The event, "Exploring the Wonders of Insects," sponsored by the UC Davis Arboretum, is free and open to the public. Participants--all ages are invited--will gather at the UC Davis Arboretum Gazebo. Participants are encouraged to bring insect nets, if they have them. A limited number of nets will be available Sunday.
The tour is ADA accessible. Biking is encouraged, but parking is free on weekends in Visitor Parking Lot 55.
In their display, Hernandez and Cruz said they will be showing the "amazing diversity of insects from California, southern Arizona and more." They include Arizona moths and butterflies, beetles from Arizona, California moths and butterflies, and insects from Belize.
"Joel and I have one live female Dynastes beetle and a male and female Ox beetle that we brought back from Arizona that we're hoping to show the public that day as well," Cruz said.
Last year nearly 90 butterfly enthusiasts--from senior citizens to pre-schoolers--gathered for the Hernandez' tour, "Butterflies Up Close" at the UC Davis Arboretum. 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.
Melissa Cruz, who works at the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden as the outreach and leadership program coordinator. received her bachelor of science degree in entomology from UC Davis in 2013 and her masters in educational leadership from Sacramento State University in 2017. As an undergraduate, Cruz worked with ecologist William Wetzel in researching the density distribution of a gall forming tephritid fly (Eutreta diana) on its host plant, mountain big sage (Artemisia tridentata subsp. vaseyana) and with entomologist Katharina Ullmann, now director of the UC Davis Student Farm Center, in monitoring native squash bees throughout Yolo County.
Cruz discovered a love for insects after her high school teacher gifted her with a pair of Madagascar-hissing cockroaches. She enjoys creating family programs at the Arboretum that focus on the diversity of insects. "I've also developed a love for scarabid beetles," she says.
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.