Shades of Shirley Temple, maybe?
A curly haired tarantula at the Bohart Museum of Entomology at UC Davis could have been named for...drum roll..Shirley Temple.
The curly haired tarantula, or Brachypelma albopilosum, proved a big hit at the Bohart Museum on Saturday, Feb. 13 during the campuswide UC Davis Biodiversity Museum Day. Graduate student Ziad Khouri, who is studying for his doctorate with Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum and professor of entomology at UC Davis, intrigued visitors with the spider.
It's native to Costa Rica and Honduras. And like other members of Brachypelma, it's a CITES listed species. That means it's on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), and under international restrictions for quotas and trade permits.
Khouri noted that in the past, it was overharvested for the pet trade, although the current availability of captive bred specimens has decreased pressure on wild populations. Nevertheless, habitat loss and destruction continue to threaten he curly hair tarantula and many other species.
Tarantulas were in the news this week when scientists revealed that they named a newly discovered tarantula found on the Folsom Prison grounds after singer/songwriter Johnny Cash, the legendary "Man in Black." Its scientific name? "Aphonopelma johnnycashi."
The announcement was part of a newly released study by biologists Chris Hamilton and Jason Bond of Auburn University and Brent Hendrixson of Millsaps College involving nearly 3,000 tarantulas from across the American Southwest. Fellow scientists describe their 340-page study as "unequivocally the most important work on tarantulas ever done."
That brings to mind the Johnny Cash song, "Folsom Prison Blues" in which he lamented "I ain't seen the sunshine since I don't know when."
Wonder if "The Man in Black" ever saw "The Critter in Black," now his namesake Aphonopelma johnnycashi.
The University of California, Davis is preparing for its fifth annual Biodiversity Museum Day.
Set from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 13, it's a campuswide open house showcasing 11 specialized research and teaching collections. It's free and open to the public.
New to the Biodiversity Day are the Nematode Collection, Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, California Raptor Center, Phaff Yeast Culture Collection and the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden.
They will join the Center for Plant Diversity, Botanical Conservatory, Paleontology Collections, Anthropology Collection, Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology, and the Bohart Museum of Entomology for a day of science exploration.
Biodiversity Museum Day is billed as a special day for the public to go behind the scenes to learn how scientists conduct research; gain first-hand educational experience; and see some of the curators' favorite pieces, including the history of the collection or the organism.
Parking is free. Visitors are encouraged to stroll or bike around the UC Davis campus to visit these diverse collections. They can explore displays, talk to scientists and students, and participate in family-friendly activities. This year students interested in applying or transferring to UC Davis are especially encouraged to visit.
All participating museums and collections have active education and outreach programs, but the collections are not always accessible to the public. For a full-day experience, the Biodiversity Museum Day has scheduled staggered hours:
- Anthropology Collections, Young Hall, open noon to 4 p.m.
- Arboretum, Headquarters along LaRue Road, open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Bohart Museum of Entomology, Academic Surge Building, open noon to 4 p.m.
- Botanical Conservatory, greenhouses along Klieber Hall Drive, open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- California Raptor Center, Old Davis Road, open 9 a.m. to noon
- Center for Plant Diversity, Sciences Lab Building, open 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
- Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, Bee Biology Road, open 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
- Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology, Academic Surge Building, open noon to 4 p.m.
- Nematode Collection, Sciences Lab Building, open 1 to 4 p.m.
- Paleontology Collections, Earth and Physical Sciences Building, open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Phaff Yeast Culture Collection, Earth and Physical Sciences Building, open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Most of the collections are located indoors. In the event of rain, alternative locations are planned for the outdoor sites. Maps, signs and guides will be available at all the collections, online, and on social media, including Facebook and Twitter, @BioDivDay.
For further information about the event, contact Ernesto Sandoval, director of the Botanical Conservatory, at email@example.com or (530) 752-0569.
Well, if you're the Bohart Museum of Entomology at the University of California, Davis, you do it with a family craft activity--inflating a balloon inside a balloon to get a "parasitoid" balloon.
Graduate student Charlotte Herbert, who studies with major professor Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum and professor of entomology at UC Davis, staffed the "balloon station" at the Bohart Museum's "Parasitoid Palooza II" open house.
Adi Fry, 7, and her brother, Ethan Fry, 5, of Davis, were among those who learned about parasitoids as they inflated the double balloons.
"An insect parasitoid is a species whose immatures live off of an insect host, often eating it from the inside out," said Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator. "It is part of their life cycle and the host generally dies. This sounds like a weird way to make a living, but there are more species of parasitoids than there are insects with any other kind of life history.” An example is a conopid fly that lays its eggs inside a bumble bee.
On the other hand, an insect parasite is a species that feeds on living animal tissue as external or internal parasites of any stage of another organism, according to Kimsey. This is part of their life cycle and the host typically does not die. An example is a flea feeding on a dog.
Rosemary Malfi, a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Neal Williams, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, discussed conopid flies, also called thick-headed flies, which lay their eggs in some bees, wasps and ants. Malfi did extensive work on the interaction between conopid flies and bumblebee hosts. Some 800 known species of conopids are found throughout the world.
Bohart senior museum scientist Steve Heydon discussed jewel wasps, Pteromalidae, a worldwide family of wasps with some 3,450 described species. Many are biological control agents.
The next open house at the Bohart Museum will be part of the fifth annual Biodiversity Museum Day, a campuswide open house scheduled from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 13. The "Super Sciene Day" will showcase 11 specialized research and teaching collections. It is free and open to the public.
New to the Biodiversity Day are the Nematode Collection, Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, California Raptor Center, Phaff Yeast Culture Collection and the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden. They will join the Center for Plant Diversity, Botanical Conservatory, Paleontology Collections, Anthropology Collection, Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology, and the Bohart Museum of Entomology for a day of science exploration.
The Bohart Museum, named for noted entomologist Richard Bohart, houses nearly eight million insect specimens, along with a live "petting zoo" (Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks and a rose-haired tarantula named "Peaches") and a year-around gift shop. It is located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane. The Bohart hosts open houses on specific weekends throughout the academic year, but it is also open to the public from 9 a.m. to noon, and 1 to 5 p.m., Mondays through Thursdays.
The tachinid fly is a parasitoid.
What's a parasitoid? And where can you go to learn about it?
"An insect parasitoid is a species whose immatures live off of an insect host, often eating it from the inside out," said Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator of the Bohart Museum of Entomology, University of California, Davis. "It is part of their life cycle and the host generally dies."
Want to know more about them? You're in luck. The Bohart Museum will host “Parasitoid Palooza II” at its open house from 1 to 4 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 10 in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane. It's free and open to the public.
Senior museum scientist Steve Heydon, a global expert on jewel wasps, will give a 15-minute presentation on parasitoids and the group that he studies--the jewel wasps (Pteromalidae). His talk is from 2 to 2:15.
Rosemary Malfi, a postdoctoral fellow in the Neal Williams lab in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, will present a mini talk from 3 to 3:15 on some of the parasitoids she has worked with while completing her doctorate. She did extensive work on the interaction between conopid flies and bumblebee hosts.
Another group of parasitoids that will be highlighted at Sunday's open house will be the Strepsiptera, or twisted-wing parasites, an order of insects that the late UC Davis entomologist Richard M. Bohart (1913-2007) researched for his doctorate in 1938. Both the Bohart Museum and an entire family of Strepsiptera, the Bohartillidae, are named in honor of Professor Bohart.
The Bohart Museum, directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis, 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.
Special attractions include a “live” petting zoo, featuring Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks and a rose-haired tarantula named “Peaches.” Visitors are invited to hold the insects and photograph them. 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 holds special open houses throughout the academic year. Its 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, Saturdays and Sundays and on major holidays. Admission is free.
Upcoming open houses are:
- Saturday, Feb. 13: noon to 4 p.m.: Part of 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.”
More information on the Bohart Museum is available by contacting (530) 752-0493 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or Tabatha Yang at email@example.com.
Take it from UC Davis entomology student Wade Spencer.
Spencer decided to create a Bohart Museum of Entomology Christmas card--an insect version--and sure enough, Santa is a robber fly. And Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is a male argid sawfly.
The idea surfaced when Christine Melvin (who just received her bachelor's degree in entomology from UC Davis) and Spencer were TA'ing (serving as teaching assistants) for Lynn Kimsey's Entomology 100L lab. Kimsey directs the Bohart Museum, home of nearly eight million specimens, and she's a professor in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
The young entomologists decided that the male argid sawfly needed a red nose, just like Rudolph.
As Spencer was photographing the argids, Bohart Museum teen volunteer Noah Crockette walked by. "He suggested we should find an insect with fluffy white facial setae for an 'insect Santa' and the moment he said that the image of an Asilid (robber fly) popped into my mind."
Spencer then searched through the Bohart's asilid collection and found a perfect robber fly. The rest, as they say, is history--or hysterical.
"I'm hoping to image some Phasmids (stick insects) to make an insect menorah for Hanukkah as well," Spencer said. (And he just did! See below)
Remember Wade Spencer? He's the one created a peacock jumping spider costume for the Bohart Museum's inhouse Halloween party. Bohart Museum associate Fran Keller videotaped his courtship dance and it went viral--more than two million hits. See Bug Squad.