Okay then, "What are the three primary conditions that define eusociality?"
Or how about "Nicrophorus americanus is listed under what legislative act?”
Those are just three of the questions that the UC Davis Linnaean Games Team correctly answered to win the national championship at the Entomological Society of America's annual Linnaean Games competition, held recently in Minneapolis. UC Davis defeated the University of Florida 130 to 70.
The Linnaean Games is a college-bowl type competition in which teams answer questions about insects and entomologists. The teams hold practice sessions throughout the year. So much to know, and you never know what questions will be asked! And then you have to pounce on the buzzer quickly to beat the other team to the answer!
The UC Davis team is comprised of captain Ralph Washington Jr., and members Jessica Gillung, Brendon Boudinot and Ziad Khouri. All are graduate students in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. They earlier won the Linnaean Games competition at the regional level: the Pacific Branch of ESA.
This is the first year in ESA's 32-year history that UC Davis has won the championship.
Washington is studying for his doctorate with major professors Steve Nadler and Brian Johnson, who respectively specialize in systematics and evolutionary biology of nematodes and the evolution, behavior, genetics, and health of honeybees; Boudinot with major professor Phil Ward, systematics and evolutionary biology of ants; and Jessica Gillung and Ziad Khouri with major professor Lynn Kimsey, who specializes in the biology and evolution of insects. Kimsey directs the Bohart Museum of Entomology.
Two members of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology faculty--Extension entomologist Larry Godfrey and Extension apiculturist Elina Niño--served as the team's advisors.
The questions that UC Davis correctly answered in the championship game:
Toss-Up Question: What is the smallest insect that is not a parasite or parasitoid?
Answer: Beetles in the family Ptiliidae.
Bonus Question: Some species of mosquitoes lay eggs that can undergo diapause or aestivation. Give at least three cues that trigger the aquatic eggs to hatch.
Answer: Temperature, immersion in water, concentration of ions or dissolved solutes.
Toss-Up Question: Chikungunya is an emerging vector-borne disease in the Americas. Chikungunya is derived from the African Language Makonde. What means Chikungunya in Makonde?
Answer: Bending up.
Toss-Up Question: A Gilson's gland can be found in what insect order?
Toss-Up Question: Certain Chrysomelid larvae carry their feces as a defensive shield. To what subfamily do these beetles belong?
Bonus Question: The first lepidopteran sex pheromone identified was bombykol. What was the first dipteran sex pheromone identified? Give the trade or chemical name.
Answer: Muscalure, Z-9-Tricosene. It is also one of the chemicals released by bees during the waggle dance.
Toss-Up Question: What famous recessive gene was the first sex-linked mutation demonstrated in Drosophila by T.H. Morgan?
Bonus Question: Cecidomyiidae are known as the gall flies. What is unique about the species Mayetiola destructor, and what is its common name?
Answer: Mayetiola destructor is the Hessian Fly, a tremendous pest of wheat. It does not form galls.
Toss-Up Question: Nicrophorus americanus is listed under what legislative act?
Answer: The Endangered Species Act
Toss-Up Question: In what insect order would you find hemelytra?
Answer: The order Hemiptera.
Toss-Up Question: The subimago stage is characteristic of what insect order?
Answer: The order Ephemeroptera
Bonus Question: A 2006 Science article by Glenner et al. on the origin of insects summarized evidence that Hexapods are nothing more than land-dwelling crustaceans, which is to say that the former group Crustacea is paraphyletic with respect to the Hexapoda. What hierarchical name has been used to refer to this clade?
Toss-Up Question: What are the three primary conditions that define eusociality?
Answer: Cooperative brood care, overlapping generations, and reproductive division of labor
A total of 10 teams competed in the 2015 Linnaean Games:
Eastern Branch: Virginia Tech University and University of Maryland
North Central Branch: Michigan State University and Purdue University
Pacific Branch: UC Davis and Washington State University
Southeastern Branch: University of Georgia and University of Florida
Southwestern Branch: Oklahoma State University and Texas A&M
A YouTube video of the championship game--with all of the questions asked--will be posted soon. Last year North Carolina State University defeated the University of Florida to win the finals.
We love looking at insect images.
Drum roll...the winning images for the Entomological Society of America's Photo Salon, a global competition, have just been announced. They will be shown at the ESA's meeting, Nov. 15-18 in Minneapolis, Minn. (The ESA theme this year is "Synergy in Science: Partnering for Solutions.")
You can see the list of winners and their images here: http://www.peoriacameraclub.com/Steve/Html/sect_1.htm
You'll see the best of show, a stunning butterfly image taken in Croatia. You'll see pests, prey, and predators. You'll see insects having a "happy meal." You'll see bug porn, or insects love caught in the act of reproducing more of the critters we love to shoot. You'll see insects you've never seen before--and probably will never see again.
They're spectacular. They're awe-inspiring. They're amazing.
As an aside, two of my photos were selected for the Photo Salon: One is of a bee fly that I titled "Pollen Power" and the other of two praying mantids ("Giddy Up").
Next year, you enter! Track that robber fly, follow that moth, and dash after that Blue Dasher. And don't forget the spiders. They're not insects, but arthropod images are also welcome in the Photo Salon competition.
If you want to learn more about macro photography, check out the Bug Shot Macro workshops at http://bugshot.net/. The instructors include noted insect photographers:
We attended the four-day workshop May 7-10, 2015 at Hastings Reserve, a biological field station owned and operated by the University of California, Berkeley. Texas-based Alex Wild and John Abbott and Oregon-based Thomas Shahan served as the instructors and shared their knowledge and research. By the way, Wild received his doctorate in entomology from UC Davis and recently moved from Illinois to be the curator of entomology in the College of Natural Sciences, University of Austin. Wild specializes in ants; Abbott, dragonflies; and Shahan, jumping spiders. But they, of course, focus on other arthropods, too.
It was an incredible four days. More will come.
Ready, set, focus! Oh, no, where did that yellow-faced bumble bee go?/span>
Teachers ask their students to make an insect collection. The project is considered a "rite of passage." However, often the students--whether they be middle school, high school or college level--don't know where to begin. Ditto for 4-H'ers enrolled in entomology projects.
What to do?
The UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology to the rescue. There, on the home page, students can access short, clear, concise videos on how to create an insect collection. They can watch and download them for free.
The story behind the story: Back in 2010, James R. Carey. professor of entomology, wanted to teach UC Davis students how to create and produce short videos that could tell the story in a minute or less. And he did just that.
The entire series, totaling 11 clips ranging in length from 32 seconds to 77 seconds, can be viewed in just less than 10 minutes.
“So in less than 10 minutes, someone can learn how to make an insect collection,” Carey says. The clips are tightly scripted, with an emphasis on brevity, simplicity and low cost.
The project continues to draw widespread interest and won an award from the Entomological Society of America. Carey, now a distinguished professor in the Department of Entomology and Nematology and active in research, teaching and public service, went on to win the ESA's 2015 national teaching award. It will be presented at the ESA's November meeting in Minnesota. The "How to Make an Insect Collection" project was just one of the many factors considered. (See his many other projects on his website.)
So, how do you make an insect collection? Easy!
Here are the videos:
Hand Collecting (32 seconds)
Using an Aspirator (34 seconds)
Ground Collecting (54 seconds)
Aquatic Collecting (58 seconds)
Using Nets (58 seconds)
Killing (51 seconds)
Pinning (43 seconds)
Point Mounting (50 seconds)
Labeling Specimens (48 seconds)
Spreading (77 seconds)
Storage and Display (32 seconds)
Honey bees will be "all the buzz" next week when the California State Beekeepers' Association (CSBA) meets Nov. 18-20 in Valencia, Calif., and the Entomological Society of America (ESA) meets Nov. 16-19 in Portland, Ore.
Those who belong to both organizations have a decision to make: go to Portland, "The City of Roses," or to Valencia, known as "Awesometown." They're 932 miles apart. Interestingly enough, they have more in common than you think. Both were founded in 1889. CSBA is gathering for its 125th annual meeting while ESA is holding its 62nd annual meeting.
ESA, headed by Frank Zalom, distinguished professor in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, will discuss scores of insects, including honey bees. Topics include "Nutrition and the Health and Behavior of Wild and Managed Bees" and "New Frontiers in Honey Bee Health Economics: Incorporating Entomological Research and Knowledge into Economic Assessments."
CSBA, headed by Bill Lewis of the San Fernando Valley, will zero in on safe pollination of almond orchards, urban beekeeping, honey bee forage and nutrition, mead-making, and honey bee health, exacerbated by pests, pesticides, parasites, diseases, malnutrition and stress. Varroa mites continue to be the beekeepers' No. 1 problem.
At the CSBA meeting, Extension apiculturist (retired) Eric Mussen of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, who serves as the organization's current apiculturist and parliamentarian (as well as a frequent speaker), will pass the torch--a smoker?--when he introduces the new Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Nino in a Nov. 20th presentation. It's titled "California Extension Apiculturist--Passing the Torch."
What we need now in California is rain. The drought worries us all. (Listen to what Mussen recently told Capital Public Radio about bees, the lack of floral resources, and the drought.)
And, as if on cue, it rained today. A honey bee in the apiary at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility ventured from its hive and encountered something it may not have seen before: rain drops.
Deep in the bowels of Briggs Hall on the UC Davis campus, entomology graduate student Kelly Hamby works on a pest that is giving growers fits: spotted wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii).
First detected in California in the fall of 2008, the fly has become an significant pest of berry and cherry crops, which have a combined farmgate value of $1.9 billion.
“My research is focused on the molecular biology and genomics of insecticide resistance in this fly,” said Hamby, who works in the lab of her major professor, integrated pest management specialist Frank Zalom, professor and former vice chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology.
“It is closely related to the model organism Drosophila melanogaster for which much is already known, so I hope to draw from those studies to enhance mine. I plan to monitor the genomic changes as resistance develops in both the field and the lab, and use this information to help growers manage insecticide resistance. “
Her work has not gone unnoticed.
The Pacific Branch of the Entomological Society of America (PBESA) is honoring her as the branch recipient of the Lillian and Alex Feir Graduate Student Travel Award in Insect Physiology, Biochemistry or Molecular Biology. She'll receive a commemorative plaque at an awards luncheon on Tuesday, March 29 at PBESA's meeting in Waikoloa, Hawaii.
The branch will then nominate and endorse her for the national award, to be given at the ESA's annual meeting Nov. 13-16 in Reno.
This is indeed a high honor.
PBESA encompasses 11 U.S. states (Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming); several U.S. territories, including American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands; and parts of Canada and Mexico.
Hamby, pursuing her doctorate in entomology, is a graduate of UC Davis with a bachelor of science degree in environmental toxicology. In her fruit fly project, she works closely with molecular geneticist Joanna Chiu, a UC Davis Department of Entomology faculty member who specializes in molecular chronobiology.
"I greatly appreciate Joanna’s willingness to work with my students to add an exciting and useful new dimension to their work," Zalom said.
Dorothy Feir (1929-2008), the 1989 president of ESA, established the award as a tribute to her parents who, “at considerable self-sacrifice, "encouraged education and travel experience for their daughters,” she related.
Feir, who grew up in Missouri, received her doctorate in entomology from the University of Wisconsin in 1968; taught biology at St. Louis University, beginning in 1961; and was the first woman president of the now 6000-member ESA. ESA named her a fellow in 1993, an honor limited to only 10 persons a year.
Feir donated her multimillion estate to various institutions and organizations for the study of insects--so future entomologists can benefit.