It's time to revisit the "Thirteen Bugs of Christmas!"
Back in 2010, Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen (now emeritus) and yours truly of the UC Davis Department of Entomology (now the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology) decided that "The 12 Days of Christmas" ought to be replaced with insects.
Why not? "Entomology" means "insect science," and it's the holiday season so why not change "five gold rings" to "five golden bees?" And add some other insects and pests, as well.
Note that the original "Twelve Days of Christmas," published in 1780, features no insects. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Just a partridge in a pear tree, 2 turtle doves, 3 French hens, 4 calling birds, 5 gold rings, 6 geese-a-laying, 7 swans-a-swimming, 8 maids a'milking, 9 ladies dancing, 10 lords-a-leaping, and 11 pipers piping.
Didn't seem fair.
So "five gold rings" became "five golden bees." Mussen sang the innovative song at the department's holiday party. The lyrics went viral when U.S. News picked it up:
On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, a psyllid in a pear tree.
On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, 2 tortoises beetles and a psyllid in a pear tree
On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, 3 French flies, 2 tortoise beetles and a psyllid in a pear tree
On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, 4 calling cicadas, 3 French flies, 2 tortoise beetles and a psyllid in a pear tree
On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me 5 golden bees, 4 calling cicadas, 3 French flies, 2 tortoise beetles and a psyllid in a pear tree
On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me 6 lice a'laying, 5 golden bees, 4 calling cicadas, 3 French flies, 2 tortoise beetles and a psyllid in a pear tree
On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me 7 boatmen swimming, 6 lice a'laying, 5 golden bees, 4 calling cicadas, 3 French flies, 2 tortoise beetles and a psyllid in a pear tree
On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me 8 ants a'milking aphids, 7 boatmen swimming, 6 lice a'laying, 5 golden bees, 4 calling cicadas, 3 French flies, 2 tortoise beetles and a psyllid in a pear tree
On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me 9 mayflies dancing, 8 ants a'milking aphids, 7 boatmen swimming, 6 lice a'laying, 5 golden bees, 4 calling cicadas, 3 French flies, 2 tortoise beetles and a psyllid in a pear tree
On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me 10 locusts leaping, 9 mayflies dancing, 8 ants a'milking aphids, 7 boatmen swimming, 6 lice a'laying, 5 golden bees, 4 calling cicadas, 3 French flies, 2 tortoise beetles and a psyllid in a pear tree
On the 11th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me 11 queen bees piping, 10 locusts leaping, 9 mayflies dancing, 8 ants a'milking aphids, 7 boatmen swimming, 6 lice a'laying, 5 golden bees, 4 calling cicadas, 3 French flies, 2 tortoise beetles and a psyllid in a pear tree
On the 12th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me 12 deathwatch beetles drumming, 11 queen bees piping, 10 locusts leaping, 9 mayflies dancing, 8 ants a'milking aphids, 7 boatmen swimming, 6 lice a'laying, 5 golden bees, 4 calling cicadas, 3 French flies, 2 tortoise beetles and a psyllid in a pear tree
"On the 13th day of Christmas, Californians woke to see: 13 Kaphra beetles, 12 Diaprepes weevils, 11 citrus psyllids,
10 Tropilaelaps clareae, 9 melon fruit flies, 8 Aedes aegypti, 7 ash tree borers, 6 six spotted-wing Drosophila, 5 five gypsy moths, 4 Japanese beetles, 3 imported fire ants, 2 brown apple moths, and a medfly in a pear tree."
Ten years later, the song is still making the rounds, but with some different pests--pests that challenge the entomologists in the California Department of Food and Agriculture:
On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, a psyllid in a pear tree.
One the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, two peach fruit flies
On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, three false codling moths
On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, four peach fruit flies
On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, five gypsy moths
On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, six white striped fruit flies
On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, seven imported fire ants
On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, eight longhorn beetles
On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, nine melon fruit flies
On the 10th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, ten brown apple moths
On the 11th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, eleven citrus psyllids
On the 12th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, twelve guava fruit flies.
On the 13th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, thirteen Japanese beetles
Distinguished professor James R. Carey of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, and a senior scholar at the Center on the Economics and Demography of Aging, UC Berkeley, is the lead author of a pathbreaking book on biodemography, an interdisciplinary field uniting the natural science of biology with the social science of human demography.
The book, Biodemography: An Introduction to Concepts and Methods, is the work of Carey and Deborah Roach, a University of Virginia biology professor and a past president of the Evolutionary Demographic Society. The landmark book will be published Jan. 7 by Princeton University Press.
Carey, one of the founding fathers of the interdisciplinary field and considered the global authority on arthropod demography, describes the field of biodemography as linking a number of professions. “It is an essential resource for demographers, epidemiologists, gerontologists, and health professionals as well as ecologists, population biologists, entomologists, and conservation biologists.
“The book consolidates the literature from three parent paradigms--biology, mathematics, and demography,” said Carey, whose career spans four decades at UC Davis. Critics praise the book as “sweeping and ambitious in scope as it is bold and imaginative in design.”
"Impressive" wrote J. W. Vaupel, founding director of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Germany, in the forward. “The authors aim to enlighten and inspire and they succeed,” Vaupel wrote. He cited the important and innovative ideas, mode of explanation, and the graphic illustrations, all of which make the book “sparkle.”
Topics range from kinship theory and family demography to reliability engineering and tort law, and also demographic disasters such as the Titanic and the destruction of Napoleon's Grande Armée. It also includes an analysis about the Donner Party.
“The Donner Party disaster is one of the best-known stories in American lore,” the authors wrote. “A total of 87 men, women, and children set out for California in wagon trains from Illinois in the summer of 1846, but because of unfortunate mishaps, poor decisions, and bad luck, they became trapped by early heavy snowfall in the eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains in November. Four months later only 48 of the original 87 members of the party arrived in California alive."
The authors point out the differences in survival, “such that the young and old died at higher rates than the middle-aged. Indeed with one exception, no individuals of ether sex beyond 49 years survived. Males not only died at roughly twice the overall rate as females, but many males also died earlier in the disaster period. Third, kinship size and association were important to survival; individuals not associated with a kinship group died at much higher rates than those who were associated with a group.”
"Pure science is like a beautiful cloud of gold and scarlet that diffuses wondrous hues and beams of light in the west. It is not an illusion, but the splendor and beauty of truth. However, now the cloud rises, the winds blow it over the fields, and it takes on darker, more somber colors. It is performing a task and changing its party clothes—think of it as putting on its work shirt. It generates rain that irrigates the fields, soaking the land and preparing it for future harvests. In the end it provides humanity with its daily bread. What began as beauty for the soul and intellect ends by providing nourishment for the humble life of the body."--José Echegaray, Literature Nobel Laureate (1904), cited in “Advice for a Young Investigator” by Santiago Ramón y Cajal (1916, p. 26), Physiology and Medicine Nobel Laureate (1906).
Carey, who holds a doctorate in entomology from UC Berkeley and studied population biology for a year at Harvard while working on his doctorate, joined the UC Davis Department of Entomology in 1980. He served as the principal investigator of a 10-year, $10 million federal grant on “Aging in the Wild,” encompassing 14 scientists at 11 universities.
Highly honored for his research, teaching and public service, Carey is a fellow of four organizations; American Association for the Advancement of Science, Entomological Society of America, California Academy of Science and the Gerontological Society of America.
(Editor's Note: To purchase the book, access the Princeton University Press website.)
John Henry Comstock would be proud.
At each annual meeting, the Entomological Society of America (ESA) presents the prestigious John Henry Comstock Graduate Student Award to six outstanding graduate students, one from each branch of the ESA.
Eminent entomologist Comstock (1849-1931) is widely acclaimed for his research on scale insects and butterflies and moths, providing the basis for systematic classifications. For most of his career, he was a member of the faculty of Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. He also saw service as a chief entomologist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
So it was great to see "entomologist extraordinaire," doctoral candidate and ant specialist Brendon Boudinot of the Phil Ward lab, University of California, Davis, receive the Pacific Branch's Comstock Award at ESA's recent meeting in St. Louis, Mo. The Pacific Branch encompasses 11 Western states, U.S. territories, and parts of Canada and Mexico.
ESA president Robert Peterson, a professor at Montana State University, presented the award to Boudinot.
Boudinot excels in academics, leadership, public service activities, professional activities, and publications. “A highly respected scientist, teacher and leader with a keen intellect, unbridled enthusiasm, and an incredible penchant for public service, Brendon maintains a 4.00 grade point average; has published 12 outstanding publications on insect systematics (some are landmarks or ground-breaking publications); and engages in exceptional academic, student and professional activities,” wrote nominator Steve Nadler, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
Despite being at an early stage of his academic career, Boudinot has already published several landmark papers on insect systematics, wrote major professor Phil Ward. "This includes a remarkable article, just published in Arthropod Structure & Development, in which Brendon presents a comprehensive theory of genital homologies across all Hexapoda (Boudinot 2018). Based on careful comparative morphological study and conducted within a phylogenetic framework, this paper is a major contribution to the field and is destined to become a “classic." This could have been a decade-long study by any investigator, and yet it is just one chapter of Brendon's thesis!"
Active in ESA, Boudinot received multiple “President's Prize” awards for his research presentations at the national meetings. He organized the ESA symposium, “Evolutionary and Phylogenetic Morphology,” at the 2018 meeting in Vancouver, B.C. , and delivered a presentation on “Male Ants: Past, Present and Prospects” at the 2016 International Congress of Entomology meeting in Orlando, Fla.
Boudinot served on—and anchored—three of the UC Davis Linnaean Games teams that won national or international ESA championships. The Linnaean Games are a lively question-and-answer, college bowl-style competition on entomological facts played between university-sponsored student teams. He also participated on the UC Linnaean Games Team this year in St. Louis.
An exemplary leader, Boudinot has served as president of the UC Davis Entomology Graduate Student Association since 2006, and is active in the UC Davis Picnic Day, which draws thousands of visitors to campus. He co-chaired the department's Picnic Day Committee for three years and also staffed the "Bug Doctor" booth, answering questions about arthropods.
More recently, Boudnot edited a special collection of articles (published Nov. 12) on “Current Techniques in Morphology” for the Entomological Society of America journal, Insect Systematics and Diversity (ISD). The work is publicized on EurekAlert! and the entire project can be accessed free online. Boudinot co-led the development of the collection with István Mikó, collections manager at the University of New Hampshire Department of Biological Sciences. For the year-long project. Boudinot and Mikó gathered articles illustrating cutting-edge research techniques in insect morphology and phylogenetics, including videos, interactive 3D images, and augmented reality. (See news story)
Five other UC Davis entomologists have received the Pacific Branch Comstock Award:
- 2015: Mohammad-Amir Aghaee (major professor, the late Larry Godfrey). He is now a research entomologist with Bayer Crop Science, Union City, Tenn.
- 2014: Kelly Hamby (major professor, Frank Zalom). She is now on the faculty at the University of Maryland, College Park.
- 2013: Matan Shelomi (major professor, Lynn Kimsey). He is now on the faculty of the National Taiwan University, Tapei.
- 2008: Christopher Barker (major professor, William Reisen). He is now on the faculty of the Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine
- 1983: Elaine Backus (major professor, the late Donald McLean). She is research entomologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service in Parlier
Congrats, Brendon! Well done and well deserved!
Elvira Galvan Hack, staff advisor for students in the Animal Biology (ABI) major, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, and ABI master advisor Robert Kimsey, forensic entomologist and lecturer in the department, are drawing acolades for winning major advising awards from Region 9 of NACADA, the Global Community for Academic Advising.
Hack won the category, Excellence in Advising Award, Advisor Primary Role. Kimsey won a certificate of merit, Excellence in Advising, Faculty Advisor category. The region covers California, Hawaii, Nevada, American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.
Honora Knopp, academic advisor for undergraduate academic programs in the dean's office, UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, won the Excellence in Advising Award, Advising Equity Champion.
They will be honored at the Region 9 conference, set April 23-25 in Palm Springs.
Elvira Galvan Hack
Hack, a 17-year academic advisor, was hired in October 2007 as the new undergraduate staff advisor for the animal biology major, then located in the Department of Nematology.
“Elvira is likely the best academic advisor ever,” Kimsey wrote in the application. “Not only is she completely conversant with all the rules and regulations of the major, but understands the latitude of flexibility built into their application in a very human way. She is connected with all the administrative functionaries necessary to efficiently accomplish any task in a timely manner. For the confused or troubled student, she is the first and last resort for the solution of problems not only of an academic or administrative kind but those of a deeply personal nature as well. She keeps them on track, outlining their options, helping them decide on their future professions, and the direction their life should take. She has been invaluable to me as the master advisor. She really does care about a student's fate. Moreover we have had great fun doing these tasks together.”
Hack describes her philosophy of advising:"My overall philosophy is that students should feel welcome, respected and treasured. I ensure that my advising office is a warm, friendly, and an inviting place, an all-inclusive place where students can feel both comfortable and safe. They can trust me: they can trust me to listen, they can trust me to be heard, and they can trust me that they will be understood, supported and valued. I maintain an open door policy. I am here to provide them with advice, assistance and tools at a time when they need it the most. If they are experiencing a problem, I make time for them immediately, no matter the hour. I assure them that it is better for them to seek assistance now, than for them to head home and worry about it for hours or days. I emphasize how important self-care is because, frankly, they can be so hard on themselves. In the classroom, they may struggle with the instructor, content, assignments, grades and peers, but in my office, it's a positive experience. I assure them that they belong here, that they are appreciated, and that they are celebrated like family. My students know that I care. For example, I know that many students develop food insecurities due to monetary or time restraints. Thus, I stock a table with healthy snacks and encourage them to “drop in and grab a quick snack” in between classes or when they are working on research projects in their lab."
Students highly praise her work, dedication and kindness. “During my first quarter as a transfer student, I went through some extreme life changes and emotional rollercoasters,” one student said. “I would end up in her office crying my eyes out and in distraught, but she always calmed me down and helped me reach out for other help to get me through my rough patch.”
Another student described Elvira “as by far the most helpful, kind and encouraging adviser I have met at UC Davis. Being a first-generation college student, I require extra help in understanding and executing graduation requirements and other criteria for my future career goals.”
Kimsey, master advisor for the ABI major since 2010 and an ABI lecturer since 2001, “excels at teaching, advising and mentoring,” wrote nominator Steve Nadler, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. “He sincerely cares about each student, and incredibly, remembers their conversations and their interests.”Kimsey wrote in part about his philosophy of advising: "In a broad sense, advising at the undergraduate level requires a good and objective listener, broad experience in life, a source of diverse perspectives to tackle any potential problem, an ability to put oneself in the other person's place, and really caring about and enjoying other people."
Kimsey's teaching philosophy: "I think that humans learn best together, where one person demonstrates the process or disseminates the knowledge to solve a problem to another person, and then together they solve the problem. The problem may be proximal and practical or abstract and conceptual. Following instruction, the teacher may participate with groups of students to solve problems, and there exist many other variations on teaching that adhere to this simple theme. But the principal components remain the same: demonstration or dissemination of knowledge followed by cooperative application. This is likely the most ancient of teaching concepts, and to the extent recent innovations in teaching method return to this simple process and replace simple lecturing, it continues to be the most effective."
Kimsey is known for expertly guiding students toward career paths, helping them meet challenges and overcome obstacles.
“I view Dr. Kimsey as the epitome of what a university professor and student advisor should be,” wrote doctoral student Alex Dedmon, who has worked with him for 10 years, first as an undergraduate student in 2009 and now as a doctoral candidate. “Over that time, he has filled many roles in my life and career--a mentor, teacher, advisor, major professor, and friend.”
Kimsey continues to draw accolades from Rate My Professors, an online student forum:
- “Dr. Kimsey is by far one of the best professors at UC Davis. His class never fails to entertain! You do need to put in the work to do well but it is very worth it! Dr. Kimsey truly cares about his students and wants to see them succeed and find a path that best suits them. Strongly recommend!”
- "This was the best class I've taken at UC Davis. You can tell that Dr. Kimsey really cares, and puts a lot of effort into his class.”
Both Kimsey and Hack are recipients of other major awards this year. Kimsey won the 2019 UC Davis Outstanding Advisor Award. Hack was honored at the< a href="https://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=31402">2019 Staff Assembly's Citation for Excellence Program, receiving an honorable mention and cash award in the highly competitive Individual Service Award category.
Both Kimsey and Hack shared the 2019 Eleanor and Harry Walker Advising Awardsfrom the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, for top faculty advisor and top staff advisor, respectively. The awards honor excellence and innovation in academic advising.
NACADA' s vision is to recognize that "effective academic advising is at the core of student success." Its mission is is to promote student success by advancing the field of academic advising globally. The organization provides opportunities for professional development, networking, and leadership in its diverse membership,
That would be the Indian domino cockroach, Therea petiveriana, also variously called the desert cockroach or seven-spotted cockroach.
It's one of the critters in the Bohart Museum's live "petting zoo," which also includes Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks or stick insects, and tarantulas.
A sign reveals: "These charismatic roaches live in the leaf litter of the scrub forests of Southern India.They primarily scavenge on leaf litter, dropped fruit, and the occasional yummy source of protein (usually dead insects). Their bright, black and white patterning is not for camouflage but instead to mimic the aggressive six-spot ground beetle."
That would be the aggressive ground beetle Anthia sexguttata known for its strong defenses, including the ability to spray chemical irritants.
The Bohart Museum, founded by noted entomologist Richard M. Bohart (1913-2007), houses a global collection of nearly eight million specimens. It is also the home of the seventh largest insect collection in North America, and the California Insect Survey, a storehouse of insect biodiversity. In addition, the Bohart maintains a year-around gift shop stocked with t-shirts, sweatshirts, jewelry, posters, stuffed toy animals (think water bears or tardigrades and other critters) books, insect-collecting equipment and more.
"We are proud of the Bohart Museum's strong tradition of public outreach," wrote director Lynn Kimsey in a year-end report. "In the last year alone, we connected with more than 13,000 visitors, both at the museum and through programs and traveling exhibits to schools and public events. We answer more than 1000 questions about insects, spiders and their relatives every year, guiding consumers to take a deep breath or use appropriate and cost-effective control strategies. Helping people understand insects, and lose their fear of them, is one of the things we do best."
Want to become a member to help support its work? The Bohart Museum Society offers the following membership categories:
- Individual member, $25
- Student, $15 (one)
- $25 for student family
- Family, $40
- Patron, $100
Additional contributions to the Bohart Museum of Entomology endowment are very much welcome. Contributions are tax-deductible. Checks should be made out to the "Bohart Museum Society" and mailed to:
Bohart Museum of Entomology
Room 1124, Academic Surge Building, Crocker Lane
University of California, Davis
Davis, Calif. 95616.
The insect museum is open to the public Mondays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m., except on holidays. Visiting hours will end at 5 p.m., Dec. 16 and will resume at 9 a.m. on Jan. 6. The Bohart will be closed to the public from Dec. 17 to Jan. 5. More information on the Bohart Museum is available on the website at http://bohart.ucdavis.edu or by contacting (530) 752-0493 or firstname.lastname@example.org.