It was a day for UC Davis employees to bring their offspring to campus to show what they and their peers do, and to interest them in career choices and opportunities.
The David and Sarah Trombly family (David works for UC Davis Utillties) were there with their three sons, Daniel, 5, Joshua, 4, and Joseph, 11 months. Joshua, the entomology fan in the Trombly family, exulted over the bugs, eagerly asking the Bohart scientists for identification. His smile widened each time he received an answer.
Amiyah Robinson, 8, was among the daughters who participated in TODS, joining her mother, Chelsy Robinson, who works in Human Resources. Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum and professor of entomology, introduced them to the fascinating world of insects.
Bohart associates and UC Davis students Emma Cluff and Wade Spencer showed jewels beetle specimens, and live insects--Madagascar hissing cockroaches ("hissers") and walking sticks--part of the museum's petting zoo. Cluff held a hisser in her hand while a walking stick crawled up her forehead.
Then it went from bugs to snakes! Amiyah walked down the hallway to the display provided by the Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology. Owner Donnelly “Papaya” West of Papaya Pythons, Davis, was there for an educational presentation on snakes. Amiyah petted K'uychi, an 8-foot-long, 9-pound rainbow boa, Epicrates cenchria. True to its name, its colors resembled a rainbow in the sunlight.
Want to see more Bohart Museum insects? The Bohart is displaying 17 drawers of insect specimens at the 142nd annual Dixon May Fair, which opened Thursday, May 11 and continues through Sunday, May 14. The specimens are displayed all four days in the Floriculture Building. Scientists will be at the Floriculture Building on two afternoons: Friday, May 12 and Saturday, May 13 with the hissers and the sticks. Fairgoers will be invited to hold and photograph them. On Friday afternoon, an added attraction is Wade Spencer showing his scorpions, Hamilton and Celeste. Then on Saturday, entomologist Jeff Smith, who curates the butterfly and moth display at the Bohart Museum, will discuss and show his insect specimens, gathered from many parts of the world. (See May 10 Bug Squad blog)
It was Saturday, April 18, the 103rd annual UC Davis Picnic Day, a campuswide open house, and several thousand folks filed into the Bohart Museum of Entomology to see the displays. The theme: "Bigger, Better, Buglier: Impressive Science."
Native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, distinguished emeritus professor of entomology, UC Davis Department of Nematology and Nematology, displayed male Valley carpenter bees he netted in the UC Davis Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven (and later released there).
And in an amazing moment, a young boy, wearing a bumble bee t-shirt, walked up to see the bees. "My kind of guy!" quipped Thorp when he saw Adne Burruss, 6, of Irvine. Thorp is the co-author of Bumble Bees of North America: an Identification Guide (Princeton University) and California Bees and Blooms: A Guide for Gardeners and Naturalists (Heyday). Adne's mother, Sigrid Burruss, a geneticist, is a UC Davis alumnus.
The male Valley carpenter bee (Xylocopa varipuncta), a green-eyed blond, is also known as "the teddy bear bee." The female of the species is solid black. Thorp urged visitors to touch the carpenter bee. "Boy bees don't sting," he assured them. He also displayed specimens of bumble bees and other native bees.
Bohart Museum associate Wade Spencer, an undergraduate majoring in entomology, brought along his pet scorpions. Assisting him was Crystal Homicz, an animal biology major. She periodically pointed a black light on his scorpion to show the fluorescence. (Visitors were not allowed to touch the scorpions, which are known for their venomous sting.)
Entomologist and Bohart Museum associate Jeff Smith, who curates the butterfly and moth specimens, drew in visitors with his colorful butterfly and moth specimens and kept their attention as he talked about the places he's been and the insects he's seen.
Julianna Amaya, 10, of Martinez, was fascinated with the Australia walking sticks. She and sister, Jasmine, 14, and their mother, Rocio, watched it crawl up their hands. "Julianna is really into bugs," mom said.
The Bohart Museum, founded in 1946 and named for prominent entomologist Richard M.Bohart, is located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane. Directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis, it is the home of nearly eight million insect specimens; a live petting zoo (including Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks and tarantulas); and a year-around gift shop stocked with T-shirts, sweatshirts, books, jewelry, posters, insect-collecting equipment and insect-themed candy.
Fran Keller, an assistant professor at Folsom Lake College who received her doctorate in entomology from UC Davis (major professor Lynn Kimsey) talked to visitors about insects and also kept busy with sales at the gift shop. Lady beetle t-shirts and monarch t-shirts proved popular.
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, Saturdays and Sundays and on major holidays. Admission is free.
More information on the Bohart Museum is available by contacting (530) 752-0493 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
It's sort of like the wonders of the world but this is a science-based event at UC Davis. Scheduled Saturday, Feb. 18, it's a special day for the public to go behind the scenes to see 12 collections and learn how scientists conduct research.
You'll gain first-hand knowledge. You'll see everything from honey bees to hawks, and from bugs to botanical displays.
The event, open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., will "showcase natural history, biodiversity and the cultural-ecological interface," said coordinator Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator for the Bohart Museum of Entomology.
The open house is free and open to all; parking is also free. All collections are within walking distance on campus except for the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven on Bee Biology Road for the Raptor Center on Old Davis Road, and
The following will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.:
- Arboretum and Public Garden, headquartered on LaRue Road
- Bohart Museum of Entomology, Academic Surge Building
- California Raptor Center, Old Davis Road
- Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology, Academic Surge Building
- Paleontology Collection, Earth and Physical Sciences Building
- Phaff Yeast Culture Collection, Earth and Physical Sciences Building
- Viticulture and Enology Culture Collection, Earth and Physical Sciences Building
The following will be open from noon to 4 p.m.:
- Anthropology Museum Young Hall
- Botanical Conservatory, greenhouses along Kleiber Hall Drive
- Center for Plant Diversity, Sciences Lab Building
- Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, Bee Biology Road
- Nematode Collection, Sciences Lab Building
All participating museums and collections have active education and outreach programs, Yang said, but the collections are not always accessible to the public. 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, access the UC Davis Biodiversity Museum Day website.
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?
Sometimes the unexpected happens.
Take the case of the female praying mantis delivered to the Bohart Museum of Entomology, University of California, Davis, for an educational display. The Bohart, home of some eight million insect specimens, also has a live "petting zoo"-- which houses tarantulas, Madagascar hissing cockroaches, and walking sticks.
And now: a female praying mantis.
UC Davis entomology student Justin "Wade" Spencer begins feeding and caring for her.
One day he wonders if she is gravid (pregnant). So when another entomology student, Minsu Kang, brings in a male praying mantis, Spencer makes sure that the female receives an extra portion of roach nymphs because of the possibility--well, a little possibility--that the female might lop off his head.
So Spencer feeds her more yummy roach nymphs. All is well.
Finally, it's time to meet. The male praying mantis climbs inside the habitat.
The male looks interested. He takes one step toward her. She doesn't move. He takes another step. No response. “Oh good,” thinks Spencer.
Then she responds. “Food! Food! Food!" She promptly grabs him with her spiked forelegs and lops off his head. Then she devours him. All of him.
Well, almost. The owner of the male praying mantis returns. "Where's my praying mantis?” Kang asks.
Wade holds up a wing and some frass.
Sometimes the unexpected happens.