- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Better yet, let's make Sunday, Nov. 6 "The DragonFLY Day."
That's when the Bohart Museum of Entomology is hosting an open house--themed "Dragonflies Rule!"--from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 6 in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, 455 Crocker Lane, UC Davis.
It's free and family friendly. Among the dragonfly experts lending their expertise will be Rosser Garrison, formerly of the California Department of Food and Agriculture; Christopher Beatty, a visiting scholar in the Program for Conservation Genomics at Stanford University; Bohart associate Greg Kareofelas; UC Davis doctoral student Christofer Brothers; and UC Davis alumnus Andy Rehn, ecologist at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, among others.
The males are a firecracker red and delightful to observe. Sometimes they "permit" you to approach so close that you can see what's on the menu: a honey bee, sweat bee, syrphid fly or other prey.
Cristofer Brothers, a fourth-year animal behavior doctoral student at UC Davis, took this image (above) of a stunningly beautiful flameskimmer. "I'm most interested in how dragonflies use their legs while they capture prey in both of their nymph and adult stages," he said. "My PhD is focusing on the behavior of Libellula saturata, the flame skimmer, and on various other species for phylogenetic comparisons of their behavior and morphology."
"I've been fascinated by dragonflies since I was a kid, and would always try to save adults that fell into the pool," he said. "As a teenager, I was a lifeguard and always loved it when dragonflies would perch on my rescue tube, and always wanted to learn more about them. Now, I have the privilege to spend all day reading about, thinking about, and looking at them, so I'm really living the dream!"
Brothers delivered a guest presentation on dragonfly predation behavior at the 2022 UC Davis Bio Boot Camp. His talk took place along the banks of Putah Creek where the group met to learn about and search for dragonflies.
Also during the Bohart Museum open house, a family arts-and-crafts activity is planned: visitors can color pages from Kathy Claypole Biggs' dragonfly coloring book. Guests can view the Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) collection, curated by entomologist Jeff Smith; and "pet" and take selfies of some of the live animals in the petting zoo, which includes Madagascar hissing cockroaches, stick insects and tarantulas.
The Bohart Museum, founded in 1946, is directed by Lynn Kimsey, UC Davis distinguished professor of entomology. It is the global home of eight million insect specimens, as well as the live "petting zoo" and an insect-themed gift shop stocked with t-shirts, hoodies, books, posters, jewelry, collecting equipment and more.
Named for UC Davis professor and noted entomologist Richard Bohart, the Bohart Museum is open to the public from 8 a.m. to noon, and 1 to 5 p.m., Mondays through Thursdays. More information is available on the website at https://bohart.ucdavis.edu or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.