- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Erdosh, 21, an undergraduate entomology major and president of the UC Davis Entomology Club, is passionate about bugs. Well, make that passionate about arthropods. Well, make that passionate about "all arthropods on the planet."
Part One of the two-segment interview is at https://cbsloc.al/3G81QaT.
Billed as "bringing bugs to the masses," the program explored critters such as a Madagascar hissing cockroach, an Atlas moth caterpillar, an Australian stick insect, and a rain forest mantis.
More than 22,000 fans follow her Instagram account, @gwentomologist, where she uploads educational and entertaining posts, illustrated with her incredible macro images.
"The main point of my page is to raise awareness for conservation of insects," Erdosh told Williams. Second point: to help folks overcome their fear of bugs by seeing their beauty and peculiarities.
Erdosh showed insects from the Bohart Museum of Entomology, as well as insects being reared by her friends.
Holding an Atlas caterpillar, Erdosh told the Good Day Sacramento reporter: "This is going to become the largest moth in the world."
Erdosh then showed Williams the massive frass (feces), the size of a raisin.
In a classic quote of the day,Williams deadpanned: "It has no problem with bowel movements."
That prompted one of the Good Day Sacramento anchors to quip: "When I woke up this morning I would have bet big money I was not going to see caterpillar poop here today but here we are."
Erdosh is an invited member of the UC Davis Research Scholars Program in Insect Biology (RSPIB), and a researcher in the laboratory of community ecologist Louie Yang, a professor in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. She recently received a UC Davis Provost's Undergraduate Research Fellowship to study whether ambient smoke from California's wildfires hinders an insect's ability to locate food.
Gwen knew at age 12 that she wanted to become an entomologist. Her career plan: to receive a doctorate in entomology and join academia as a professor and researcher. She's off to a great start! At age 16, she interned in the lab of Jason Dombroskie at Cornell University.
And quite appropriately, Gwen Erdosh sports a collection of insect-themed T-shirts. The one she wore on the Good Day Sacramento program: a T-shirt lettered with "Wait, I See a Bug!"
(See "The Amazing World of 'Gwentomologist' Gwen Erdosh" on the Dec. 23, 2021 Bug Squad blog.)