They learned about walking sticks, Madagascar hissing cockroaches, tarantulas and praying mantids--all residents of the live “petting zoo.”
All in all, it was educational, informative and entertaining
The occasion: the open house hosted by the Bohart Museum of Entomology, UC Davis, on Saturday afternoon, Nov. 19. Themed "Uninvited Guests: Common Pests Found in the Home," the event drew folks of all ages, from toddlers to senior citizens.
Children delighted in coloring the line drawings of sawtoothed grain beetles, silverfish, cigarette beetle and Indian meal moths, and gluing beans, peas, rice and other grains to the illustrations.
One focal point was a Cacho golden knee tarantula (Grammostola pulchripes), fondly nicknamed "Coco McFluffin." Native to Paraguay and Argentina, the golden knee tarantula is a relative of the rose-hair tarantula (G. rosea) and G. pulchra (Brazilian black tarantula). Most Chaco golden knee tarantulas are relatively docile and easy to handle, said UC Davis entomology graduate student/Bohart employee Wade Spencer.
UC Davis graduate student Jessica Gillung kept busy showing walking sticks and Madagascar hissing cockroaches to the crowd. Newly elected Winters City Council member Jesse Loren and her husband, Brian Bellamy, delighted in a walking stick that appeared to be giving them a "high five."
Participants learned about such pantry pests as the warehouse beetle (Trogoderma variabile); sawtoothed grain beetle (Oryzaephilus surinamensis); merchant grain beetle (O. mercator); confused flour beetle (Tribolium confusum); the red flour beetle (T. castaneum); drugstore beetle (Stegobium paniceum) and the cigarette beetle (Lasioderma serricorne). The Bohart shared printouts of pantry pests from the UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program.
Meanwhile, Bohart Museum associate Greg Kareofelas greeted guests in the butterfly/moth collection, showing a variety of the Lepitopderans and explaining the difference between a monarch butterfly and its mimic, the viceroy.
The Bohart Museum, directed by Lynn Kimsey, UC Davis professor of entomology, is a world-renowned insect museum that houses a global collection of nearly eight million specimens. A gift shop, open year around, includes T-shirts, sweatshirts, books, jewelry, posters, insect-collecting equipment and insect-themed candy.
The Bohart Museum is now gearing up for its next open house, "Parasite Palooza: Botflies, Fleas and Mites, Oh My!" set from 1 to 4 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 22 in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, Crocker Lane. The open houses are free and open to the public. See schedule.
The Bohart Museum's regular hours are from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. The museum is closed to the public on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and on major holidays. Admission is free. More information on the Bohart Museum is available by contacting (530) 752-0493 or email@example.com.
How much do you know about moths? Do you know the difference between a moth and a butterfly? Have you ever seen some of the world's largest moths, such as the Atlas moth? Have you ever collected noctuid moths on your front porch light?
In keeping with "International Moth Week, Exploring Nighttime Nature (July 23-31)," the Bohart Museum of Entomology at the University of California, Davis, will celebrate moths at its evening open house from 8 to 11 p.m., Saturday, July 30. The theme, appropriately enough, is "Celebrate Moths!"
And that's exactly what will happen! It promises to be informative, educational and fun!
Activities, free and open to the public, will take place inside the museum, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane, and outside the building, where black lighting will be set up to observe and collect moths and other insects.
Entomology graduate student Jessica Gillung will participate, "so there will be an entomologist fluent in Spanish and Portuguese on site," said Tabatha Yang, the Bohart Museum's education and outreach coordinator. In addition to her fluency in English, Spanish and Portuguese, the multilingual Gillung speaks a little German.
A fourth-year graduate student, Gillung studies with major professor Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum and UC Davis professor of entomology. Gillung is a member of the reigning championship Linnaean Games team, the UC Davis graduate student team that won the national championship last fall at the Entomological Society of America meeting in Minneapolis. The Linnaean Games is a college-bowl type competition in which student teams answer questions about insects and entomologists. The 2015 questions included "What is the smallest insect that is not a parasite or parasitoid?” (Answer at the end of this blog.)
At Moth Night, visitors are invited to view the Bohart Museum's vast collection of worldwide moth specimens and participate in family friendly craft activities featuring a moth motif. Scientists will explain how to differentiate a moth from a butterfly. Free hot chocolate will be served.
Moths continue to attract the attention of the entomological world and other curious persons. Scientists estimate that there may be more than 500,000 moth species in the world. They range in size from a pinhead to as large as an adult's hand. Most moths are nocturnal, but some fly during the day, as butterflies do. Finding moths can be as “be as simple as leaving a porch light on and checking it after dark,” according to International Moth Week officials. “Serious moth aficionados use special lights and baits to attract them.”
The Bohart Museum is a world-renowned insect museum that houses a global collection of nearly 8 million specimens. It also maintains a live “petting zoo,” featuring walking sticks, Madagascar hissing cockroaches and tarantulas. A gift shop, open year around, includes T-shirts, sweatshirts, books, jewelry, posters, insect-collecting equipment and insect-themed candy.
The Bohart Museum is open to the public from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. The museum is closed to the public on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and on major holidays. Admission is free. More information on the Bohart Museum is available by contacting (530) 752-0493 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Note: Answer to the Linnaean Games question: "What is the smallest insect that is not a parasite or parasitoid?" If you guessed, "Beetles in the family Ptiliidae," you're right!)
And that one, they agreed, they should have known. Oops!
Here's what happened: The "Bug Bowl" team, aka the Linnaean Games team from the University of California, Davis, won the national championship at the 2015 Entomological Society of America's annual meeting, and was invited to appear Friday, Jan. 22, on the TV show, Good Day Sacramento.
The background: The UC Davis graduate students--captain Ralph Washington Jr., and members Brendon Boudinot, Ziad Khouri and Jessica Gillung--defeated the University of Florida 130 to 70 last November to win its first-ever national championship in the 32-year history of the ESA's Linnaean Team Games. See YouTube video at https://youtu.be/_hA05K0NET4.
Professor Larry Godfrey and Extension apiculturist Elina Niño, Extension apiculturist, served as the team's advisors. The team members are candidates for a Ph.D. in entomology. Washington studies with Steve Nadler, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and professor Brian Johnson; Boudinot with professor Phil Ward; and Khouri and Gillung with professor Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology.
So fast forward to Friday, Jan. 22. The team (minus Khouri, who was unable to attend), answered surprise questions posed by Good Day Sacramento co-anchor Marianne McClary in a fast-paced, fun-filled, witty encounter.
The first question, however, stumped them: "What year was the Bohart Museum of Entomology at UC Davis established?" They knew who founded the museum and about his work.
That was noted entomologist Richard M. Bohart (1913-2007), former professor of entomology at UC Davis. He founded the museum, now located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane, in...drum rolll...1946.
The team answered 1949. Close, but just a few years off.
"Lynn Kimsey is going to be really angry at me," Washington deadpanned.
"She's going to kill us," Gillung said. Both of them have spent many hours volunteering at the Bohart Museum's open houses, introducing visitors to the specimens and the live petting zoo.
The UC Davis team, however, went on to successfully answer the remaining four questions, questions that would have puzzled many an entomologist (see their online answers on the video):
- "The active ingredient of the most commercial termite trapping system is novalumeron. What is its mode of action?"
- "In some insects, the tarsal claws are bifid. What does that mean?"
- "Fly fishermen follow the emergence of adults of various aquatic insects. What do typical fly fishermen call these emergence events and why is this entomologically wrong?"
- "There are more than 2600 species of termites worldwide. Which continent houses the most species?"
Richard M.Bohart, also known as "Doc," completed a 32-year career at UC Davis. "He was the reason many students chose entomology as a major," wrote professor Lynn Kimsey, former student Norman Smith and professor Robert K. Washino in their memoriam on the UC Senate page. "He had a passion for entomology, which began when he was very young and continued well beyond retirement... Doc's passion was collecting, identifying, and classifying Strepsiptera mosquitoes and wasps. During his career, he identified more than one million specimens, many of which are housed in the R. M. Bohart Museum of Entomology, a teaching, research, and public service facility that he founded on campus in 1946."
"His teaching and collecting activities resulted in the development of one of the finest collections of stinging wasps in the world in the Bohart Museum of Entomology," wrote Kimsey, Smith and Washino. "A great deal of this material was obtained through his collecting and that of his students. During his tenure, the museum collection grew from 500 specimens to 7 million, a span of some 60 years. Chancellor James Meyer dedicated the entomology museum in his name in 1983. The R. M. Bohart Museum moved into a new building in 1994 and was dedicated by Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef."
As an aside, Doc Bohart was not only a talented entomologist but an athlete. He played football at UC Berkeley and "even in his 60s he could still throw a football across a football field," Kimsey said. She was his last graduate student before he retired.
Access ESA's YouTube video featuring the championship game between UC Davis and the University of Florida.
But the Linnaean Games are also a force to be reckoned with-- for those who study insect science or who want to study insect science.
The Entomological Society of America (ESA) today posted the video of the 2015 Championship Linnaean Games on YouTube. Access it at https://youtu.be/_hA05K0NET4 to see the lively competition between the University of California, Davis and the University of Florida. UC Davis won the championship for the first time in the 32-year history of the ESA's Linnaean Games.
The UC Davis championship team was comprised of 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.
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.
Here are some of the questions that the UC Davis team correctly answered:
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
The UC Davis Linnaean Games Team won the championship--they're the stars--but congratulations to all! It's a honor to be selected on a team and an honor to win a spot at the regionals and advance to the nationals.
Teams of graduate or undergraduate students challenge one another in a college bowl-like competition about entomological facts, trivia and noted entomologists. You have to be quick. You have to know your insects, and that often includes the taxonomic rank of order, family, genus and species. And, you never know what the judges will ask you so you read, practice, read, practice, read, practice.
So, it was great to see our UC Davis Linnaean team--captain Ralph Washington, Jr., and members Jéssica Gillung, and Brendon Boudinot--win the regional championship at the recent Linnaean Games hosted by the Pacific Branch of ESA in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. They'll be heading to Minneapolis in November to compete with other ESA branch winners in the national Linnaean Games. The Linnaean Games are named for Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778), the father of modern taxonomy.
Two of the questions asked--and quickly answered--by UC Davis at the Pacific Branch meeting, were:
What insect family can vector anthrax?
What caste of honey bee has the greatest number of ommatidia?
A. The drone, the male honey bee. Ommatidia are the subunits of a compound eye.
The UC Davis team, advised by Extension entomologist Larry Godfrey and Extension apiculturist Elina Nino, began practicing last December and met two hours a week.
As an undergraduate student, Ralph Washington Jr. helped anchor the UC Davis 2010 team that competed in the nationals in San Diego. UC Davis narrowly lost to Ohio State University, which advanced to the finals and then went on to win the championship.
Washington, Gillung and Boudinot are all systematists. Washington, whose major professor is nematologist Steve Nadler, studies mosquitoes; Boudinot studies ants with major professor Phil Ward, and Gillung studies flies with major professor Lynn Kimsey, who directs the Bohart Museum of Entomology. Gillung is co-advised by Shaun Winterton of the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
Washington, a first-year doctoral student from Sacramento, and the newly elected president of the UC Davis Graduate Student Association, focuses on how mosquitoes choose to lay their eggs, and how those choices affect their evolution.
Boudinot, a second-year doctoral student from Washington state, is known for his expertise on the morphology of male ants. He is also interested in the biogeography and evolutionary history of ants.
Gillung, a second-year doctoral student from Brazil, is a prominent taxonomist of Diptera (flies), with special emphasis on the diversity and evolution of spider flies, family Acroceridae. Some Acrocerid adults are specialized pollinators, while larvae are internal parasitoids of spiders.
The Pacific Branch of ESA 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.
The trio is eagerly looking forward to making the 1900-mile trip from Davis to Minneapolis. Theme of the meeting is “Synergy in Science: Partnering for Solutions.” It will take place Nov. 15-18.
Some of the questions asked at previous national Linnaean Games:
1. Why do pineapple growers in Hawaii spray for ants?
A. The ants protect mealybugs from their natural enemies. Controlling the ants improves the effectiveness of natural enemies and reduces the transmission of mealybug wilt.
2. Fly fishermen follow the emergence of adults of various aquatic insects. What do typical fly fishermen call these emergence events and why is this entomologically wrong?
A. They call it a “hatch” which refers to emergence from the egg stage, not emergence of adults.
3. There are more than 2,600 species of termites worldwide. Which continent houses the most species?
A. Africa, which has over 1,000 species.
4. Give the common name and the family of the insects notorious for secretion of canthardin.
A. Blister beetles (Meloidae).
5. If you donate blood, you are asked about your exposure to babesiosis. What is the common name of the arthropod group that is the main vector of this disease?