insect biodiversity. Noted entomologist Richard M.Bohart (1913-2007) founded the museum. Special attractions include a “live” petting zoo, featuring Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks and tarantulas. Visitors are invited to hold the insects and photograph them. The museum's gift shop includes T-shirts, sweatshirts, books, jewelry, insect-collecting equipment and insect-themed candy. More information is available by accessing the website at http://bohart.ucdavis.edu/; or telephoning (530) 752-9493; or emailing email@example.com.)