That story will be among the highlights of the Bohart Museum of Entomology open house from 1 to 4 p.m., Saturday, July 16 in Room 1124 in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the year the California State Legislature singled it out to be the state insect.
Professor Fran Keller of Folsom Lake College, a UC Davis doctoral alumnus and author of the children's book, The Story of the Dogface Butterfly, will read the 35-page book to children and parents at 1:30 p.m. and again at 3:30 p.m. in the Wildlife Classroom, Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology, located next door to the Bohart Museum in the Academic Surge Building.
The book features photos by Bohart associate Greg Kareofelas and Professor Keller, and illustrations by former UC Davis student Laine Bauer. The California dogface butterfly, Zerene eurydice, found only in California, thrives at its major breeding ground, the Shutamul Bear River Preserve, a private preserve maintained by the Placer Land Trust (PLT).
It is there because its host plant, false indigo, Amorpha californica, is there, points out Kareofelas, who has reared multiple California dogface butterflies from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to adult. He serves as a volunteer docent for the PLT's Shutamul Bear River Preserve.
"Most people have never seen a single dogface butterfly (in the wild)," says Kareofelas. On a June 10th tour of the preserve, held specifically for the Bohart Museum, the group saw 75 to 100 dogface butterflies.
Art Shapiro, UC Davis distinguished professor of evolution and ecology, who has monitored the butterfly populations of Central California for 50 years, said he has never seen 100 Zerene eurydice in his lifetime. He maintains a research site, Art's Butterfly World.
False indigo (Amorpha), its only known host plant, "is a rather inconspicuous shrub found with poison oak, willow, etc. near streambanks, often along boulder-strewn tributary streams in side canyons where access is very difficult," Shapiro says on his website.
1 p.m.: Event starts
Tabling: Placer Land Trust information table, Greg Kareofelas with live caterpillar/rearing project
- Craft: Yellow felt dogface butterflies shoe/hair/belt/wrist ornaments
- Craft: Color the dogface butterfly life cycle (paper or for $8.50 for bandanna)
- Craft: Paper caterpillar puppet
- Petting Zoo (Madagascar hissing cockroaches, stick insects, tartantulas)
- Butterfly collection exploration with entomologist Jeff Smith, curator of the Lepidoptera collection
- Butterfly banner photo-op
1:30 p.m.: Professor and author Fran Keller reads The Story of the Dogface Butterfly in the Wildlife Classroom
2:30 p.m.: Communication specialist Julia Boorinakis Harper Barbeau of Placer Land Trust shows four-minute video and Bohart associate Greg Kareofelas gives a talk/powerpoint about the history of the dogface (5-10 minutes) in the Wildlife Classroom
3 p.m.: Celebration dessert in the hallway with Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology
3:30 p.m.: Professor and author Fran Keller reads The Story of the Dogface Butterfly in the Wildlife Classroom
4 p.m.: Event ends
The Bohart Museum, directed by UC Davis distinguished professor Lynn Kimsey, houses a global collection of eight million insect specimens. It also maintains a live petting zoo and an insect-themed gift shop (including T-shirts, hoodies, books, jewelry, posters, collecting equipment)
It's an opportunity to learn more about the biology and history of California's state insect, the California dogface butterfly.
The Bohart Museum of Entomology will showcase and celebrate the butterfly at its open house from 1 to 4 p.m., Saturday, July 16. The free, family friendly event takes place in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, 455 Crocker Lane, UC Davis campus.
What's so special about this? First of all, it's our state insect. Second of all, you've probably never noticed it, especially in the wild. And perhaps more significantly, this is the 50th anniversary of the year that the state Legislature designated Zerene eurydice as the state insect. Gov. Ronald Reagan signed it into law on July 28, 1972.
Found only in California, the rarely seen butterfly is also known as (1) "the flying pansy," referring to the male's spectacular black and yellow coloring, and (2) as a "dog head" butterfly (the markings on the male resemble a silhouette of a dog's head). The female is mostly solid yellow.
The butterfly's major breeding ground is in Auburn at a preserve maintained by the Placer Land Trust (PLT). The butterfly is there because its larval host plant--false indigo (Amorpha californica)--grows well there. Its range includes San Diego to Sonoma counties and it'susually found in mountain and foothill locations," according to PLT. Butterfly guru Art Shapiro, UC Davis distinguished professor of evolution and ecology, has seen it multiple times in Gates Canyon, Vacaville.
However, no one has been able to reach any of the former students to invite them as special guests to the open house.
In 2013, Fran Keller, a UC Davis doctoral alumnus and now a professor at Folsom Lake College, published a 35-page children's book, The Story of the Dogface Butterfly that includes includes photos by Kareofelas and Keller and illustrations by then UC Davis student Laine Bauer. They earlier created a poster. Both the book and the poster are available for sale in the gift shop at the Bohart Museum.
The book tells the untold story of the California dogface butterfly, and how schoolchildren became involved in convincing the State Legislature to select the dogface butterfly as the state insect. As part of their research, Keller, Kareofelas and Bauer visited the Placer Land Trust habitat of the butterfly. Kareofelas reared the insect from egg to adult, photographing all stages.
The history of how the butterfly became the state insect actually begins in the 1920s with the Lorquin Entomological Society of Los Angeles. In an October 1929 article in The Pan-Pacific Entomologist, a publication of the Pacific Coast Entomological Society, J. D. Dunder of Pasadena credits the Lorquin Entomological Society with seeking "to establish a state insect for California." Out of three choices, the group voted on the California dogface butterfly.
Dunder wrote that the butterfly is "strictly a native California butterfly" and that "thousands of specimens are used each year in entomological art work for trays, bookends, plaques, etc., so the species is already fairly well known to the pubic."
Today its image graces a first-class U.S. stamp and our California driver licenses. It's also depicted on the California State Fair monorail. The Lone Buffalo Vineyards and Winery, Auburn, memorialized it on labels of specially bottled wine, with proceeds helping conservation efforts of the Placer Land Trust to protect the butterfly.
Officials at the Bohart Museum are, no doubt one, some of the butterfly's biggest fans and they'll share their scientific knowledge and enthusiasm for the state insect at their Saturday, July 16 open house. You'll see Kareofelas' amazing slide show of the butterfly's life cycle. A family arts-and-crafts activity is also planned.
The Bohart Museum, home of a worldwide collection of 8 million insects, is directed by UC Davis distinguished professor Lynn Kimsey. It also houses a live "petting zoo" (Madagascar hissing cockroaches, stick insects and tarantulas) and an insect-themed gift shop.
"Tens of millions of years before the orb web evolved, spiders used major ampullate silk in various forms (lampshades, tangles, sheets, funnels, etc.)," according to AAS member Eileen Hebets of the University of Nebraska, who co-hosted the open house as part of her National Science Foundation grant, "Eight-Legged Encounters," aimed at providing community outreach programs, especially for youth. "The first webs were horizontal and were not orbs. Currently, scientists believe that orb web evolved only once."
The open house kicked off the AAS meeting on the UC Davis campus. Arachnologist Jason Bond, associate dean of the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the Evert and Marion Schlinger Endowed Chair in Insect Systematics, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, is co-chairing the June 26-30 conference.
"It was about about cribellate and ecribellate silk--or sticky and not-sticky silk," said Keller, a Bohart Museum scientist who studied for her doctorate with UC Davis distinguished professor Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum. "Some spiders produce silk and place small drops of 'sticky glue' along the silk fibers in a web and that glue traps prey when they hit the web. Other spiders produce 'fuzzy' silk, for lack of a better word, and they spin it very close together. The station was set up to have glue silk and non-glue silk."
As Hebets explains on her website:
- Cribellate silk is produced from numerous tiny silk glands underneath a specialized spinning organ called the cribellum.
- The cribellum is derived from spinnerets (the anterior median spinnerets) and its surface is covered by hundreds- thousands of tiny, elongate spigots which each produces an extremely thin single fibril of cribellate silk (~0.00001mm thick). All spigots act together to produce a single cribellate thread made up of thousands of silk fibrils. All araneomorph spiders were once cribellate, but the cribellum has been lost numerous times.
- Cribellate spiders also possess a row of toothed bristles – the calamistrum – on the metatarsal segment (2nd to last) of the last leg (4th walking leg).
- The combination of flagelliform silk threads and aggregate silk protein glue ~136 million years ago represents a major explosion in spider species numbers. Spiders that combine flagelliform and aggregate silk proteins are in the superfamily Araneoidea. In these spiders, a sticky liquid silk is carried on fibrous silk support lines.
- In summary, cribellate (wooly) and ecribellate (sticky) catching silks increase the prey holding efficiency of webs that act as snares or traps. They represent completely different evolutionary solutions to the same problem.
- Take a piece of pre-cut yarn.
- Pick up one piece of confetti.
- Toss the confetti at the yarn…does it stick?
- On one-half of the yarn, add droplets of glue and toss the confetti at the yarn…does it stick?
- On the other one-half of the yarn, comb it out using the eyebrow brush.
- Once the yarn is combed out, toss a piece of confetti at it…does it stick?
"It was nice to see so many folks out to an event about arachnids," Keller said. "We normally have many people out visiting the Bohart on our weekend open houses. But this was different because it focused on 8-legged invertebrates. It was such a great event getting back in person and interacting with families. It made me realize how much I have missed these outreach events and open houses where we share our passion for insects and science."
The next Bohart open house is set from 1 to 4 p.m., Saturday, July 16 and will celebrate 50 years of the California dogface butterfly (Zerene eurydice) as the state insect. The state Legislature designated the butterfly as the state insect in 1972. Keller and Bohart associate Greg Kareofelas will share their expertise on the insect. The event is free and family friendly.
The Bohart Museum, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, houses a global collection of eight million insect specimens, plus a live "petting zoo" (Madagascar hissing cockroaches, stick insect and tarantulas) and an insect-themed gift shop.
You're in luck.
The Bohart Museum of Entomology, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane, UC Davis campus, will host four public events from May 28 through July 16. All are free and open to the public. Parking is also free.
Saturday, May 28, 1 to 4 p,m.
Open house, "Bugs in Ag: What Is Eating Our Crops and What Is Eating Them?"
Cooperative Extension specialist and agricultural entomologist Ian Grettenberger of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology faculty will explore the relationships between insects and agriculture. His areas of expertise include field crops; vegetable crops; insects, mites and other arthropods affecting plants; biological control of pests affecting plants; and beneficial insects. Grettenberger, who joined the UC Davis faculty in January 2019, targets a wide variety of pests, including western spotted and striped cucumber, beetles, armyworms, bagrada bugs, alfalfa weevils, aphids, and thrips.
Saturday June 25, 1 to 4 p.m.
Open house, "Eight-Legged Encounters"
This event is all about arachnids featuring scientists from across the country. It is in collaboration with the American Arachnological Society's 2022 meeting, scheduled June 26-30 on the UC Davis campus. The annual meeting will be hosted by two UC Davis arachnologists: Jason Bond, the Evert and Marion Schlinger Endowed Chair in Insect Systematics, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, and associate dean, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, and Joel Ledford, assistant professor of teaching, Department of Plant Biology, College of Biological Sciences.
Public event to be held in California Hall for arachnid novices and experts alike. This is in collaboration with the American Arachnological Society's meeting at UC Davis.
Saturday, July 16, 1 to 4 p.m.
"Celebrating 50 Years of the Dogface Butterfly:California's State Insect"
Scientists and the public will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the California State Legislature' designation of the dogface butterfly as the state insect.
Folsom Lake College professor and Bohart scientist Fran Keller, and Bohart associate Greg Karofelas, a volunteer docent for the Placer Land Trust's dogface butterfly tours, will on hand to discuss the butterfly. The California dogface butterfly, Zerene eurydice, is found only in California. It thrives in the 40-acre Shutamul Bear River Preserve near Auburn, Placer County. The preserve, part of the Placer Land Trust, is closed to the public except for specially arranged tours.
Keller is the author of 35-page children's book, The Story of the Dogface Butterfly, with photos by Keller and Kareofelas, and illustrations by former UC Davis student Laine Bauer. Kareofelas' images include the life cycle of the dogface butterfly that he reared. Keller holds a doctorate in entomology from UC Davis, where she studied with major professor Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart and UC Davis distinguished professor of entomology.
Kareofelas and Keller also teamed to create a dogface butterfly poster of the male and female. Both the book and the poster are available online from the the Bohart Museum of Entomology gift shop.
California legislators adopted the dogface butterfly as the official state insect on July 28, 1972. But as early as 1929, entomologists had already singled it out as their choice for state insect. Their suggestion appears in the California Blue Book, published by the State Legislature in 1929. (Read more on how the butterfly became the state insect under the Ronald Reagan administration.)
The dogface butterfly is so named because the wings of the male appear to be a silhouette of a poodle. It is also known as "the flying pansy."
Bohart Museum. The Bohart Museum is the home of a worldwide collection of eight million insect specimens, plus a gift shop and a live "petting zoo," comprised of Madagascar hissing cockroaches, stick insects and tarantulas.
Bohart Museum Contact information:
You may know that the California grizzly bear (Ursus californicus) is the official state animal.
You may know that the California quail (Lophortyx californica) is the official state bird.
You may know that the California red-legged frog (Rana draytonii) is the official state amphibian.
And you may know that the golden trout (Salmo agua-bonita) is the official state fish.
But...drum roll...did you know that California has an official state insect? No, it's not a lady beetle or ladybug. Or a honey bee. Or a monarch.
It's the California dogface butterfly (Zerene eurydice), which the state Legislature designed as the state insect 50 years ago--in 1972. The butterfly is found only in California from the foothills of the Sierra Nevada to the Coast Ranges and from Sonoma south to San Diego. The male, which sports a yellow silhouette of a dog's head on its wings, is known as "the flying pansy." The female is mostly solid yellow except for a single black spot on its upper wings.
The Bohart Museum of Entomology, located in the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane, will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the butterfly's designation as the state insect during the 108th annual UC Davis Picnic Day on Saturday, April 23. See the Bohart exhibits at the East Academic Surge entrance from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Entomologist Fran Keller, a professor at Folsom Lake College, a Bohart Museum scientist, and UC Davis doctoral alumnus, will be there with Bohart associate Greg Kareofelas to share their expertise on the butterfly. Kareofelas is a volunteer tour guide for the Placer Land Trust's conservation site in Auburn. It's the most prevalent habitat of the butterfly; it is there because its larval host plant, false indigo (Amorpha californica) thrives there.
Kareofelas has reared--and photographed--a dogface butterfly from egg to adult. And he's also grown false indigo.
Keller authored a 35-page children's book, "The Story of the Dogface Butterfly," with images by Kareofelas and Keller and illustrations by then UC Davis student Laine Bauer. The book tells the untold story of the California dogface butterfly, and how schoolchildren became involved in convincing the State Legislature to select the colorful butterfly as the state insect.
A Bohart Museum poster by Kareofelas-Keller depicts the male and female butterfly. Both the poster and the book are available for sale in the Bohart gift shop (also online). Net proceeds benefit the insect museum's education, outreach and research programs.
In addition to the California dogface butterfly, the Bohart Museum's Picnic Day activities will focus on monarch butterflies; the traveling display exhibits that graduate students created; and the ever-popular live "petting zoo," comprised of Madagascar hissing cockroaches, stick insects and tarantulas.
Home of worldwide collection of eight million insect specimens, the Bohart Museum is directed by Lynn Kimsey, UC Davis distinguished professor of entomology. The staff includes senior museum scientist Steve Heydon; education and outreach coordinator Tabatha Yang, and entomologist Jeff Smith, who curates the lepidoptera collection.
Other entomological displays and activities during Picnic Day will take place at Briggs Hall from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. A new addition at Briggs is caterpillar biology. Grace Horne, a graduate student in the laboratory of Emily Meineke, assistant professor of urban landscape entomology, will display hornworm caterpillars and pupae, and she'll discuss butterfly and moth biodiversity and biology, including urban biodiversity and their interactions with their host plants.