It featured primarily spiders.
Next week the Bohart Museum is adding more legs. It's hosting an open house themed "Many-Legged Wonders."
The event, free and open to the public, is set from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 18 in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, 455 Crocker Lane, UC Davis campus.
You can expect to see spiders, millipedes, centipedes, scorpions, tarantulas and isopods. And more.
Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator for the Bohart announced that doctoral candidates Emma Jochim and Xavier Zahnle of the Jason Bond arachnology lab will dispel myths about spiders and millipedes at a question-and-answer session from 1 to 1:30. Doctoral student Iris Quayle will moderate.
From 1:30 to 4 p.m., will be the general open house with a showing of live animals and specimens. UC Davis student Elijah Shih will display his isopods. A family arts-and-crafts activity is also planned.
Research associate Brittany Kohler, the "zookeeper" of the Bohart petting zoo, says the current residents include:
- Princess Herbert, a Brazilian salmon-pink bird-eating tarantula (Lasiodora parahybana), age estimated to be around 20 (current oldest resident)
- Peaches, a Chilean rose hair tarantula (Grammostola rosea)
- Coco McFluffin, a Chaco golden knee tarantula (Grammostola pulchripes)
Beatrice, a Vietnamese centipede (Scolopendra subspinipes), newest resident
- Two black widows (Latrodectus hesperus)
- One brown widow (Latrodectus geometricus)
Among the other residents are Madagascar hissing cockroaches, a giant cave cockroach, stick insects, a bark scorpion and ironclad beetles.
The Bohart Museum, directed by UC Davis distinguished professor Lynn Kimsey, houses a global collection of eight million insect specimens, plus the petting zoo and a gift shop stocked with insect-themed books, posters, jewelry, t-shirts, hoodies and more. Dedicated to "understanding, documenting and communicating terrestrial arthropod diversity," the Bohart Museum was founded in 1946 and named for UC Davis professor and noted entomologist Richard Bohart. The insect museum is open to the public Mondays through Thursdays, from 8 a.m. to noon, and 1 to 5 p.m.
Don't bring a pillow, a night-cap or an attitude—it's Boys' Night Out and we're sleeping outside on the flowers.
That's what the male longhorned bees, Melissodes agilis, do while the females return to their underground nests at night.
"It's a bee B&B," quipped Lynn Kimsey, director of the UC Davis Bohart Museum of Entomology and distinguished professor, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
This native species is among California's 1600 species of undomesticated bees.
Ever seen a Boys' Night Out? It's fascinating. The boys curl into a comma, or doze with their heads down and striped abdomens up.
Over the last two weeks, we've been monitoring the number of males sleeping on a single Mexican sunflower, Tithonia rotundifola, in our Vacaville pollinator garden. On the first night, two. Then three, then four. The slumber party grew to five last night. They sleep on a 10-foot-high blossom (talk about height advantage and a bird's eye view)! Every night, they return to the very same blossom.
A few years ago we saw the males sleeping on our lavender stems and then they moved to Gaura stems, probably due to the proximity of three praying mantids.
Folks ask if they sting. No. Boy bees don't sting. They can't.
The late Robbin Thorp, distinguished emeritus professor of entomology and co-author of California Blooms and Bees: an Identification Guide for Gardeners and Naturalists, fielded scores of questions on these slumbering bees. “They (males) lack a stinger which is a modified ovipositor in their wasp ancestors. Boy sleeping aggregations are based on a suitable perch and not related to where females are nesting, but probably no more than 100 yards from the nearest female nest. Females nest in the ground and have rather distinctive round holes about the diameter of a pencil or slightly smaller, sometimes with small piles of dirt around them looking like mini-volcanos. The holes may be widely separated or clustered together depending on the species, but each female digs her own burrow."
Of course, not all slumbering bees in this area are Melissodes agilis, as Thorp pointed out. Some may be other species of the genus Melissodes and some may belong to the closely related Svastra obliqua.
The boy bees start arriving for their nightly sleepover around 5 p.m. or when the light fades. Sometimes they appear to be kicking each other before settling down for the night. Said Thorp: "Each establishes his own spot, so there may be some jostling for position initially."
When it's morning, they rise, warm their flight muscles, sip a little nectar, and begin dive-bombing the honey bees, carpenter bees, bumble bees, butterflies, syrphid flies and assorted other insects on "their" flowers. M. agilis are very territorial. They're trying to save the food source for the females of their own species—so they can mate with them, as Thorp related.
When their day ends, they cluster for another Boys' Night Out. It's "Nighty Night, Sleep Tight." Time to curl up on a cushion of petals beneath a blanket of stars.
"Bee B&B," as Professor Kimsey says.
And that one, they agreed, they should have known. Oops!
Here's what happened: The "Bug Bowl" team, aka the Linnaean Games team from the University of California, Davis, won the national championship at the 2015 Entomological Society of America's annual meeting, and was invited to appear Friday, Jan. 22, on the TV show, Good Day Sacramento.
The background: The UC Davis graduate students--captain Ralph Washington Jr., and members Brendon Boudinot, Ziad Khouri and Jessica Gillung--defeated the University of Florida 130 to 70 last November to win its first-ever national championship in the 32-year history of the ESA's Linnaean Team Games. See YouTube video at https://youtu.be/_hA05K0NET4.
Professor Larry Godfrey and Extension apiculturist Elina Niño, Extension apiculturist, served as the team's advisors. The team members are candidates for a Ph.D. in entomology. Washington studies with Steve Nadler, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and professor Brian Johnson; Boudinot with professor Phil Ward; and Khouri and Gillung with professor Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology.
So fast forward to Friday, Jan. 22. The team (minus Khouri, who was unable to attend), answered surprise questions posed by Good Day Sacramento co-anchor Marianne McClary in a fast-paced, fun-filled, witty encounter.
The first question, however, stumped them: "What year was the Bohart Museum of Entomology at UC Davis established?" They knew who founded the museum and about his work.
That was noted entomologist Richard M. Bohart (1913-2007), former professor of entomology at UC Davis. He founded the museum, now located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane, in...drum rolll...1946.
The team answered 1949. Close, but just a few years off.
"Lynn Kimsey is going to be really angry at me," Washington deadpanned.
"She's going to kill us," Gillung said. Both of them have spent many hours volunteering at the Bohart Museum's open houses, introducing visitors to the specimens and the live petting zoo.
The UC Davis team, however, went on to successfully answer the remaining four questions, questions that would have puzzled many an entomologist (see their online answers on the video):
- "The active ingredient of the most commercial termite trapping system is novalumeron. What is its mode of action?"
- "In some insects, the tarsal claws are bifid. What does that mean?"
- "Fly fishermen follow the emergence of adults of various aquatic insects. What do typical fly fishermen call these emergence events and why is this entomologically wrong?"
- "There are more than 2600 species of termites worldwide. Which continent houses the most species?"
Richard M.Bohart, also known as "Doc," completed a 32-year career at UC Davis. "He was the reason many students chose entomology as a major," wrote professor Lynn Kimsey, former student Norman Smith and professor Robert K. Washino in their memoriam on the UC Senate page. "He had a passion for entomology, which began when he was very young and continued well beyond retirement... Doc's passion was collecting, identifying, and classifying Strepsiptera mosquitoes and wasps. During his career, he identified more than one million specimens, many of which are housed in the R. M. Bohart Museum of Entomology, a teaching, research, and public service facility that he founded on campus in 1946."
"His teaching and collecting activities resulted in the development of one of the finest collections of stinging wasps in the world in the Bohart Museum of Entomology," wrote Kimsey, Smith and Washino. "A great deal of this material was obtained through his collecting and that of his students. During his tenure, the museum collection grew from 500 specimens to 7 million, a span of some 60 years. Chancellor James Meyer dedicated the entomology museum in his name in 1983. The R. M. Bohart Museum moved into a new building in 1994 and was dedicated by Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef."
As an aside, Doc Bohart was not only a talented entomologist but an athlete. He played football at UC Berkeley and "even in his 60s he could still throw a football across a football field," Kimsey said. She was his last graduate student before he retired.
Access ESA's YouTube video featuring the championship game between UC Davis and the University of Florida.
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.
So when the Bohart Museum of Entomology open house, themed "Keep Calm and Insect On," took place last Saturday, an Australian walking stick, Extatosoma tiaratum, got into the act. It promptly walked from the hand of entomology graduate student Charlotte Herbert to her head and pretended to be a barrette. A Phasmid barrette.
This one was a sultry brown female adult stick insect with a decidedly spiked "hairdo." Spiked? The females are covered with thornlike spikes, used for defense as well as camouflage.
According to Wikipedia, "Both sexes, when threatened, stand on the front and middle legs, pointing their abdomen up or to the side in a sort of 'scorpion' pose. They fold back their legs to defend themselves if anything comes in contact with their abdomen. Adults can release a defensive odor that humans might not find offensive as it "is rather reminiscent of peanut butter, vinegar or toffee."
Many of the visitors at Saturday's open house at first overlooked the stick insect barrette. After all, it was camouflaged. But they quickly grasped Charlotte Herbert's enthusiasm for insects as she shared information and encouraged them to ask questions and hold the insects. In between, she led a workshop on how to make buzz kazoos.
"I have known since I was five years old that I wanted to be an entomologist," Herbert said. "Growing up on a farm in New Hampshire allowed me to fall in love with the natural world and the critters that exist in it. To this day, I love nature and especially insects. There is something extraordinarily beautiful about their small size and complexity."
"Four years ago I started to follow my passion of entomology beyond the hobbyists perspective and into research during my undergraduate at St. Lawrence University, Canton, N.Y. Even though my undergraduate school did not offer a degree in entomology, my advisor Dr. Karl McKnight took me under his wing and allowed me to conduct independent entomological research. It was there that I fell in love with the fly (Diptera) family Asilidae, also known as assassin flies or robber flies. There are over 7,500 species of assassin flies found worldwide. They are incredibly diverse, venomous, and aggressive aerial predators"
For the past two years Herbert worked with assassin flies at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. This fall she became a Ph.D student in Lynn Kimsey's lab and a volunteer at the Bohart Museum of Entomology. Kimsey directs the Bohart Museum and is a professor of entomology in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
"I am so happy to be at UC Davis!" Herbert said. "I am following my lifelong passion of entomology, surrounded with other like-minded individuals, and get the pleasure of working at the Bohart, where I can teach people to set aside their fears of insects and instead glimpse into their incredibly complex and beautiful world."
There definitely was no fear when visitors got acquainted with the walking stick in her hair and the one in her hand.
The Bohart Museum, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane, is home to nearly eight million specimens, as well a "live" petting zoo, with critters like Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks and a rose-haired tarantula named "Peaches." It also operates a gift shop filled with T-shirts, insect collecting equipment, posters, books, insect-themed candy and jewelry.
Throughout the academic year, the Bohart hosts an open house on specified weekends. The remaining open houses:
- Sunday, Jan. 10 from 1 to 4 p.m.: Parasitoid Palooza II
- Saturday, Feb. 13: 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”