It's inexpensive, holdable, and very much alive.
Texas Gold-Banded millipedes (Orthoporus ornatus). They're new and permanent residents of the museum's “petting zoo” and they're ready to be observed or held, said Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum and UC Davis professor of entomology.
“They're a great addition to the museum's petting zoo,” Kimsey said. “They are very gentle and great for demonstrations of how millipedes walk and how they differ from centipedes.”
Millipede enthusiast Evan White, who does design and communications for the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, and is a frequent presenter at the Bohart's open houses, recently obtained the arthropods from a collector in Texas. “Texas Gold-Banded millipedes are naive to many of the Southwestern United States, not just Texas,” he said.
White was initially looking for the African giant millipedes (Archispirostreptus gigas) but these are not only expensive but no longer imported.
“I suggested that the Bohart Museum consider a native, and a much smaller species. In fact, native species are the only millipedes readily available, and they're much less expensive. The Texas Gold-Banded millipedes are easily bred and are a hardy species that will make a large colony.”
For the price of one A. gigas, Whiteobtained 15 millipedes, a mix of both males and females.
The 15 millipedes arrived at the Bohart Museum, 1124 Academic Surge on Crocker Lane, at the end of August. During the unpacking, White and is colleagues observed the millipedes mating. “Evidently they waste no time,” White quipped.
Millipedes are one of the largest, and most colorful species on the North American continent, White said. They make great displays, do well in captivity, and seem to breed readily, all desirable qualities in a pet or display animal.
Contrary to popular belief, millipedes are not dangerous. “There is much public confusion about the difference between millipedes and centipedes--not because the two look similar, but because the terms are used interchangeably when not connected to a visual,” White said.
He described millipedes as non-venomous, and relatively slow moving, with cylindrical bodies, two pairs of legs per body segment, and herbivorous. “In fact, they are more like decomposers – they do well on rotting vegetation, wood, etc.--the scientific word for is ‘detritivore.' Most millipedes are toxic if consumed, some even secrete a type of cyanide when distressed. The point being: don't lick one.”
In contract, centipedes are venomous, fast-moving insects with large, formidable fangs, and one pair of legs per body segment. “They are highly carnivorous, although some will eat bananas. Go figure. And they are often high-strung and aggressive if provoked.”
What makes millipedes special--and particularly the Texas Gold-Banded millipedes?
“Personally, I am a big admirer of how they look, almost mechanical, like a metal conduit or something,” he said. “Couple that with the wave ripple of leg movement and I can't get enough of how they look.”
“Generally, there many thousands of types (Wikipedia lists 12,000 named species) which range in size, shape and color from nearly a foot long and black, to only an inch long and bright red. There are round ones, long thin ones, flat ones, spiky ones and nearly every combination in between. They are remarkable critters.”
White estimates the life span at five to six years or more. “In captivity, they do well on squashes, leafy greens, the occasional fruit, and, from time to time, damp/rotting cork.”
Visitors can see the millipedes during the Bohart Museum's regular hours, from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, and at the weekend open houses held throughout the academic year. The first of nine open houses, free and open to the public, will take place Saturday, Sept. 27 from 1 to 4 p.m. The theme is "How to Be an Entomologist.”
The insect museum is located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge building, Crocker Lane, off LaRue Road.
At the Sept. 27th open house, plans call for UC Davis entomologists to show and explain their work, said Bohart Museum director Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
"We will have a pinning and butterfly and moth spreading ongoing workshop with Jeff Smith and tips on how to rear insects," said Tabatha Yang, the Bohart Museum's education and outreach coordinator. Smith, an entomologist in Sacramento, is a longtime donor and volunteer at the Bohart. "It will be very hands-on."
Representatives from the labs of molecular geneticist Joanna Chiu, assistant professor; bee scientist Brian Johnson, assistant professor; ant specialist Phil Ward, professor; insect demographer James Carey; and integrated pest management specialist Frank Zalom, distinguished professor and current president of the 7000-member Entomological Society of America will share their research.
The Johnson lab will provide a bee observation hive, and Cindy Preto of the Zalom lab will be sharing her research on leafhoppers. The Carey lab will show student-produced videos, including how to make an insect collection, and one-minute entomology presentations (students showcasing an insect in one minute). The Ward lab will be involved in outside activities, demonstration how to collect ants. Entomology students will be on hand to show visitors how to use nets and pitfall traps and yellow pans.
The Bohart Museum, founded by noted entomologist Richard M. Bohart (1913-2007), is the home of nearly eight million insect specimens. It houses 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 tarantulas. Visitors are invited to hold the insects and photograph them.
The museum's gift shop (on location and online) includes T-shirts, sweatshirts, books, jewelry, insect-collecting equipment and insect-themed candy.
The Bohart Museum of Entomology on the UC Davis campus is planning an open house on "How to Be an Entomologist" from 1 to 4 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 27. The insect museum is located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge building, Crocker Lane, off LaRue Road.
The event is free and open to the public and is family friendly. This is the first of nine open houses during the 2014-15 academic year.
Plans call for a number of UC Davis entomologists to participate--to show and explain their work, said Bohart Museum director Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
"We will have a pinning and butterfly and moth spreading ongoing workshop with Jeff Smith and tips on how to rear insects," said Tabatha Yang, the Bohart Museum's education and outreach coordinator. Smith, an entomologist in Sacramento, is a longtime donor and volunteer at the Bohart.
Representatives from the labs of molecular geneticist Joanna Chiu, assistant professor; bee scientist Brian Johnson, assistant professor; ant specialist Phil Ward, professor; insect demographer James R. Carey, distinguished professor; and integrated pest management specialist Frank Zalom, distinguished professor and current president of the 7000-member Entomological Society of America will share their research.
Other entomologists may also participate. "There will be a lot going on inside the Bohart and outside the Bohart," Yang said. "It will be very hands on."
Among the open house themes are “Parasitoid Palooza,” “Insect Myths” and “Pollination Nation." “Parasitoid Palooza” may be the first public celebration dedicated to parasitoids, “Parasitoids are animals that feed internally or externally on a host to complete their development to an adult, ultimately killing it,” Kimsey said. “These insects are important biological control agents. We use them as biological control agents because they kill the host, sometimes as an egg or a larva.”
Most of the open houses are from 1 to 4 p.m., except for an evening event, “Moth Night” on Saturday, July 18, and two events--Biodiversity Museum Day on Sunday, Feb. 8 and UC Davis Picnic Day on Saturday, April 18--which have extended hours.
- Saturday, Sept. 27: “How to Be an Entomologist,” 1 to 4 p.m.
- Sunday, Nov. 23: “Insect Myths,” 1 to 4 p.m.
- Saturday, Dec. 20: “Insects and Art,” 1 to 4 p.m.
- Sunday, Jan. 11: “Parasitoid Palooza,” 1 to 4 p.m.
- Sunday, Feb. 8: “Biodiversity Museum Day,” noon to 4 p.m.
- Saturday, March 14: “Pollination Nation,” 1 to 4 p.m.
- Saturday, April 18: UC Davis Picnic Day, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Sunday, May 17: “Name That Bug! How About Bob?” 1 to 4 p.m.
- Saturday, July 18: “Moth Night,” 8 to 11 p.m.
Kimsey, who became interested in entomology in pre-school, went on to receive her bachelor of science and doctorate in entomology (1975 and 1979) from UC Davis. She joined the faculty in 1989 after serving as a visiting professor/lecturer at the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University. She has directed the Bohart Museum of Entomology since 1990 and served as vice chair and interim chair of the Department of Entomology.
The Bohart Museum, founded by noted entomologist Richard M. Bohart (1913-2007), houses a global collection of nearly eight million specimens and boasts the seventh largest insect collection in North America. It also houses the California Insect Survey, a storehouse of the insect biodiversity.
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.
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 newest attractions in the petting zoo are Texas Gold-Banded millipedes, Orthoporus ornatus, which are native to many of the southwestern United States, including Texas. Millipede enthusiast Evan White of the Honey and Pollination Center arranged for the permanent residents.
The museum's gift shop (on location and online) includes T-shirts, sweatshirts, books, jewelry, insect-collecting equipment and insect-themed candy.
Sparks will discuss "Natural Products – Sources and Inspiration for Insect Control Agents" from 11 to 11:50 a.m. in Room 1022 of the Life Sciences Building.
At Dow AgroSciences, Sparks is a research fellow with the Insect Management Group, Discovery Research unit, a position he has held since January 2010.
"Natural products (NPs) have long been used as pesticides and have broadly served as a source of inspiration for a great many commercial synthetic organic fungicides, herbicides and insecticides that are in the market today," Sparks says in his abstract. "In light of the continuing need for new tools to address an ever changing array of fungal, weed and insect pests, NPs continue to be a source of models and templates for the development of new pest control agents. "
"Interestingly, an examination of the literature suggests that NP models exist for many of the pest control agents that were discovered by other means, suggesting that had circumstances been different, these NPs could have served as inspiration for the discovery of a great many more of today's pest control agents. With an emphasis on insecticides, an attempt will be made to answer questions regarding the existence of NP models for existing pesticides, and using the spinosyns as a reference point, what is needed for the discovery of new NPs and NP models for pest control agents."
Sparks was Hammock's first graduate student at UC Riverside; Sparks received his doctorate in entomology, with an emphasis in insect endocrinology/biochemistry and insecticide toxicology, in 1978.
"Tom Sparks enrolled at UC Riverside to study biological control," recalled Hammock, a distinguished professor of entomology with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology who holds a joint appointment with the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center. “This interest soon took a more physiological and biochemical turn."
“Tom had broad interests even then, ranging from synthesis of juvenile hormone analogs as green pesticides to resistance management, to his thesis work on the fundamental biochemistry of how butterflies and moths undergo metamorphosis.”
Sparks went on to become a professor at Louisiana State University in an academic career spanning from 1978 to 1989. He completed a sabbatical leave at UC Davis in the summer of 1985.
Sparks won the 2012 International Award for Research in Agrochemicals at the American Chemical Society's 244th meeting, in Philadelphia for "research and exceptional accomplishments in applying new technology from a number of disciplines to the discovery of new pest control agents.
“Tom was instrumental in the discovery and development of a new class of insecticides called spinosids,” Hammock said.
In 2009, Sparks was named the 44th Scientist of the Year by the global research and development magazine, R&D. He won that honor via a vote from readers and editors of R&D. Past recipients have included the inventor of the Internet and the first to successfully sequence the entire human genome.
At the time, R&D senior editor Paul Livingstone said: “Tom Sparks is one of the leading entomologists in agroscience and a pioneer in the wave of new green chemistries that are changing the way we control the insects that are a crucial factor in global agriculture." Sparks' research on “green” insecticides led to spinetoram, a highly effective new insecticide chemistry that eliminates toxic side effects in humans and mammals.
Sparks, now a resident of Greenfield, Ind., grew up in California's Central Valley. He received his bachelor's degree in biology from California State University, Fresno, before enrolling in the graduate program at UC Riverside. While at UC Riverside, Sparks won the Outstanding Graduate Student Award from the Entomological Society of America (ESA) and also received a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellowship.
Both Hammock and Sparks are fellows of ESA.
Livingston said Hammock played an important role in Sparks' development: “While working in the well-known laboratory of Dr. Bruce Hammock, Tom completed key research on hormones that would guide him into the unexplored regions of entomological science.”
More information on the Oct. 16 seminar is available from events manager Jacki Balderama of the UC Davis Biotechnology Program, at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Thomas Sparks, First Graduate Student of Bruce Hammock, Wins International Award for Research in Agrochemicals
- Scientist-of-the-Year Thomas Sparks Closely Linked to UC Davis; Bruce Hammock Was His Major Professor
Chen, an associate project scientist, will discuss the emerald ash borer and the goldspotted oak borer and their interactions with their host plants. His talk is from 12:10 to 1 p.m. in 122 Briggs Hall.
Research entomologist Steve Seybold of the USDA's Forest Service and an affiliate of the Department of Entomology and Nematology is the host.
Chen, who holds a master's degree in applied statistics (2010) from Michigan State University, obtained his doctorate in entomology from the University of Georgia in 2007. For his dissertation research, he investigated various effects of nitrogen fertilization on tritrophic interactions among cotton plants, the beet armyworm, Spodoptera exigua, and the parasitoid, Cotesia marginiventris. The project integrated ecological, chemical, nutritional, and behavioral elements to evaluate the role of nitrogen in shaping tri-trophic interactions in cotton.
Chen carried out postdoctoral research at Michigan State University's Department of Entomology from 2008 to 2011 on the behavioral, chemical, and nutritional interactions between the invasive emerald ash borer, Agrilus planipennis, and ash trees. He relocated to UC Davis in July 2011 to lead an effort to improve trapping lures for detection of another invasive pest, the goldspotted oak borer, Agrilus auroguttatus.
In collaboration with research entomologists from the USDA Forest Service, Chen is now working to develop management options for the invasive walnut twig beetle, Pityophthorus juglandis, and polyphagous shot hole borer, Euwallacea sp.
Chen's overarching research goals are to build arthropod pest management systems that emphasize naturally occurring pest suppression agents and environmentally friendly tactics, that is, insect sex pheromones and other semiochemicals, in a holistic, ecosystem-based approach. He is also interested in studying pest population dynamics in the context of various pest management tactics, agronomic practices, and abiotic environmental factors (e.g., temperature and precipitation) with mathematical and statistical tools.
Wednesday, Oct. 8
Associate professor and Extension entomologist
Lead investigator, Spotted Wing Drosophila Project
Oregon State University
Title: "Complexities Associated with Two Invasive Pests: Challenges and Opportunities"
Hosts: Assistant professor Joanna Chiu and distinguished professor Frank Zalom, Department of Entomology and Nematology
Wednesday, Oct. 15
Strawberry and Vegetable Crops and affiliated IPM Advisor, University of California Cooperative Extension, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura counties.
Title: "Thinking Outside the Cubicle to Provide Practical Solutions to the Farmers"
Host: Michael Parrella, professor and chair of the Department of Entomology and Nematology
Wednesday, Oct. 22
Professor, Princeton University, specializing in evolution, ecology and behavior.
Title: "Colony Growth and Fitness in Harvester Ants"
Host: Marshall McMunn, graduate student, Louie Yang lab, Department of Entomology and Nematology
Wednesday, Oct. 29
Entomologist and vice president of professional services
SureHarvest, sustainable agriculture
Title: "Sustainable Agriculture: What Is Happening Out on the Farm?"
Host: Michael Parrella, professor and chair of the Department of Entomology and Nematology
Wednesday, Nov. 5
Professor, University of Kentucky, specializing in ecology and evolution of life histories; insect-plant interactions; insect behavioral ecology
Title: "Inbreeding-Environment Interactions: Experimental Studies and a Meta Analysis"
Host: Jay Rosenheim, professor, Department of Entomology and Nematology
Wednesday, Nov. 12
Assistant professor, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, specializing in ecology
Title: "Pulses, Phenology and Ontogeny: Towards a More Temporally Explicit Framework for Understanding Species Interactions?"
Wednesday, Nov. 19
Associate professor of biology, California State University, Northridge, specializing in nematology
Title: “A Fatal Attraction: Regulation of Development and Behavior in the Nematode Pristionchus pacificus by a Beetle Pheromone”
Host: Valerie Williamson, professor of nematology, Department of Entomology and Nematology
Wednesday, Nov. 26
Doris Bachtrog, lab
Associate professor, UC Berkeley, specializing in evolutionary and functional genomics
Title: "Numerous Transitions of Sex Chromosomes in Diptera"
Host: James Carey, distinguished professor, Department of Entomology and Nematology
Wednesday, Dec. 3
To be announced
Wednesday, Dec. 10
Postdoctoral researcher, Harvard University
Title: "RoboBee: Using the Engineering Toolbox to Understand the Flight Apparatus of Flying Insects"
Host: James Carey, distinguished professor of entomology
This seminar by Sawyer Brown will be remote broadcast to UC Davis.
Plans call for recording the seminars, coordinated by Professor James Carey, for later posting on the web.
See Science Express: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/early/2014/09/10/science.1245993.full.pdf
The paper appears in the Sept. 11 in Science Express, which makes important papers available to readers before they appear in the journal Science. The first-of-its-kind study will appear in a November edition of the journal.
“Evolutionary biology is often overlooked in the study of global challenges,” said lead author Scott Carroll of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and the Institute for Contemporary Evolution, also in Davis. “By looking at humanity's problems across the domains of nature conservation, food production and human health, it is clear that we need to strengthen evolutionary biology throughout the disciplines and develop a shared language among them.”
The study, “Applying Evolutionary Biology to Address Global Challenges,” calls attention to how evolutionary biology techniques can be used to address challenges in agriculture, medicine and environmental sciences, said Carroll, noting that these techniques, although seemingly unrelated, work within a similar set of evolutionary processes.
“These techniques range from limiting the use of antibiotics to avoid resistant bacteria and breeding crops with desired benefits such as flood tolerant rice, to less commonly implemented strategies such as gene therapy to treat human disease, and planting non-native plants to anticipate climate change,” Carroll said.
“A particular worry is the unaddressed need for management of evolution that spans multiple sectors, such as occurs in the spread of new infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance genes between natural, human health and agricultural systems.”
Co-lead researcher and biologist Peter Søgaard Jørgensen of the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, agrees. “Many of the global challenges we face today have common biological solutions,” he said, “but we can tackle them effectively only if we are aware of successes and progress in all fields using evolutionary biology as a tool.”
In their paper, the nine researchers—two from UC Davis, one from UCLA and six from universities in Denmark, New Zealand, Maine, Minnesota, Washington state and Arizona--crafted a graphic wheel divided into three sectors, food, health and environment and cited the challenges that link them together, including rapid revolution and phenotype environment mismatch in more slowly reproducing or threatened species.
Carroll said the underlying causes of societal challenges such as food security, emerging disease and biodiversity loss “have more in common than we think.”
“Humans, pathogens and all other life on earth adapt to their environment through evolution, but some adaptation happens too quickly and some too slowly to benefit human society,” Carroll said. “Current efforts to overcome societal challenges are likely only to create larger problems if evolutionary biology is not swiftly and widely implementedto achieve sustainable development.”
Society faces two sorts of challenges from evolution, the research team said. “The first occurs when pests and pathogens we try to kill or control persist or even prosper because the survivors and their offspring can resist our actions,” Carroll said. “The second challenge arises when species we value adapt too slowly, including humans.”
Although practices in health, agriculture and environmental conservation differ, each field can better target challenges using the same applications of evolutionary biology, they said.
For example, when a farmer plants a crop that is susceptible to pests, he might actually help the agricultural community as a whole by slowing down evolution of pesticide resistance, the authors said, citing an applied evolutionary biology tactic used in agriculture.
Planting pest-friendly crops has been used in the United States with good results, the team said. Farmers planting these crops slow the evolution of resistance to genetically modified corn and other crops. Pests then reproduce in abundance eating the susceptible plants, and when a rare resistant mutant matures on a toxic diet, it is most likely to mate with a susceptible partner, keeping susceptibility alive. This approach works to suppress the unwanted evolution on the whole, but farmers will have sacrificed a short-term gain for the long-term good.
Similar innovative solutions exist across the fields of medicine and environmental conservation, they said.
“This is an example of how implementing applied evolutionary biology without a plan for regulatory measures may come at short-term costs to some individuals that others may avoid.” Jorgensen said. “By using regulatory tools, decision makers such as local communities and governments play a crucial role in ensuring that everybody gains from the benefits of using evolutionary biology to realize the long-term goals of increasing food security, protecting biodiversity and improving human health and well-being.”
Other co-authors are Michael T. Kinnison, University of Maine; Carl Bergstrom, University of Washington; R. Ford Denison, University of Minnesota; Peter Gluckman, University of Auckland, New Zealand; Thomas B. Smith, UCLA; Sharon Strauss, UC Davis Department of Evolution and Ecology and Center for Population Biology, and Bruce Tabashnik, University of Arizona.
Carroll is an affiliate of the Sharon Lawler lab, UC Davis Entomology and Nematology. The research was funded in part by the National Science Foundation and the Australian-American Fulbright Commission.
Phone: (530) 297-6980
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