What's not to celebrate? And you can do so at the University of California, Davis.
The Bohart Museum of Entomology, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, Crocker Lane, UC Davis campus, is hosting a "Moth Night" from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday, July 21.
Free and open to the public, this is a "family friendly event all about moths," according to Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum and Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator. Events will take place both inside and outside the insect museum.
The UC Davis event is one of only two public events scheduled in California during the week; the other is in San Mateo County on July 28.
Bohart scientists will be on hand to discuss moths and answer questions. They include three Bohart associates: entomologist Jeff Smith of Rocklin, curator of the the moth and butterfly specimens; and "Moth Man" John DeBenedictis and naturalist and photographer Greg Kareofelas, both of Davis, who will staff the light traps/blacklighting displays. The best time to see the moths in the light traps is later in the evening, closer to 10.
"We will focus on colorful moths of the night--night rainbows if you will and the biodiversity of tropical moths," Yang said. A family craft activity is planned. Last year the family craft activity featured making moth-shaped window ornaments resembling stained glass.
Free refreshments--cookies and hot chocolate--will be served.
Last year more than 15 species landed on the blacklighting display. The first moth to arrive was the alfalfa looper moth, Trichopusia ni. The most striking: the grape leaffolder, Desmia funeralis.
Some facts about moths, from the National Moth Week website:
- Moths are among the most diverse and successful organisms on earth.
- Scientists estimate there are 150,000 to more than 500,000 moth species.
- Their colors and patterns are either dazzling or so cryptic that they define camouflage. Shapes and sizes span the gamut from as small as a pinhead to as large as an adult's hand.
- Most moths are nocturnal, and need to be sought at night to be seen--others fly like butterflies during the day.
- Finding moths can be as simple as leaving a porch light on and checking it after dark. Serious moth aficionados use special lights and baits to attract them.
The Bohart Museum houses a global collection of nearly eight million specimens. It is also the home of the seventh largest insect collection in North America, and the California Insect Survey, a storehouse of the insect biodiversity. Noted entomologist Richard M. Bohart (1913-2007) founded the museum. It maintains a live "petting zoo," featuring Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks, tarantulas, and praying mantids. The museum's gift shop, open year around, includes T-shirts, sweatshirts, books, jewelry, posters, insect-collecting equipment and insect-themed candy.
The Bohart Museum's regular hours are from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. It is closed to the public on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and on major holidays. Admission is free.
The Bohart Museum of Entomology open house on Saturday night, July 22, promises to be a fun and educational event. It's free and open to the public.
The open house, celebrating National Moth Week, will take place from 8 to 11 p.m. in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, and also outside, where two blacklight traps will be set up to collect moths and other insects. The event is free and open to the public and is family friendly.
A $75,000 scanning electron microscope, on loan from Hitachi Corp. for research and outreach, will be available for visitors to see moth scales and other insect parts.
Bohart Museum senior scientist Steve Heydon and two Bohart associates "Moth Man" John DeBenedictis and naturalist-photographer Greg Kareofelas of Davis will set up the light traps and answer questions. Bohart associate Jeff Smith of Sacramento, who curates the butterfly and moth specimens, will field questions about moths and butterflies and show specimens from around the world.
The family craft activity will be to make a moth-shaped window ornament resembling stained glass, said Tabatha Yang, the Bohart Museum's education and outreach coordinator. Free refreshments--hot chocolate, herbal tea and cookies--will be served. Common Grounds of Davis is donating part of the refreshments.
On permanent display is the Trump moth, Neopalpa donaldtrumpi, a relatively new species that Bohart Museum scientists collected at Algodones Dunes, bordering Arizona and the Mexican state of Baja California. Evolutionary biologist and systematist Vazrick Nazari of Canada named it donaldtrumpi because the yellow scales on the tiny moth's head reminded him of the hairstyle of Donald Trump, then president-elect. The orange-yellow moth has a wingspan of less than one centimeter.
Nazari published the piece on the Trump moth Jan. 17, 2016 in the journal Zookeys and explained the name: “The reason for this choice of names is to bring wider public attention to the need to continue protecting fragile habitats in the U.S. that still contain many undescribed species." The Neopalpa donaldtrumpi belongs to the family, Gelechiidae of the Lepidoptera order.
The Bohart Museum, directed by Lynn Kimsey, UC Davis professor of entomology, houses nearly eight million specimens; a year-around gift shop; and a live "petting zoo," including Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks, and orchid praing mantis and tarantulas.
For more information on the open house, email email@example.com or call (530) 752-0493.
The event, to take place from 8 to 11 p.m. in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane, is free and open to the public. The blacklighting demonstration will occur after sundown.
National Moth Week, set July 22-30, celebrates the beauty, life cycles, and habitats of moths.
Bohart Museum scientists will be on hand to discuss moths and answer questions. They include Bohart associate and entomologist Jeff Smith of Sacramento, who curates the moth and butterfly specimens. Also expected: "Moth Man" John DeBenedictis of Davis and Bohart senior museum scientist Steve Heydon who traditionally set up the blacklighting sysem and identify the insects.
The Trump moth, Neopalpa donaldtrumpi, is a relatively new species that Bohart Museum scientists collected at Algodones Dunes, bordering Arizona and the Mexican state of Baja California. Evolutionary biologist and systematist Vazrick Nazari of Canada named it donaldtrumpi because the yellow scales on the tiny moth's head reminded him of the hairstyle of Donald Trump, then president-elect. The orange-yellow moth has a wingspan of less than one centimeter.
Nazari published the piece on the Trump moth Jan. 17, 2016 in the journal Zookeys and explained the name: “The reason for this choice of names is to bring wider public attention to the need to continue protecting fragile habitats in the U.S. that still contain many undescribed species."
The Neopalpa donaldtrumpi belongs to the family, Gelechiidae of the Lepidoptera order.
Three Trump moths were collected in a Malaise trap in one of the washes on the east side of the dunes. In a contract with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the Bohart scientists have collected nearly 2,000 species of insects from about 200 square miles of sand, according to Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology and professor of entomology at UC Davis. Some six percent are new to science.
Of the Trump moths collected, Nazari kept one in Canada, the norm--but the holotype, the one he determined as the standard for the species--is a permanent part of the Boohart, said Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator.
Naming species for people--from citizens to celebrities to presidents to other public figures--is common. President Barack Obama has nine species named for him (more than any other president). His namesakes include a long-legged, resourceful Northern California spider, Aptostichus barackobamai, and a colorful spangled darner, a perchlike fish, Etheostoma obama.
The Bohart Museum offers a biolegacy program in which donors can select a species for naming, and receive a framed photo and documentation (publication). The Bohart Museum scientists describe as many as 15 new species annually, and their associates, "many more," Kimsey says.
For more information on the open house or the Bohart's biolegacy program, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (530) 752-0493.
A veritable Who's Who of lepidopterists.
Some 25 lepidopterists and others interested in butterflies and moths gathered recently at the Bohart Museum of Entomology, UC Davis, to work on identifications, share research information, and enjoy camaraderie.
Entomologist Jeff Smith, who curates the butterfly and moth specimens at the Bohart Museum, coordinated the event with fellow Bohart Museum associate John Debenedictis. "It always takes place the last Saturday of January," Smith said. "We alternate each year between the Bohart Museum and the Essig Museum at UC Berkeley."
"John and I sort of work together every other year to host this gathering at the Bohart Museum," Smith said, "although it doesn't really involve much work on our part since all the attendees are self-winding and easily find ways to stay busy."
"We're a dying breed," said Kelly Richers of systematists. Richers, an Essig associate, was there working on underwing moths, genus Catocala, family Noctuidae. Catocala is Greek meaning "beautiful below." The common name, Underwings, "refers to the posture where the forewings are normally held together over the back at rest, hiding the hindwings beneath," according to BugGuide.net. "Hence, the hindwings are the (bold and beautiful) underwings that this genus is known for." Richers compiles the California Moth Specimen Database, maintained at the Essig Museum since 1996 as a resource to better survey and understand California moths.
If anyone had asked "Is there a doctor in the house?" scores of entomologists with Ph.Ds may have raised their hands, if they weren't too busy studying or discussing specimens. But there was at least one medical doctor there--Val Albu of Fresno, who was conferring with Bohart associate Jerry Powell, emeritus director of the Essig Museum, emeritus professor of entomology at UC Berkeley, and author of California Insects. Powell's expertise includes the New World Tortricinae (Tortricoidea) and Ethmiinae (Gelechioidea).
Marc Epstein, senior insect biosystematist for the California Department of Food and Agriculture and author of the newly published book, Moths, Myths and Mosquitoes: the Eccentric life of Harrison G. Dyer Jr., discussed specimens with Jeff Smith and Steve Heydon, senior museum scientist at the Bohart.
Entomologist Rick Kelson, who directs the butterfly habitat at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, Vallejo, and associate curator Shanda Witham, associate curator, were there looking over specimens. Kelson studied entomology as a graduate student with Art Shapiro, distinguished professor of evolution and ecology at UC Davis. The butterfly habitat at Six Flags is a 100-foot-by-50-foot glass atrium, and was the first major walk-through butterfly habitat in the western United States when it opened in 1988.
Photos of the newly discovered moth, Neopalpa donaldtrumpi, briefly drew the attention of the lepidopterists. Bohart Museum associate/research entomologist Thomas "Tom" Zavortink and colleagues collected the tiny moth with the orange-yellow and brown wings in the Algodones Dunes, bordering Arizona and the Mexican state of Baja California. The moth was among insects loaned to evolutionary biologist and systematist Vazrick Nazari of Canada, who sifted through the collection and made note of the new species. He named it after President Trump, and published the data Jan. 17 in the journal ZooKeys.
The Bohart Museum is directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis, is the home of nearly eight million specimens, collected globally. The museum, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, Crocker Lane, is open to the public Monday through Thursday and also hosts special weekend open houses.
Meanwhile, the Bohart is gearing up for the sixth annual UC Davis Biodiversity Museum Day when the Bohart will be one of 12 museums or collections open to the public. The event, open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., will "showcase natural history, biodiversity and the cultural-ecological interface," said coordinator Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator for the Bohart Museum. The open house is free and open to all; parking is also free. All collections are within walking distance on campus except for the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven on Bee Biology Road for the Raptor Center on Old Davis Road.
Oh, what a (moth) night!
The event took place from 8 to 11 p.m. The crowd marveled at the moth specimens inside the museum, and then stepped outside to check the moths flying into blacklighting and mercury vapor setup.
Like a moth to a flame...
"We saw some familiar faces, but many new ones," said Tabatha Yang, public education and outreach coordinator for the Bohart Museum, home of nearly eight million insect specimens.
It was "getaway weekend" for a mother-daughter team. They booked room reservations a Davis hotel, and did some shopping. Then it was Moth Night. "The daughter, a high school sophomore, came here for the 4-H Field Day this spring," Yang noted. Keenly interested in entomology, the teenager decided the Bohart open house "was a good reason for her to come back."
Another teenage visitor was in a Tech Trek (a STEM outreach event for junior high girls) and brought her family to the open house.
Highlights of Moth Night included:
- Entomologist and Bohart associate Jeff Smith of Rocklin demonstrating Lepitodera preparation using material that entomologist Fran Keller recently brought back from Belize.
- "Moth Man" John DeBenedictis of Davis and Bohart senior museum scientist Steve Heydon showing the crowd the moths flying into the blacklighting and mercury vapor lighting setup.
- Bohart associate Greg Kareofelas of Davis guiding guests through the moth collection
Also helping were volunteers Maia Lundy, Fran Keller, Wade Spencer, Laura Morgan, Alex Nguyen, Melissa Cruz, Joel Hernandez, James Heydon, Anita Pratap, and Maria Nansen with daughters Miriam, 15, Emma, 12, and Molly, 6. Their father is a UC Davis entomologist. The sisters helped the visitors create buttons.
The event wrapped up "the very successful 10 weekend events we hosted this past academic year," Yang noted. "Stay tuned for the 2015-2016 Bohart 0pen Huse schedule to be announced later in August."
The museum is directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.