- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
You'll win the distinction of being selected the winner, and you'll be acknowledged in a scientific paper.
What could be better?
One of the activities at the Bohart Museum of Entomology open house, "Eight-Legged Encounters," set from 1 to 4 p.m., Saturday, June 25, will be a "Name-That-Spider-Species" contest, open to students 18 and under. The focus: a male trapdoor spider, a new species from the genus Promyrmekiaphila.
The event will be co-hosted by the Bohart Museum and the American Arachnological Society (AAS).
The open house will kick off the annual meeting of AAS, which meets June 26-30 on the UC Davis campus, said arachnologist Jason Bond, associate dean, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, and the Evert and Marion Schlinger Endowed Chair in Insect Systematics, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. Professor Bond is chairing the AAS conference with Lisa Chamberland, postdoctoral research associate of the Bond lab, and Joel Ledford, assistant professor of teaching, Department of Plant Biology, College of Biological Sciences.
"The species was originally found in the early 2000s, but the first male was collected last October," said Jochim, a second-year doctoral student interested in the evolution and systematics of trapdoor spiders, particularly species that live in California's coastal dunes.
"The genus Promyrmekiaphilais a group of trapdoor spiders that construct silk-lined burrows with wafer-like trapdoor lids, usually decorated with plant material or substrate," Jochim explained. "It's found generally in the Southern Bay Area. As of now there are only two species in the genus, so this new species will be the third!"
AAS member Eileen Hebets, professor at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, is co-hosting the open house as part of a U.S. National Science Foundation grant, “Eight-Legged Encounters” that she developed as an outreach project to connect arachnologists with communities, especially youth.
Bohart Museum and AAS officials are encouraging the public to attend the open house to learn more about spiders and other arachnids. The Bohart Museum, directed by UC Davis distinguished professor Lynn Kimsey, houses a worldwide collection of eight million insect specimens; a live "petting zoo" (Madagascar hissing cockroaches, stick insects and tarantulas) and an insect-themed gift shop.
In addition to the open house, AAS has scheduled a series of arachnid lectures, free and open to the public, from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, June 28, in the newly constructed 600-seat lecture hall, California Hall.
By the way, did you know that Professor Bond has named several trapdoor spiders for prominent people?
- President Barack Obama, Aptostichus barackobamai
- Actress Angelina Jolie, Aptostichus angelinajolieae
- Television host Stephen Colbert, Aptostichus stephencolberti