Quick! Find the damselfly!
This damselfly (below) is so camouflaged that it's difficult to see her.
Her? She's a female Argia vivida, as identified by Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology and professor of entomology at UC Davis; and dragonfly/damselfly/butterfly aficionado Greg Kareofelas, a volunteer at the Bohart Museum.
The males are a bright blue.
We didn't see both genders, though, when we were looking for damselflies in a bed of Spanish lavender last weekend in Benicia.
Argia "is a genus of damselflies of the family Coenagrionidae and of the subfamily Argiinae," according to Wikipedia. "It is a diverse genus which contains about 114 species and many more to be described. It is also the largest genus in Argiinae. They are found in the Western Hemisphere."
Like their cousins, the dragonflies, they're predators that eat other insects.
Argia vivida are known as "dancers" because of "the distinctive jerky form of flight they use which contrasts with the straightforward direct flight of bluets, forktails and other pond damselflies," according to Wikipedia. "They are usually to be seen in the open where they catch flying insects on the wing rather than flying about among vegetation picking off sedentary prey items. They tend to land and perch flat on the ground, logs and rocks. When perched, they usually hold their wing slightly raised above the abdomen."
That's what this one was doing./span>/span>
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Beetles do it. Birds do it.
Bats do it.
Do what, you ask? They pollinate!
The Bohart Museum of Entomology at the University of California, Davis, will greet visitors on Saturday, March 14 at its open house, themed "Pollinator Nation."
To be held from 1 to 4 p.m. in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane, it promises to be both fun and educational.
“It will be about bees, bees, bees!” 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."
Lots of animals are pollinators. It's not just bees, bats, butterflies. bats and birds. Pollinators can be ants, flies, moths, wasps and the like.
You'll see many of them at the open house. Staff research associate Billy Synk of the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, will provide a bee observation hive. That's a glassed-in hive filled with a bee colony. You'll be able to see the queen bee, worker bees and drones.
The event is free and open to the public. Family activities are also planned.
Special attractions include a “live” petting zoo, featuring Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks and tarantulas
The Bohart Museum 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.
The museum is open to the public four days a week, Monday through Thursday, but special weekend open houses are held throughout the academic year
The Bohart Museum's regular hours are from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. The insect museum is closed to the public on Fridays and on major holidays. Admission is free.
More information is available by accessing the website at http://bohart.ucdavis.edu/; telephoning (530) 752-9493; or emailing email@example.com.
It's a given: Honey bees love lupine.
We watched them buzzing around a flower patch of blue (lupine) and gold (California poppies) today along Hopkins Road, University of California, Davis, west of the central campus.
Those are Aggie colors: blue and gold. And those are Aggie bees, from the nearby Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, operated by the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, on Bee Biology Road.
Speaking of bees, the Bohart Museum of Entomology is hosting an open house, themed "Pollination Nation," from 1 to 4 p.m., Saturday, March 14 in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, Crocker Lane.
“It will be about bees, bees, bees,” said Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum and professor of entomology at UC Davis. The event is free and open to the public. Visitors can converse with bee specialists and view displays of bees from all over the world. Family activities are also planned.
Of the 20,000 bee species identified worldwide, some 4000 are found in the United States, and 1600 in California. The most recognizable, of course, is the honey bee, but it is not a native. European colonists brought it here (Jamestown colony) in 1622. The honey bee didn't arrive in California until 1853.
Bees play a profound role in shaping the world we live in, but many species remain strangers to us, according to native pollinator specialist and Bohart Museum associate Robbin Thorp, distinguished emeritus professor of entomology at UC Davis and a co-author of California Bees and Blooms: A Guide for Gardeners and Naturalists.
Copies of the California Bees and Blooms (Heyday Books) and Bumble Bees of North America: An Identification Guide (Princeton Press), also co-authored by Thorp, will be available in the gift shop.
“Nature has programmed bees to build nests and supply their young with nutritious pollen and nectar, and their unique methods for collecting these resources are fascinating to observe, the authors wrote. "Their lives are dictated by season, weather and access to preferred flower types and nesting habitat.”
He's never seen anything like it.
A pink cabbage white butterfly? Pieris rapae are not pink--they're white
Yet there it was, flying around Cypress Lane in West Davis around noon Thursday, March 15. It was sporting a new do, a strange pinkish/red hue.
"When I looked at it closely, I could see it had been 'sprayed' with a red color both top and bottom," said Greg Kareofelas, who wears several hats (he's an associate of the UC Davis Bohart Museum of Entomology; a naturalist who specializes in butterflies and dragonflies; and a photographer).
He shot out an email query, "Who's making pink rapae?"
"Someone COULD be trying to trace movements by making individuals highly visible, but I certainly haven't heard of it," replied butterfly expert Art Shapiro, distinguished professor of evolution and ecology at UC Davis who maintains Art's Butterfly World. It is Shapiro who conducts the annual "Beer for a Butterfly Contest," offering a pitcher of beer for the first Pieris rapae of the year in the three-county area of Sacramento, Yolo and Solano. (Hint: they're always white.)
"Looks to me like someone's doing a mark and recapture," said Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum and a UC Davis professor of entomology. "I haven't heard of any project, though."
Meanwhile the pink rapae remains a mystery. An escapee from a lab? Part of a high school science project? The work of a prankster with leftover spray paint? A cucurbits project?
Anyone out there missing a pink rapae?