- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
We haven't had a cat since our 16-year-old tuxedo, Xena the Warrior Princess crossed the Rainbow Bridge in March of 2016. She sported a butterflylike marking on her left leg.
Monarch butterflies fascinated her. They brought out "the princess" instead of "the warrior" in her.
If you don't have a cat or a feline pollinator partner, plant milkweed and you'll get another kind of 'cat, the larvae of monarch butterflies, Danaus plexippus.
Today we have several 'cats on our tropical milkweed, Asclepias curassavica, in our Vacaville garden. None this year on our narrowleafed milkweed, A. fascicularis; showy milkweed, A. speciosa; or butterfly weed, A. tuberosa.
If you want to learn more about monarchs, their life cycle, milkweed and other related topics, attend the Bohart Museum of Entomology open house on Saturday, Nov. 4 from 1 to 4 p.m. in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, 455 Crocker Lane, UC Davis. The theme is "Monarchs" and scientists will be there to answer your questions.
The event is free and family friendly and a great opportunity to learn more about D. plexippus.
The scientists will include:
- UC Davis distinguished professor emeritus Art Shapiro of the Department of Evolution and Ecology, who has studied butterfly populations in central California since 1972 and maintains a research website, Art's Butterfly World.
- UC Davis emeritus professor Hugh Dingle, a worldwide authority on animal migration, including monarchs. He is the author of Migration: The Biology of Life on the Move (Oxford University Press), a sequel to the first edition published in 1996. See news story on the UC Davis Entomology and Nematology website.
- UC Davis professor Louie Yang, who does research on monarchs. Due to parental duties, he may be able to attend only the last part of the open house. See news story about his work.
- UC Davis professor Elizabeth Crone of the Department of Evolution and Ecology, formerly of Tufts University, who researches monarchs. See news story about the declining monarch population on the UC Davis Entomology and Nematology website.
The Bohart Museum houses a global collection of eight million insect specimens, plus a living insect petting zoo (Madagascar hissing cockroaches and stick insects, among others), and a insect-themed gift shop. UC Davis distinguished professor Lynn Kimsey has directed the Bohart Museum, founded in 1946, since 1990.