- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Those who know that spiders have eight legs know exactly what's being showcased at the UC Davis Bohart Museum of Entomology open house, "Eight-Legged Encounters," on Saturday, June 25.
Spiders and other arachnids.
And you're invited.
"Eight-Legged Encounters" is a free, family friendly event where you can talk to world-renowned arachnologists who are attending the American Arachnological Society (AAS) conference at UC Davis. The open house kicks off their June 26-30 meeting.
Some 20 tables with exhibits and hands-on activities will line the hallway of Academic Surge on Crocker Lane, UC Davis campus. “There will be everything--spider specimens, live arachnids, activities, artwork, etc., at the open house," says AAS conference co-chair and 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. (Listen to Jason Bond's interview on Capital Public Radio.)
Professor Eileen Hebets of the School of Biological Sciences, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, will set up the displays as part of her U.S. National Science Foundation grant, “Eight-Legged Encounters” that she developed as an outreach project to connect arachnologists with communities, especially youth.
Also at the open house, students 18 and under are invited to suggest a name for a new species of trapdoor spider in a contest coordinated by the Bond lab.
If you want encounters with butterfly, bee or beetle specimens before your eight-legged encounters, step into the Bohart Museum, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building. It houses eight million insect specimens; a live "petting zoo" (Madagascar hissing cockroaches, stick insects and tarantulas); and an insect-themed gift shop. Scientists will be on hand to guide you and answer your questions.
Folks are also looking forward to the AAS 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.
But first, there's the Eight-Legged Encounters. Not Close Encounters of the Third Kind, but Close Encounters with the Eight-Legged Kind.