The open house showcased moths, in celebration of National Moth Week, and spotlighted flies, in keeping with the 10th International Dipterology Congress, held July 16-21 in Reno. Bohart officials dedicated the open house to the late Jerry Powell, international moth authority and a former director of the Essig Museum of Entomology, UC Berkeley, who died July 8 at age 90.
A blacklighting display, near the entrance to the Bohart Museum, drew night-flying insects to a white sheet, illuminated by an ultraviolet light.
"There were not many moths," said "Moth Man" John de Benedictus, a research entomologist associate with the Bohart Museum and a former graduate student of Powell's. "Only about 5 or six in all. All but two were the so-called Dusky Raisin Moth, Ephestiodes gilvescentella,which comes as no surprise as it is the most common moth in my yard and probably throughout Davis. Its caterpillar feeds on a wide variety of plants, including dried fruit and nuts, but it is not a major pest. There were two granite moths, probably Digrammia californiaria, and/or Digrammia muscariata. The younger kids entertained themselves by pointing out or trying to catch the other insects that flew in, mainly gnats and other small flies; a few beetles, including lady bugs; some aquatic bugs; and a couple of lacewings and earwigs. An older boy collected some ants that marched to the sheet."
Entomologist Jeff Smith, curator of the Bohart Museum's Lepidoptera collection, and Bohart associate and naturalist Greg Kareoelas, showed visitors many of the moth specimens, including death's-head hawkmoths, featured in the 1991 movie, Silence of the Lambs. In the movie, serial killer, Buffalo Bill (played by Ted Levine), stuffs death's-head hawkmoths inside his victims' throats. FBI trainee Clarice Starling (played by Jodie Foster) seeks the advice of the cannibalistic psychiatrist, Hannibal Lecter (played by Anthony Hopkins), to solve the mystery. The moths appearing in the movie are Acherontia stropos. The moth markings resemble a human skull.
The Bohart Museum, directed by UC Davis distinguished professor Lynn Kimsey, houses a global collection of eight million insect specimens, including some 500,000 moths or butterflies (60 percent moths and 40 percent butterflies). The museum is located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, 455 Crocker Lane, UC Davis campus. During the summer, the Bohart Museum is open to the public on Tuesdays from 2 to 5 p.m. For more information, contact the Bohart Museum at firstname.lastname@example.org or (530) 752-0493.
(More images from the Bohart Museum open house, "A Night at the Museum," will appear this week on Bug Squad)
The event, "A Night at the Museum," is free and family friendly. It takes place in several places: (1) inside the insect museum, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, 455 Crocker Lane, UC Davis campus; (2) in the hallway of the Academic Surge Building; (3) directly outside the building for the blacklighting display; and (4) in the nearby Wildlife Classroom (Department of Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology) for a insect drawing demonstration.
The focus is on moths as this is National Moth Week. Entomologist Jeff Smith, who curates the Lepidopterist collection, will be in "the moth aisle" with Bohart associate and naturalist Greg Kareofelas to show specimens and answer questions.
At the Bohart table, inside the museum, fly experts from around the world--including dipterists at the California Department of Food and Agriculture--will answer your questions and show specimens. They were in Reno to participate in the 10th International Dipterology Congress, held July 16-21.
The hallway will be a plethora of exhibits and activities.
- There will be a memorial to the late international moth authority, Jerry Powell, former director of the Essig Museum of Entomology, UC Berkeley, who died July 8 at age 90. "Jerry's rearing program was the most extensive in the history of the study of New World Microlepidoptera," according to an Essig post. "For over 50 years he and his students processed more than 15,000 collections of larval or live adult Lepidoptera. Resulting data encompass more than 1,000 species of moths, through rearing either field-collected larvae or those emerging from eggs deposited by females in confinement. This total includes more than 60% of an estimated 1,500 species of Microlepidoptera occurring in California."
- Visitors can hold the tenants of the live insect petting zoo, including Madagascar hissing cockroaches and walking sticks and take selfies.
- Science educator and entomologist Nazzy Pakpour, who holds a bachelor's degree in entomology from UC Davis, and a doctorate in microbiology, virology, and parasitology from the University of Pennsylvania and did postdoctoral research at UC Davis, will be showcasing her new children's book, "Please Don't Bite Me! Insects That Buzz, Bite and Sting. The book is illustrated by Owen Davy. "All proceeds of book sales will go to the Bohart Museum, thanks to Nazzy's generosity," said Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator. (See Pakpour's biography on One Aggie Network). Pakpour was a member of a collaborative team who worked on a malaria-proof mosquito that made Time Magazine's "50 Best Inventions of 2010." See Bug Squad post: "Malaria-Proof Mosquito Takes the Spotlight."
- Microscopes also will be set up in the hallway for visitors to view insect specimens.
Wildlife Classroom: Multiple insect drawing demonstrations, "How to Draw Bugs," will be given Professor Miguel Angel Miranda of the University of the Balearic Islands (UBI), Spain, who just returned from the International Dipterology Congress. He is a zoologist, entomologist and noted insect illustrator.
Opogona omoscopa (Opogona crown borer)
Achyra rantalis (garden webworm)
Ephestiodes gilvescentella (dusky raisin moth)
Spodoptera exigua (beet armyworm)
Spodoptera praefica (western yellow-striped armyworm)
Also outdoors, sidewalk chalking will take place. Free hot chocolate and cookies will be served.
The museum, directed by UC Davis distinguished professor Lynn Kimsey, houses a global collection of eight million insects; an insect petting zoo; and a year-around insect-themed gift shop.
If you're planning to visit the Bohart Museum of Entomology on the University of Davis, campus, the hours are limited during the holiday season.
Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator, announced today:
- The last day in December that we are open to the public is Thursday, Dec. 15 from 9 a.m. to noon, and 1-5 pm.
- On Friday, Dec. 16 we are here working, but are closed to the public. Researchers and staff are welcome at the Bohart to do research or to shop. You may need to knock on the door, though.
- Next week Monday, Dec. 19 through Thursday, Dec. 22 we will be here for research and will be answering phones, emails and can coordinate in-store pick-ups for anyone who shops on-line https://www.
bohartmuseumstore.com/. (Email us if you are planning to stop by. Our hours are typically 9-moon and 1-5 pm. Researchers and staff can shop in store at this time.)
- From Friday, Dec. 23- Monday, Jan. 2 the museum will be closed. We will all be on holiday and/or working from home, so no one will be answering the Bohart phones or be available for in-store pick-ups.
- We will re-open as usual on Tuesday, January 3.
The Bohart Museum, home of a global collection of eight million insect specimens, a live "petting zoo" and a gift shop, is located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, 455 Crocker Lane. Admission is free.
Founded in 1946, the Bohart is directed by Lynn Kimsey, UC Davis distinguished professor of entomology. It is named for UC Davis professor and noted entomologist Richard Bohart, who was Kimsey's major professor. Weekend open houses are held periodically throughout the year. The Bohart is one of the co-founders and co-leaders of the campuswide Biodiversity Museum Day, traditionally held on President's Weekend (details to be announced soon) and UC Davis Picnic Day. The 109th annual Picnic Day, which draws some 75,000 visitors to the campus, will be Saturday, April 15.
Talented artists continually create stunning work at the Bohart Museum of Entomology, directed by Lynn Kimsey, UC Davis distinguished professor of entomology (who herself worked as a scientific illustrator under her maiden name, Lynn Siri).
The most current art/science work that graces the Bohart Museum hallway of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane: "Birdwing Butterfly" and "Spiral Galaxy of Butterflies."
Both are the work of two recent UC Davis alumni: Francisco Bassó Medel, who received his bachelor's degree in wildlife, fish and conservation biology, and Bohart laboratory assistant Brittany Kohler, who holds a bachelor's degree in nutrition science, with a minor in evolution, ecology and biodiversity.
"The displays were Lynn's idea, as a means to add more art to the museum and use existing specimens that had no data on them, so they could not be used for research purposes," Francisco said. "Lynn gave Brittany and I full creative liberty on how to make the pieces, that is something that I greatly appreciated."
"Spiral Galaxy of Butterflies" is comprised of commercially reared tropical butterflies from the 1960s. None were wild-caught and none contain collection data.
"For the 'Spiral Galaxy of Butterflies,' we spent about one full work day, spread through several days," Francisco related. "This piece is meant to represent a galaxy, with several planets and stars around it, and a black hole in the middle. We also hid a fly (a bee fly specimen or bombyliid) in there. Hopefully, people will have fun trying to find it and at the same time look at the details of each butterfly and moth."
Francisco worked at the Bohart Museum over the summer and "I am currently working on the new web page for the Bohart and applying to graduate schools."
Brittany said she's "always been an artist and interested in natural science. I use all mediums and enjoys mixed media to create art." Her membership in the UC Davis Entomology Club enabled her to "explore and get back into what I am truly passionate about." She plans to enroll in graduate school "and that will include entomological pursuits."
"Birdwing Butterfly" is comprised of 112 Brooke's birdwing butterflies, Trogonoptera brookiana, which originated from a commercial rearing facility in Southeast Asia in the 1960s. Birdwings, so named due to their birdlike flight, large size and angular wings. are found throughout tropical Asia.
The species are "dimorphic; the females contain white patches in their upper wing while the males are distinctly black and green," Kimsey noted. Like the Galaxy specimens, none were wild caught and none contain collection data. The lack of data makes them scientifically invaluable for research purposes.
Francisco credited Brittany with "Birdwing Butterfly." He added: "I only did an initial sketch of it and the piece was put together by Brittany."
Entomologist Jeff Smith, curator of the Lepidoptera collection at the Bohart Museum, spread all the butterflies. "All of the specimens lingered unspread in paper envelopes for about 50 years," he estimated. "The butterflies in the Spiral Galaxy came from unlabeled surplus material from Chiapas, Mexico."
The Bohart Museum, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, 455 Crocker Lane, UC Davis campus, houses a global collection of eight million insect specimens, as well as the live "petting zoo" and an insect-themed gift shop stocked with t-shirts, hoodies, books, posters, jewelry, collecting equipment and more.
Founded in 1946 and named for UC Davis professor and noted entomologist Richard Bohart, the insect museum is open to the public from 8 a.m. to noon, and 1 to 5 p.m., Mondays through Thursdays.
So wrote Helene Dillard, dean of CA&ES, in her October column paying tribute to six outstanding individuals who will be honored at an awards dinner and ceremony on Nov. 3 in the Activities and Recreation Center ballroom, UC Davis.
It's an amazing group of individuals! And two of them are entomologists: one is known for his expertise on honey bees and the other, for his expertise on butterflies.
Honey geneticist and UC Davis doctoral alumnus Robert E. Page Jr., winner of the Exceptional Emeriti Award, is known by his colleagues as “the leading honey bee geneticist in the world." (See news article of Oct. 26 on the Department of Entomology and Nematology website and the Oct. 28 post on the Bug Squad blog.)
Butterfly collector Bill Patterson and his wife, Doris Brown, of Sacramento are winners of the CA&ES' "Friend of the College Award." They are longtime friends and supporters of the Bohart Museum, which houses a global collection of eight million insect specimens and is the seventh largest insect museum in North America.
The couple recently donated $1 million to support the museum's insect collection, a gift that will provide the museum with the financial security to support staff and resources, according to Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum and a UC Davis distinguished professor of entomology.
"Doris and Bill have been incredibly supportive of the Bohart," Kimsey told us. "Bill has collected butterflies and moths for many years and sees the museum as the place he wants to be home to his collection. Doris isn't a collector herself, but she strongly supports his interests and has been enthusiastic about his collection coming here as a permanent home."
Patterson, a native of Oakland, began collecting butterflies at age 6. He received his bachelor's degree in entomology from the University of Arizona, Tucson, in 1962. He worked as a technician for UC Davis entomology professor Howard McKenzie from 1958 to 1968, retiring from UC Davis in 1963. Patterson also holds a teaching credential from Sacramento State University and taught math and science for 15 years as a substitute teacher, retiring from teaching in 1985.
Doris Brown, born in Seattle, holds a bachelor of arts degree in political science from Washington State University, Pullman, Wash. She also has a master's degree in counseling. She worked as an analyst and manager for the federal and state government and a private consulting firm. She retired as the chief of Fiscal Programs Division, California Employment Development Department.
They hope their donation will help educate the community about the importance of butterflies and moths. Patterson told Ashley Han in a CA&ES news story: “I believe scientifically valuable collections should not stay in private hands. The museum is the perfect place for my collection to be permanently protected and studied."
The Bohart Museum, founded in 1946 and located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, 455 Crocker Lane, UC Davis campus, is named for UC Davis professor and noted entomologist Richard Bohart. It is open to the public from 8 a.m. to noon, and 1 to 5 p.m., Mondays through Thursdays.
In addition to the trio of Bill Patterson/Doris Brown and Rob Page, the 2022 recipients of Awards of Distinction are:
- Alumnus of the Year, Marko Zaninovich (Class of 1964)
- Exceptional Faculty Award, Daniel Sumner, the Frank H. Buck, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics
- Exceptional Staff Award, Shannon Tanguay, budget fiscal officer with CA&ES. (See more on CA&ES website)
Another entomologist, Jeff Smith, the volunteer curator of the Lepidoptera collection at the Bohart Museum, won the "Friend of the College Award" in 2015. (See news story)
CA&ES is known throughout the world for its expertise, educational opportunities, and contributions to society, according to its website announcing the 2022 winners. "Much of that is due to the great dedication and efforts of our faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends of the college."