They crafted tadpole shrimp-themed hats and puppets using paper plates and googly eyes.
And they asked questions. Lots of questions.
It was all part of the UC Davis Bohart Museum of Entomology open house, themed "Bugs in Ag: What Is Eating Our Crops and What Is Eating Them?" The event, held May 28 and free and open to the public, drew dozens of visitors ranging from toddlers to senior citizens.
Cooperative Extension specialist Ian Grettenberger, an agricultural entomologist with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology faculty, and postdoctoral fellow Buddhi Achhami of the Grettenberger lab displayed pests of rice and alfalfa--as well as beneficial insects--and fielded questions. Bohart Museum volunteer and undergraduate student Omri Livneh assisted.
The Grettenberger lab showed KQED's Deep Look video, Tadpole Shrimp Are Coming For Your Rice. which includes Grettenberger's expertise.
"People enjoyed the event and learned about rice and agricultural pests, thanks to the Grettenberger lab special displays," commented Tabatha Yang, Bohart Museum's education and outreach coordinator who organized the event. She credited UC Davis doctoral student Grace Horne of the Emily Meineke lab with loaning additional USB scopes.
Entomologist Jeff Smith, who curates the Lepidoptera collection, showcased butterfly and moth specimens, including Atlas moths and monarchs. He marveled at the knowledge of "budding scientist" 6-year-old Riley Laurel of Vacaville, who arrived with her father, Julius, and brother, Aidan, 2. It was their first visit to the Bohart Museum.
Bohart volunteer Barbara Heinsch, UC Davis graduate and environmental scientist and Chew staffed the arts and crafts table. Ellie Lindquist, 4, of Woodland and Kelsey Meng, 5, of Davis expressed delight in making tadpole shrimp-themed creations.
The Bohart Museum, directed by Lynn Kimsey, UC Davis distinguished professor of entomology, houses a global collection of eight million insect specimens; the petting zoo; and a year-around gift shop (also online), stocked with insect-themed gifts, such as t-shirts, hooded sweatshirts, posters, jewelry, books, puppets, candy and collecting equipment. It is located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, Crocker Lane.
The next open houses are scheduled June 25 and July 16. Like all of the Bohart Museum open houses, they are free and open to the public.
- Saturday, June 25, 1 to 4 p.m.
This open house is all about arachnids (think spiders) and will feature scientists from across the country. It is being held in collaboration with the American Arachnological Society's 2022 meeting, June 26-30m on the UC Davis campus and hosted by 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. Arachnids also will be discussed at a public session on Tuesday, June 28, from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. in California Hall.
- Saturday, July 16, 1 to 4 p.m.
"Celebrating 50 years of the Dogface Butterfly: California's State Insect"
Scientists will join the public in celebrating the 50th anniversary of the California State Legislature' designation of the dogface butterfly, Zerene eurydice, as the state insect. Found only in California, the butterfly thrives in the 40-acre Shutamul Bear River Preserve near Auburn, Placer County. The preserve is part of the Placer Land Trust and is closed to the public except for specially arranged tours. At the July 16th open house, 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 discuss the butterfly. Keller, who holds a doctorate in entomology from UC Davis, authored the 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 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. (Read more on how the butterfly became the state insect under the Ronald Reagan administration.)
First, they're neither tadpoles nor shrimp. Second, they're crustaceans and are pests of rice.
Tadpole shrimp will be one of the topics that Cooperative Extension specialist Ian Grettenberger, an agricultural entomologist, will cover when the Bohart Museum of Entomology hosts a family friendly open house from 1 to 4 p.m., Saturday, May 28 in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, Crocker Lane, UC Davis campus.
The event, free and open to the public, is themed “Bugs in Ag: What Is Eating Our Crops and What Is Eating Them?”
Grettenberger, a member of the UC Davis Department of Entomology faculty, will discuss pests of rice and alfalfa and other agricultural crops, and also will cover such beneficial insects as lady beetles, aka lady bugs.
But back to tadpole shrimp. We asked Grettenberger 10 facts that most people may not know about these critters. Here we go!
- The common name for Triops species is tadpole shrimp because they look superficially like tadpoles (frogs), but another common name is shield shrimp, named after their shield-like carapace.
- The genus name for tadpole shrimp, "Triops" comes from Latin "tri" (three) and Greek "?ps" (eye). They have two large compound eyes and a third simple eye (ocellus) used for detecting light.
- The California crop where tadpole shrimp are relevant is rice. Triops longicaudatus is an early-season pest that can damage germinating seeds.
- While the pest species Triops longicaudatus is an abundant species because it can do well in rice fields, another species in California, Lepidurus packardi (vernal pool tadpole shrimp), is endangered and relies on limited vernal pool habitats for survival.
- Triops longicaudatus carry their eggs in egg sacs, where they are kept before being deposited.
- Eggs of Triops longicaudatus typically dry out completely as rice fields are drained or pools dry. Eggs can survive for many years (10's of years) in a desiccated state, able to hatch when they are flooded again.
- Triops longicaudatus are omnivorous, meaning they eat plant material, invertebrates, and even their siblings (cannibalism!).
- Triops longicaudatus will eat mosquito larvae.
- A possible sign of a rice field full of tadpole shrimp is very murky water; as they feed and burrow on the bottom, they stir up mud and muddy the water.
- You can actually buy dried eggs of Triops longicaudatus and keep them as a pet.
“We plan to talk broadly about the pests that eat our crops and the natural enemies that help protect them,” Grettenberger said. He and postdoctoral fellow Buddhi Achhami of the Grettenberger lab will field questions. (For more information on tadpole shrimp, be sure to access KQED's Deep Look video, Tadpole Shrimp Are Coming For Your Rice. which includes Grettenberger's expertise; and the UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program's information about tadpole shrimp.)
Also during the Bohart Museum open house, the family activity is to make tadpole shrimp hats or puppets. "Googly eyes" will be used to imitate the compound eyes and and the ocellus, said Tabatha Yang, the Bohart Museum education and outreach coordinator.
The Bohart Museum, directed by Lynn Kimsey, UC Davis distinguished professor of entomology, houses a global collection of eight million insect specimens; a live "petting zoo" comprised of Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks (stick insects) and tarantulas; and a year-around gift shop (also online) stocked with insect-themed gifts, such as t-shirts, hooded sweatshirts, posters, jewelry, books, puppets, candy and collecting equipment.
The Bohart Museum has been closed to the public for the last two years due to COVID-19 pandemic precautions. The Bohart observed UC Davis Picnic Day by setting up displays in the hallway of the Academic Surge Building. This spring the museum is open to the public, but groups must make reservations and everyone must follow the UC Davis visitor guidelines: https://campusready.ucdavis.edu/visitors? The museum's "visiting us" page includes more information.
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 know those dratted aphids, those little pests that suck the very lifeblood out of your prized plants?
Well, have you ever watched them give birth?
They do, you know. Live births.
The UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program says that "Aphids have many generations a year. Most aphids in California's mild climate reproduce asexually throughout most or all of the year with adult females giving birth to live offspring—often as many as 12 per day—without mating."
"Because each adult aphid can produce up to 80 offspring in a matter of a week, aphid populations can increase with great speed."
We've captured a few images of aphids giving birth in our Vacaville pollination garden...but only with the microscopic-like Canon MPE-65mm lens (mounted on an EOS 7D). If you think aphids are tiny, their babies are super tiny.
Videos, however, tell the story better. Check out the KQED Deep Look video Born Pregnant: Aphids Invade with an Onslaught of Clones.
As we mentioned in a previous Bug Squad blog, UC Cooperative Extension specialist and agricultural entomologist Ian Grettenberger of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology faculty, assisted with the KQED Deep Look video, which won a nature award equivalent to an Oscar.
Grettenberger provided his expertise--and some aphids--working with digital video producer Josh Cassidy, senior video producer for KQED Science and the lead producer and cinematographer for Deep Look, a short-form nature series that illuminates fascinating stories in the natural world. The video scored an international Jackson Wild Media Award, winning first place in the category, "Animal Behavior, Short Form video (17 minutes or less)."
The Deep Video points out that the aphids are highly skilled at "making babies."
Yes, they are.
Fortunately, we have lady beetles (aka ladybugs) and soldier beetles that are highly skilled at eating them!
It's neither a tadpole nor a shrimp, but a crustacean pest that feasts on rice seedlings in flooded rice fields.
Rice growers currently rely heavily on pyrethroid insecticides to manage tadpole shrimp.
At the Entomological Society of America meeting this week in Denver, agricultural entomologist and Cooperative Extension specialist Ian Grettenberger of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and his colleagues proposed alternative management.
Grettenberger's poster, “Past Pyrethroids: Alternative Management Approaches for Tadpole Shrimp in Rice,” offers non-pesticide alternatives, including the use of mosquitofish.
Collaborative research with UCCE Butte County director and Rice Farming Systems Advisor Luis Espino and UC Davis staff research associate Kevin Goding, indicates that mosquitofish proved able to suppress shrimp populations.
“Tadpole shrimp (Triops longicaudatus) are an early-season pest in California rice,” Grettenberger explained in his abstract. “Soon after flooding, eggs hatch and growing shrimp are soon large enough to damage germinating rice seedlings. Currently, pyrethroid insecticides are heavily relied upon for management, as they are in many cropping systems, because of their efficacy and low cost. However, contamination of surface waters is a concern, as is insecticide resistance.”
“In addition, we used large square metal plots to evaluate if a fish released for mosquito control, mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis), could suppress shrimp populations. We found that a number of materials could suppress shrimp populations, while unregistered materials did not provide sufficient control. Mosquitofish also proved able to suppress shrimp populations, although extremely high shrimp populations could escape predation and shrimp could outgrow risk to predators. These results could help a field crop industry move beyond pyrethroids, which will be important to address issues of environmental contamination or regulatory changes as well as changes in susceptibility.”
Deep Look Video. Tadpole shrimp recently made the national news in two ways, Grettenberger said. First, they made news with the sudden appearance of tadpole shrimp following monsoon rains this summer in an ancient ceremonial ball court at the Wupatki National Monument in northern Arizona (https://www.livescience.com/dinosaur-shrimp-emerge-arizona). In October, KQED's Deep Look released a new video, “Tadpole Shrimp Are Coming For Your Rice," the work of lead producer and cinematographer Josh Cassidy and other members of the Deep Look crew. (See https://youtu.be/T2xnXaX7r3g.) Grettenberger assisted with the project, providing tadpole shrimp and taking some of the video clips used in the five-minute video.
“Much of his shooting was in my garage,” the UC Davis entomologist said, “so I get to see just how much effort and care goes into producing these videos. They end up pretty short, but that doesn't mean it is simple to get all the pieces together.”
“This tadpole shrimp is coming for your rice,” the narrator said. “Hungry hordes of them find their way into the ice fields of California's Central Valley and go to town munching on the young seedlings. But where did they come from, with the ocean so far away? A couple of weeks ago, this was just a dry dusty field. Turns out they were here all along.”
Deep Look referred to them as “time travelers,” as the eggs of shrimp tadpoles can be viable for decades and hatch when the rice growers flood their fields. "At the very least, they have survived as eggs since last season," Grettenberger noted.
The pests are neither tadpoles or shrimp but are fresh-water crustaceans descended from the ocean. “They look like tiny horseshoe crabs,” Grettenberger told Deep Look. “It's obvious when rice fields have lots of tadpole shrimp in them, because they stir up the mud making the water look a bit like chocolate milk. There will also be shrimp zooming around, many upside down at the surface, popping up for a few seconds before disappearing back into the murkiness."
Adult tadpole shrimp cannot survive when the soil dries out. But Grettenberger said their eggs have a rugged outer layer called a “chorion” that protects the eggs from desiccation.
“They've been living this way for hundreds of millions of years-- since before the dinosaurs-- waiting out droughts, changing climates, even global catastrophes,” KQED relates in the video. “In a world where the future is unpredictable, tadpole shrimp are the ultimate survivors.”
Grettenberger, who joined the UC Davis Department of Entomology faculty in January, 2019, focuses his research on field and vegetable crops; integrated pest management; applied insect ecology; and biological control of pests.
- Resource on tadpole shrimp, UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program (co-authors, the late Larry Godfrey, Cooperative Extension specialist, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology; Luis Espino, UC Cooperative Extension; and Sharon Lawler, professor, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
- "Effect of Rice Winter Cultural Management Practices on the Size of the Hatching Population of Triops longicaudatus (Notostraca:Triopsidae) in California Rice Fields" (Co-authors Larry Godfrey,