Nearly 90 butterfly enthusiasts--from senior citizens to pre-schoolers--met up with entomologist Joel Hernandez last Sunday for his second annual talk and tour on "Butterflies Up Close," sponsored by the UC Davis Arboretum.
Hernandez, who has collected and curated insects for 19 years, told of his passion for Lepidoptera, the order of insects that includes butterflies and moths. "What draws me to butterflies," he said, "is the plethora of different colors and patterns that they display on their wings, as well as their life cycle.”
A 2014 graduate of UC Davis with a bachelor of science degree in entomology, Hernandez currently works for chemical ecologist Steve Seybold as a research/field assistant, and plans to enroll in graduate school.
Hernandez displayed butterfly and moth specimens from his California and Belize collections. His favorite butterfly? The blue morpho, Morpho peleides, a tropical butterfly with wings spanning five to eight inches.
As the tour members left the Wyatt Deck, walking along a shaded path and emerging into the sunlight to a milkweed patch, Hernandez pointed out butterflies and other insects along the way.
Butterflies sighted included:
Monarch, gray hairstreak, Acmon blue, fiery skipper, dusky wing skipper, cabbage white, West Coast lady, gulf fritillary, pygmy blue, Western tiger swallowtail and buckeye.
Tour member Ria de Grassi of Davis checked out the insect activity on the showy milkweed, Asclepias speciosa, noting lady beetles, bees and aphids, but no monarch eggs or caterpillars. A new "Monarch Mom," she recently planted milkweed and is beginning to rear a few monarchs for conservation purposes.
The group saw no monarchs but did see other butterflies, including a gray hairstreak, Strymon melinus.
Following the tour, many participants headed for the Bohart Museum of Entomology's open house, featuring the Belize collecting trip.
You might see monarchs, Gulf Fritillaries, Western tiger swallowtails, pipevine swallowtails, and skippers. You'll learn about butterflies and their needs.
It's a UC Davis Arboretum talk and tour and it's free and open to the public.
Entomologist Joel Hernandez will present a talk and tour on “Butterflies Up Close” on Sunday, Sept. 18 at the UC Davis Arboretum. The event, to begin at 10 a.m. on the Wyatt Deck, is billed as an event to “explore the amazing diversity of butterflies and moths both near and far.” All ages are invited.
Hernandez will also display his own butterfly collection.
Hernandez, who received a bachelor of science degree in entomology from UC Davis in 2014, currently works for the Steve Seybold lab as a research/field assistant. He hopes to attend graduate school and receive his doctorate in entomology.
Hernandez worked for the Sharon Lawler lab for four years, both as a student and as a post-graduation junior specialist. A volunteer at the Bohart Museum of Entomology and the UC Davis Arboretum, he recently participated on a Bohart Museum insect collecting trip with entomologist/Bohart associate Fran Keller. “It was an amazing experience,” he said.
Hernandez has collected and curated insects for 19 years. “I have a passion for Lepidoptera and would like to use it as a target group for research in graduate school,” he said. “The species of butterfly that interests me the most is the blue morpho. The family of moths that interests me the most and the one I would like to study is Sphingidae.”
"I've been interested in insects ever since I was small," Hernandez said. "It was their unique life histories and morphologies that really propelled my passion for insects and entomology. What draws me to butterflies is the plethora of different colors and patterns that they display on their wings, as well as their life cycle.”
Hernandez presented a well-attended talk and tour on butterflies and moths at the Arboretum last September. Elaine Fingerett, the Arboretum's academic coordinator, chronicled the event in photos.
For more information, contact the Arboretum at (530) 752-4880 or by email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
You just can't beat those Halloween costumes at the Bohart Museum of Entomology's annual membership party.
But have you ever thought of being a..drum roll..long-horned beetle? Of course, you have! Probably every Halloween, right?
Talk about creative!
UC Davis entomology undergraduate student Laurie Casebier crafted the cerambycidae beetle (long-horned beetle) costume. "I used my bike helmet and cut a hula hoop in half and attached the ends to my helmet to make the long antenna and used duct tape to make the familiar notched eyes," she said. "Then I cut out paper and my pseudotetramerous tarsi. I used a scarf as elytra. It was kind of modeled after the apple borer, but not really."
Forensic entomologist Bob Kimsey of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology faculty wore his favorite ghillie suit as he poured beverages for the crowd.
Then there were the look-alikes. Entomology student Maia Lundy, president of the UC Davis Entomology Club, dressed like her friend, entomology graduate Alex Nguyen ("Maia decided that it would be funny to look like me," he said)
and entomology graduate student Joel Hernandez and UC Davis alumnus Melissa Cruz arrived as lumberjacks,
And then were were the bees that buzzed and the butterflies that fluttered.
No one wore an orange T-shirt that proclaimed "This IS my Halloween costume."
That would..er...really bug entomologists.
So, they’ve designed a humorous t-shirt inscribed with “Know Your Sticks,” featuring drawings of four sticks: a stick person, a real stick or twig, a Vietnamese walking stick and an Australian spiny stick (family Phasmatidae).
“One of the most popular insects in the Bohart Museum’s live ‘petting zoo’ is the walking stick,” said Fran Keller, who originated the idea of a stick t-shirt, in between studying for her doctoral degree in entomology. “So we thought we’d clarify the sticks.”
Keller designed the shirt, and undergraduate student Ivana Li, president of the UC Davis Entomology Club, drew the illustrations.
The stick person, named Talea persona (Latin for "stick person"), is the kind you might see on a rear windshield, Keller said. The real stick (Twigus stickus) is one you might see in the woods. And the Vietnamese (Medauroidea extradentata) and Australian sticks (Extatosoma tiaratum)? You can see them—and hold them--in the Bohart Museum.
The t-shirts, available in all sizes and many colors, range from $15 (for kids) to $18 (adults) to $20 (adults’ v-neck). They are available online or in the gift shop at the museum, Room 1124 of Academic Surge, located near the corner of La Rue Road and Crocker Lane (formerly California Avenue). Proceeds benefit the museum's educational programs.
The Bohart Museum, directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis, houses a global collection of more than seven million insect specimens and is the seventh largest insect collection in North America. It is also the home of the California Insect Survey, a storehouse of the insect biodiversity. Noted entomologist Richard M. Bohart (1913-2007) founded the museum in 1946.
The Bohart’s regular hours are from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday. It is closed to the public on Fridays and on major holidays. Admission is free.
The Bohart Museum's “petting zoo” includes such permanent residents as Madagascar hissing cockroaches and a rose-haired tarantula, in addition to the walking sticks.
Keller suggests that for a novelty photo, stick a walking stick on your "Know Your Sticks" t-shirt, and have a friend photograph the “sticktoitiveness.”
And that’s not something to shake a stick at.
Martha Stewart apparently does.
And the folks at the Bohart Museum of Entomology at the University of California, Davis, couldn't be happier.
See, the editors of Martha Stewart Living listed the Bohart insect collection kit as one of the top three gifts for the young naturalist.
How cool is that! Or, how buggy is that!
The Martha Stewart folks wrote on their website: “Here is a handful of gifts for the pint-size wildlife expert. If your child loves being outdoors and inspecting all things creepy-crawly, read on to find the perfect present."
They cautioned: "Just be sure to enforce a strict no-centipedes-indoors rule" before they head out with their "eco-cool contraptions!”
Museum director Lynn Kimsey (top), professor and former interim chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, has long known how fascinating bugs are--and now Martha apparently agrees.
Fact is, the Bohart Museum, located at 1124 Academic Surge on California Drive, is home to more than seven million insect specimens; a live "petting zoo" (think Madagascar hissing cockroaches and walking sticks); and a gift shop.
The gift shop is like an entomological candy shop. There you can buy bug-related posters, note cards, t-shirts, sweatshirts, jewelry, magnets, scorpion-encased lollipops....and yes...insect collection kits.
So if someone is bugging you about a holiday gift, check out the Bohart, either online or in person. To accommodate families who work during the week, the Bohart has scheduled a special weekend opening on Saturday, Dec. 11 from 1 to 4 p.m. The Bohart is traditionally open on weekdays, year around, from 8:30 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday.
We stopped at the Bohart Museum this morning and met a future entomologist who--yes--in his childhood owned an insect collection kit. Joel Hernandez, a UC Davis entomology major and a student assistant at the Bohart, acquired his kit at age 7. What first sparked his interest in entomology? An Animal Planet episode featuring the insects of Madagascar.
Hernandez later joined the Loma Vista 4-H Club, Ventura, and enrolled in an entomology project. His display of insects won "best of division" and "best of class" awards in the Ventura County Fair.
Hernandez now has five display cases of insects, including two cases of butterflies, one case of beetles and miscellaneous insects.
His ambition? To become an entomology professor.
Just think--somewhere out there is another "Joel" who will be getting his very own insect collection kit during the holidays--thanks to Martha.
Martha & Friends may now want to see the UC Davis Department of Entomology's video clips on "How to Make an Insect Collection." Professor James R. Carey taught the class last spring to undergraduates and graduate students. Their work can be viewed online.