- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
What a night--both inside and outside the Bohart Museum of Entomology at the University of California, Davis on Saturday, July 21.
While moths and other insects fluttered to the blacklighting display, visitors flocked inside the museum to see the specimens, and engage one-on-one with scientists.
The UC Davis event was the first in a series of summer weekend programs. In fact, "Moth Night" is the only Bohart Museum public event held at night; it takes place annually in conjunction with National Moth Week, a celebration of the beauty, life cycles and habitats of moths. (See yesterday's Bug Squad blog on blacklighting and the moth families recorded by "Moth Man" John DeBenedictis.)
Inside the Bohart Museum last Saturday, retired entomologist Norm Smith, who received his doctorate at UC Davis studying with major professor Richard Bohart (for whom the museum is named) fielded questions about moths and field collecting, as did senior museum scientist Steve Heydon, and Bohart Museum associates Jeff Smith (who curates the butterfly and moth section) of Rocklin; Greg Kareofelas of Davis, naturalist and insect photographer; entomologist Fran Keller, assistant professor at Folsom Lake College (she holds a doctorate in entomology from UC Davis) and entomologist and college student Noah Crockette of Sacramento.
Among the specimen attractions was the white witch moth (Thysania agrippina), which at 11 inches, holds the record for largest wingspan in insects. The caterpillar of this moth can reach 7 inches long. The species is found in Mexico and Central and South America.
Moths are among the most diverse and successful organisms on earth. Scientists estimate there are 150,000 to more than 500,000 moth species. Most are nocturnal.
Visitors enjoyed cookies and hot chocolate. Common Grounds, a Davis coffee shop, provided the large containers of hot water, said Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator. The family craft activity involved decorating wax candles with moth and butterfly replicas.
Meanwhile, Bohart officials are gearing up for the two remaining summer programs, which are free, open to the public, and family friendly:
- "Fire and Ice: Extreme California Insects," set from 1 to 4 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 19.
- "Crafty Insects," set from 1 to 4 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 22.
The Bohart Museum is located in held Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, Crocker Lane. Directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis, the 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. In addition to the petting zoo, the museum features a year-around gift shop, which is stocked with 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.
- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum and Tabatha Yang, public education and outreach coordinator, have just announced the schedule for the special weekend hours for the academic year.
The museum, world-renowned for its global collection of some eight million insects, is located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane, UC Davis.
Admission? Free. Parking? Free. It doesn't get any better than that! Visitors find it both educational and entertaining.
- Sunday, Sept. 18, 1 to 4 p.m.: “UnBelize-able Expedition: Collecting Tropical Insects” (summer collection trip led by Bohart associate/entomologist Fran Keller, assistant professor of biology, Folsom Lake College, and Dave Wyatt, professor of biology at Sacramento City College)
- Saturday, Nov. 19: 1 to 4 p.m.: “Uninvited Guests: Common Pests Found in the Home”
- Sunday, Jan. 22: 1 to 4 p.m.: “Parasite Palooza: Botflies, Fleas and Mites, Oh, My”
- Saturday, Feb. 18: (varying times throughout campus): Biodiversity Museum Day, an opportunity to explore 11 UC Davis collections
- Sunday, March 19: 1 to 4 p.m.: “Eggs to Wings: Backyard Butterfly Gardening”
- Saturday, April 22: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.: “”UC Davis Picnic Day”
The Bohart Museum also maintains a live “petting zoo,” featuring walking sticks, Madagascar hissing cockroaches and tarantulas. Current residents also include Gulf Fritillary caterpillars and chrysalids (soon to be butterflies), and a female juvenile praying mantis. A 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. The museum is closed to the public on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and on major holidays. Admission is free.
Here's a look--in pictures--at some of the educational and fun activities at the last open house, held July 30. Visitors learned about moths and other insects (it featured National Moth Night), met the scientists one-on-one, engaged in family activities, and checked out the collections.
And, oh, yes, you can take selfies with such critters as a rose-haired tarantula and a walking stick!