They belong to the same order, Hymenoptera, but some folks insist that ants don't belong in your life.
Oh, but they do!
Find out why at the Bohart Museum of Entomology open house from 1 to 4 p.m., Sunday, May 21. The event, spotlighting ants, is free and family friendly. It will take place in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, 455 Crocker Lane.
Members of the Phil Ward lab, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, will answer your questions, show live ants and specimens, and engage in one-on-one discussions.
In a video released by the Bohart Museum of Entomology during a campuswide Biodiversity Museum Day, Professor Ward related: "Ants have occupied almost all of the world's land surfaces, from deserts to rain forests. There's a few places they're absent. They're not in Antarctica, no surprise! They haven't colonized the Arctic and a few very high elevation tropical mountains, but apart from that, almost any place you go on land you'll see our friends, the ants. And they have assumed a quite a diverse array of ecological roles. Some of them are predators, others are scavengers, and some are seed collectors, and these habits vary tremendously among different species in different parts of the world."
Among the Ward lab personnel scheduled to participate are doctoral candidates Jill Oberski and Zach Griebenow (both are expected to receive their PhDs this year), and third-year doctoral student Ziv Lieberman. Griebenow and Oberski are veterans of UC Davis teams that won national championships in the Entomological Society of America's Entomology Games or "Bug Bowls." (See news story) UC Davis teams won national championships in 2022, 2018, 2016 and 2015.
Meanwhile, be sure to watch what Professor Ward says in the video posted on YouTube at https://youtu.be/d8eRNsD8dxo. He illustrated his talk with ant images taken by his former doctoral student Alex Wild (PhD from UC Davis in 2005), curator of entomology at the University of Texas, Austin, and a noted macro photographer, (http://www.alexanderwild.com).
How ancient are ants? Ants originated about 120 million years ago (early Cretaceous), evolving from "wasp-like creatures," Ward said. They are members of the order Hymenoptera, and their closest relatives include honey bees, cockroach wasp and the mud daubers.
How many species in California? California is home to some 300 species of ants, but thousands more live in the tropics. Globally, there may be as many as 40,000 to 50,000 species of ants, the professor estimated, but only about 14,000 are described.
How do they communicate? Ants communicate largely by chemical (pheromones) and tactile means, Ward said. Their vision is "not particularly acute." He pointed out that that they lay a trail pheromones from the source of food back to the nest. They have alarm pheromones, causing other workers to act defensively. Chemicals also help ants distinguish their nest mates.
What about those Argentine ants? Some ants, like the Argentine ants, are pests. These invaders from South America "form super colonies, which means different colonies don't fight each other; they're all cooperating. And the other downside of Argentine ants is that they tend to eliminate native ants. So over the years I've lived in Davis, I have certainly noticed that native ants have declined as the Argentine ants have expanded. And they expand not just in, say, urban areas, but along certain natural habitats and one that they really like is the riparian habitat. So if you look along rivers and streams that are near urban areas, they're getting invaded by Argentine ants. And when they do, most native ants just disappear. This is a very tough aggressive ant and the mellow California ants can't handle an aggressive invader from South America. So they just disappear."
Ward related that ants live in long-lived colonies with (1) cooperative brood care (2) overlapping generations and (3) reproductive division of labor, the hallmarks of eusocial behavior. He also pointed out:
- A typical ant colony contains a reproductive queen, numerous non-reproductive workers and brood (eggs, larvae, pupae)
- Colonies of ants can be thought of as superorganisms: tightly integrated and cooperative entities with complex systems of communication and division of labor (castes)
The Bohart Museum's arts-and-crafts activity will be to create paper ant headbands. "The current version has serrated mandibles, but people can go free form, too," said Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator. "We're hoping for a colony of visitors with red headbands."
The Bohart Museum, directed by UC Davis distinguished professor Lynn Kimsey, houses a global collection of eight million insect specimens, plus a petting zoo (including Madagascar hissing cockroaches, stick insects and tarantulas) and a gift shop, stocked with insect-themed t-shirts, hoodies, jewelry, posters, books, and collecting equipment.
Founded in 1946, the Bohart is open to the public Mondays through Thursdays, from 8 a.m. to noon, and 1 to 5 p.m. More information is available on the Bohart website at https://bohart.ucdavis.edu or by emailing email@example.com.
Then around 5:30 comes the urgent message from her colleague, arachnologist Jason Bond, associate dean of the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Natural Resources and the Evert and Marion Schlinger Endowed Chair of the Department of Entomology and Nematology. The Bond lab and the Bohart Museum share a portion of the first floor of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane.
Lynn, there's a water leak at the Bohart Museum! Emergency!
Lynn hurries to her car and heads to the Bohart Museum. When she enters the building, there in the hallway is the "wet area," blocked with yellow "caution" floor signs and a bright orange pylon.
Except the "wet area" is dry. Bone dry.
Surprise! Surprise! Happy birthday!
Unbenownest to Kimsey, the UC Davis Entomology Club (advised by her husband, forensic entomologist Bob Kimsey, adjunct professor with the Department of Entomology and Nematology), had earlier decorated the museum with birthday balloons, banners and streamers.
Meanwhile, where is Bob? He had finished preparing taco fixings at their son's home for the birthday celebration and was heading toward the Yolo Causeway (connecting West Sacramento with Davis), when traffic delayed him.
Not to worry, Bob and the taco fixings made it.
Meanwhile, Lynn sets about opening a myriad of gifts, including a miniature hinged box from Keller ("Lynn likes tiny boxes," Keller said). Other gifts include an "Educated Guess" wine from Oakville, and a 10-inch radio-controlled tarantula, billed as "big, hairy and scary."
It wasn't. But with Lynn Kimsey at the controls, the tarantula races around the floor, stopping at feet that pretend to stomp it.
This was a milestone birthday celebration! (We're not telling which one, but Lynn Kimsey probably will!)
The "big, hairy and scary" radio-controlled tarantula is now sharing the Bohart Museum with several live tarantulas from its petting zoo:
- Princess Herbert, the Brazilian salmon-pink bird-eating tarantula (Lasiodora parahybana). She is estimated to be around 20 years old, the oldest current resident of the Bohart Museum
- Peaches, the Chilean rose hair tarantula (Grammostola rosea)
- Coco McFluffin, the Chaco golden knee tarantula (Grammostola pulchripes), native to Paraguay and Argentina
Kimsey and other Bohart Museum officials are now gearing up for the 12th annual UC Davis Biodiversity Museum Day, a Super Science Day, set Saturday, Feb. 18 when 11 museums or collections (including the Bohart) open their doors to the public. It's free and family friendly. (See line-up)
The Bohart Museum, founded in 1946, houses a global collection of eight million insect specimens, plus a petting zoo, featuring Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks and tarantulas; and a year-around gift shop, stocked with insect-themed books, posters, jewelry, t-shirts, hoodies and more. Named for UC Davis professor and noted entomologist Richard Bohart (1913-2007), the museum is dedicated to "understanding, documenting and communicating terrestrial arthropod diversity."
Talented artists continually create stunning work at the Bohart Museum of Entomology, directed by Lynn Kimsey, UC Davis distinguished professor of entomology (who herself worked as a scientific illustrator under her maiden name, Lynn Siri).
The most current art/science work that graces the Bohart Museum hallway of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane: "Birdwing Butterfly" and "Spiral Galaxy of Butterflies."
Both are the work of two recent UC Davis alumni: Francisco Bassó Medel, who received his bachelor's degree in wildlife, fish and conservation biology, and Bohart laboratory assistant Brittany Kohler, who holds a bachelor's degree in nutrition science, with a minor in evolution, ecology and biodiversity.
"The displays were Lynn's idea, as a means to add more art to the museum and use existing specimens that had no data on them, so they could not be used for research purposes," Francisco said. "Lynn gave Brittany and I full creative liberty on how to make the pieces, that is something that I greatly appreciated."
"Spiral Galaxy of Butterflies" is comprised of commercially reared tropical butterflies from the 1960s. None were wild-caught and none contain collection data.
"For the 'Spiral Galaxy of Butterflies,' we spent about one full work day, spread through several days," Francisco related. "This piece is meant to represent a galaxy, with several planets and stars around it, and a black hole in the middle. We also hid a fly (a bee fly specimen or bombyliid) in there. Hopefully, people will have fun trying to find it and at the same time look at the details of each butterfly and moth."
Francisco worked at the Bohart Museum over the summer and "I am currently working on the new web page for the Bohart and applying to graduate schools."
Brittany said she's "always been an artist and interested in natural science. I use all mediums and enjoys mixed media to create art." Her membership in the UC Davis Entomology Club enabled her to "explore and get back into what I am truly passionate about." She plans to enroll in graduate school "and that will include entomological pursuits."
"Birdwing Butterfly" is comprised of 112 Brooke's birdwing butterflies, Trogonoptera brookiana, which originated from a commercial rearing facility in Southeast Asia in the 1960s. Birdwings, so named due to their birdlike flight, large size and angular wings. are found throughout tropical Asia.
The species are "dimorphic; the females contain white patches in their upper wing while the males are distinctly black and green," Kimsey noted. Like the Galaxy specimens, none were wild caught and none contain collection data. The lack of data makes them scientifically invaluable for research purposes.
Francisco credited Brittany with "Birdwing Butterfly." He added: "I only did an initial sketch of it and the piece was put together by Brittany."
Entomologist Jeff Smith, curator of the Lepidoptera collection at the Bohart Museum, spread all the butterflies. "All of the specimens lingered unspread in paper envelopes for about 50 years," he estimated. "The butterflies in the Spiral Galaxy came from unlabeled surplus material from Chiapas, Mexico."
The Bohart Museum, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, 455 Crocker Lane, UC Davis campus, houses a global collection of eight million insect specimens, as well as the live "petting zoo" and an insect-themed gift shop stocked with t-shirts, hoodies, books, posters, jewelry, collecting equipment and more.
Founded in 1946 and named for UC Davis professor and noted entomologist Richard Bohart, the insect museum is open to the public from 8 a.m. to noon, and 1 to 5 p.m., Mondays through Thursdays.
They came to learn about wasps--"The Weird and Wonderful Wasps"--at the recent open house hosted by the Bohart Museum of Entomology, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
They learned about such wasps as the Asian giant hornet (aka "murder hornets"), pteromalids, and fig wasps. But they also learned about other insects, including butterflies, moths, beetles, cockroaches, and Jerusalem crickets, while chatting one-on-one with scientists.
Among the scientists participating was postdoctoral researcher Severyn Korneyev, a Ukrainian entomologist who studies flies. At his station, a series of insects flashed on the screen as he shared information and fielded questions.
Korneyev, a researcher with the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Department of General and Applied Entomology, Kyiv, Ukraine, accepted a joint postdoctoral position with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) in September 2020. He joined the laboratory of Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology, and the laboratory of Stephen Gaimari, Pest Diagnostics Branch, California Department of Food and Agriculture.
A member of the Ukrainian Entomological Society and the Entomological Society of America, Korneyev specializes in the systematics and taxonomy of the true fruit flies (Diptera: Tephritidae). His expertise includes morphological and molecular diagnostics, collection management, and the field collecting of insects. Korneyev is the lead author of "Phylogeny of the Genus Tephritis Latreille, 1804 (Diptera: Tephritidae)," published in May 2020 in Arthropod Systematics and Phylogeny. Gaimari is one of the co-authors.
Korneyev holds a doctorate in entomology (2016) from the I.I. Schmalhausen Institute of Zoology, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. He received both his bachelor's degree and his master's degree in zoology, with honors, from Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv. Korneyev served as a 2017-2018 Fulbright scholar with the Research and Development Program. Michigan State University, East Lansing. He speaks his native tongue, Ukrainian, as well as English and Russian.
The Bohart Museum, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, 455 Crocker Lane, houses a global collection of eight million insect specimens. It also is home to a live “petting zoo,” comprised of Madagascar hissing cockroaches, stick insects and tarantulas; and an insect-themed gift shop, which includes t-shirts, sweatshirts, jewelry, books, posters and other items. The gift shop is open all year-around and is also online.
The insect museum is open to the public Monday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 5 p.m., except holidays. (See schedule). More information is available on the website at https://bohart.ucdavis.edu or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
The next Bohart open house, themed "Insects, Art and Culture," will take place from 1 to 4 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 15. This event is part of Spirit Week (Oct. 10-16) for Aggie students, parents and alumni, but all are welcome. (See list of other fall special events on the Bohart website or on the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology website.)
Dyer was selected the recipient of the honorable mention award, or second place, in the highly competitive service award category of the Citation for Excellence program, for his service to the Bohart Museum, Department of Entomology and Nematology, and the public. He was nominated by Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum and a UC Davis distinguished professor of entomology; Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator of the Bohart, and Kathy Keatley Garvey, communications specialist, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. (See Bug Squad blog)
Berks received a Staff Assembly scholarship to work toward her master's degree in cybersecurity at National University. A member of the Phoenix Cluster Information Technology (IT) team since December 2018, she recently accepted a promotion to join the Campus Information and Educational Technology (IET) Security Operations Center. Her last day with the Phoenix Cluster IT team was Sept. 2.
The annual Staff Assembly Award presentation took place Monday, Sept. 12 in the Alpha Gamma Rho Hall of the Walter J. Buehler Alumni Center. Awards presented included citations of excellence, a faculty and staff partnership award, and staff and staff dependent scholarships. (See list of award winners)
UC Davis Chancellor Gary May congratulated the recipients.
In his remarks, Chancellor May told the crowd: "This is truly an exciting time for UC Davis. I hope you heard that we were ranked #2 nationally among public universities in Washington Monthly's 2022 Guide and Rankings. On top of that, UC Davis retained its No. 4 public university ranking in America's Top College List 2022 by Forbes. In some places UC Davis is the top, such as No. 1 for sustainabilty. UC Davis is also ranked No. 1 in the nation for diversity, inclusiveness and internationalization. And, we recently set a university record by attracting more than $1 billion in annual research awards. Fewer than 20 universities in the country can claim this."
"I could go on," the chancellor continued, "but the fact of the matter is that we are doing great work at UC Davis, and each of you are a part of this effort. I know how important your expertise, experience and institutional memory are to advancing the university's success. It's sometimes difficult to appreciate how our individual contributions make a difference in the 'big picture.' But every day, the work of staff are critical to our university projects, our operations and our campus environment."
The chancellor pointed out: "These behind-the-scene efforts are what keep UC Davis humming and in tune with our mission of excellence in teaching, research and public service. They are a big part of what your university and Staff Assembly recognizes and thanks you for today. The individuals and teams we honor this afternoon have gone 'above and beyond' all expectations to make UC Davis a more enjoyable, creative, inclusive and invigorating place to work.
He added: "I am proud of all UC Davis staff, but the individuals and teams we honor this afternoon have gone above and beyond in contributing to the university's success. Thank you so much for your outstanding contributions to UC Davis. Our university is a better place today because of your accomplishments, because of your hard work and because of your inspiring dedication to excellence."
In all, the UC Davis Staff Assembly awarded individual honors in five categories for its Citation of Excellence program: innovation, mentorship, service, supervision, and teaching, as well as a team award and a faculty and staff partnership award. The Staff Assembly also awarded scholarships to campus and UC Davis Health staff and staff dependents.
Jennifer Jackson, chair of the UC Davis Staff Assembly, and Jana Avila, chair of the UC Davis Health Staff Assembly, welcomed the crowd. Jackson serves as the Academic Program analyst in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Dean's Office, and works with undergraduate student data for the college. Avila is the Affiliate Network manager.