Professor Bond is serving a 2023-2025 term with president Linda Rayor of Cornell University's Department of Entomology, and then will assume the presidency. Bond specializes in the evolutionary diversification of terrestrial arthropods, specifically spiders, millipedes, and tenebrionid beetles. Rayor, a behavioral ecologist, focuses her research on the evolution of sociality in spiders.
AAS has played a huge role in Bond's career, with lifelong friends, colleagues, and collaborators who extend back nearly 30 years. "I consider it an honor to serve as AAS president."
AAS, founded in 1972, aims “to further the study of arachnids, foster closer cooperation and understanding between amateur and professional arachnologists, and to publish the Journal of Arachnology, according to its website. The journal is published three times a year.
A member of AAS since 1993, Bond co-hosted the 2022 AAS meeting at UC Davis, which included an outreach event, “Eight-Legged Encounters,” at the Bohart Museum of Entomology.
Bond joined the UC Davis faculty in 2018 after a seven-year academic career at Auburn University, Ala. He served as professor of biology, director of the Auburn University Museum of Natural History (2011-2105); chair of the Department of Biological Sciences from January 2016 to July 2018; and as curator of arachnids and myriapods (centipedes, millipedes, and related animals) from August 2011 to July 2018.
Bond also is the co-editor-in-chief of the journal Insect Systematics and Diversity, published by the Entomological Society of America. He and co-editor Hojun Song of Texas A&M began serving their four-year terms in 2022.
A veteran of the U.S. Army, Bond served as a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter crew chief upon graduation from high school.
Jason received his bachelor's degree in biological sciences, cum laude, in 1993 from Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, and his master's degree in biology in 1995 from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg. He earned his doctorate in evolutionary systematics and genetics in 1999 from Virginia Tech.
Research in his lab currently focuses on the California trapdoor spider fauna, specifically species delimitation, phylogeography, systematics and taxonomy; Bond has described many new spider taxa to include new families, genera, and more than 50 species.
- Author: Ben Faber
Cruising the avocado orchard, checking out the irrigation system
Then Bang!!!!!!! What hit me?????
A little closer look, after clearing some sticky stuff off my head and hair and face and shirt and still not getting it completely off.
And there's the remainder of a spider web with a spider in the center of it (that brown blob near the top right)
And high in the sky there's another spider above my head (that little little dot)
I must have initially hit “signal threads” which alert the spider that I was coming, because just as I took these photos, it had scampered off into hiding in a leaf. I tried to get more close-ups but the spider just did not want to get close. It looked like the an unidentified species of Araneidae family of orb weaver spiders that is common in the Ventura/Santa Barbara area.
They have been common all spring and summer this year. The Year of the Orb Spider, maybe. It's been an unusual year with all the rain and mild weather. They feed on all manner of insects that fly into their webbing – thrips, whiteflies, moths, even hummingbirds have been known to be caught up in orb weaver webbing.
They are usually most active at night and morning, repairing the webbing from the night's catches and other orchard intruders. Their webbing can stretch for several feet between branches, with the web catching portion (where the circular part is most intensive) from 6 – 18 inches.
This year has also seen a flurry of infestation by the Caloptilia avocado leaf roller/miner. Maybe that's why there's been so much more spiders, since there's more food.
Whatever the cause of the increased orb spiders is, it's best to thread your way through the orchard with an outstretched branch, used like the wand of a conductor, acting like you know what you are doing.
A study about orb spiders from 1980 in San Diego is available online:
California Avocado Society 1980 Yearbook 64: 153-186 A Study of Neoscona oaxacensis (Araneae: araneidae) in Commercial Avocado Orchards in San Diego County, California Frank Henry Pascoe Candidate for degree of Master of Science in Biology, San Diego State University, San Diego, California.
Spring is finally here, but unfortunately so are the pests!
While doing your spring cleaning or staying indoors due to our recent rain, you may have noticed some insects and spiders have moved in with you. Many pests are emerging from their winter rest, and taking cover from the cool, wet weather.
If you've found tiny brown, white, and black patterned beetles on windowsills, curtains, or walls near entryways, they may be carpet beetles. Adult beetles are about 1/10 inch and feed on pollen and nectar from flowers like crape myrtle and spirea. They can be brought indoors on cut flowers or they may fly in from nearby plants outside. A few adult beetles inside your home are typically not a problem. However, be on the lookout for their larvae or signs of their damage. Carpet beetle larvae feed on natural fibers such as wool, silk, leather, fur, and pet hair. They can damage rugs and carpets, yarn, clothing, and leather book bindings. Larvae will not feed on synthetic fibers like polyester. You can reduce sources of food for larvae by cleaning up lint, hair, dead insects, or debris. Adults can be relocated to the outdoors, but larvae are more difficult to control. See Pest Notes: Carpet Beetles for management strategies.
Spiders often end up inside while looking for food and if the right conditions are present–dark, dusty, hidden areas–they may stay a while. Some people may not mind the occasional spider, as they feed on other pests like flies, moths, and beetles. It is uncommon for most California spiders to bite you, contrary to what many people think. This includes the brown recluse spider, which does not exist in California. To identify the various spiders you might come across, see the Pest Notes: Spiders.
There are many other household pests you might encounter now and throughout the year. Fortunately, UC IPM has tons of great information on what they are and how to control them! See Pests of homes, structures, people, and pets for more information, or watch UC IPM's webinar recording on Springtime Household Pests.
That includes spiders. You've seen those adorable jumping spiders with green "fangs" (chelicerae), right? But have you even seen the green lynx spiders?
A few years ago we spotted a green lynx spider, Peucetia viridans, on a pink rockrose blossom. Arachnologists tell us it's usually found on green plants--green on green--which is exactly why we can't find it!
Meanwhile, want to see and learn about spiders?
Then you'll want to attend the Bohart Museum of Entomology open house, themed "Many Legged Wonders," from 1 to 4 p.m., Saturday, March 18 in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, 455 Crocker Lane. Yes, it's free. So is parking. And yes, it's family friendly. The family arts-and-crafts activity, coordinated by UC Davis doctoral candidate Emma Jochim, of the Jason Bond arachnology lab will be working with model clay to mold arachnids and myriapods.
Jochim and fellow doctoral candidate Xavier Zahnle of the Bond lab will answer your questions about spiders from 1 to 1:30. First-year graduate student Iris Quayle of the Bond lab will moderate the session. Lab members also will show some "rarer live arachnids such as 'vinegaroons' and 'whip spiders' in addition to tarantulas and scorpions," Jochim said. "We will also have millipedes that people can handle and many species of isopods."
A showing of live animals and specimens is scheduled from 1:30 to 4 p.m. Elijah Shih, a third-year UC Davis transfer student who plans to pursue a career in veterinary medicine, will show his isopods. Bohart Museum research associate Brittany Kohler, the "zookeeper" of the Bohart petting zoo, will show the current tenants, which include tarantulas, black widows, a brown widow, a centipede, Madagascar hissing cockroaches, stick insects and ironclad beetles.
Of course, the tarantulas sport such endearing names as "Princess Herbert," "Peaches" and "Coco McFluffin." Much better than "Killer," "Fang" or "Monster Man."
The Bohart Museum, part of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, is directed by UC Davis distinguished professor Lynn Kimsey. It houses a global collection of eight million insect specimens, plus the live petting zoo, and a gift shop stocked with insect-themed books, posters, jewelry, t-shirts, hoodies and more. The Bohart Museum was founded in 1946 and named for UC Davis professor and noted entomologist Richard Bohart.
The Bohart Museum, dedicated to "understanding, documenting and communicating terrestrial arthropod diversity," 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you said "14," go to the head of the class.
Is it an insect? No, it's a crustacean.
When the Bohart Museum of Entomology hosts an open house on "Many-Legged Wonders" from 1 to 4 p.m., Saturday, March 18, among the critters showcased will be spiders, millipedes, centipedes, scorpions, tarantulas, and yes, isopods.
The event, free and family friendly, takes place in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, 455 Crocker Lane, UC Davis campus.
Elijah Shih, a third-year UC Davis transfer student studying neurobiology, physiology and behavior, will show his isopods. “Isopods come in many morphs and sizes," he says. "There are many colorful and beautifully patterned isopods, some natural, some man made. Isopods are crustaceans and require moisture to breathe and molt properly. Some species have the ability to conglobate or roll up in to the ball where as others do not. They are great for helping create a bioactive system for reptiles, planted tanks, and a great feeder for young reptiles and amphibians.”
“There are many isopod species in the world," Shih related, “and at least five common isopod species that are found in California: Porcellio laevis, Porcellio scaber, Armadillidium vulgare, Porcellio dilatatus, and Cubaris marina. Their morphs are considered wild type.”
Shih, who hopes to pursue a career in veterinary medicine, said he houses “many reptiles, both aquatic and terrestrial, such as the box turtle and gargoyle gecko. I wanted to create bioactive environments for my reptiles—(mainly to not have to pick up the feces)-- so I looked for ways to make that possible. I need something that was small, agile, prolific, and safe to be eaten. Isopods, better known as Rollie pillows or pill bugs, are the best solution for me. I had my isopods, but to complete the cleanup crew, I added springtails to help clean up any leftover food, but more importantly, the mold.”
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. Bohart Museum 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. A family arts-and-crafts activity is also planned.
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.