- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
And create a "new species" of wasp in the process.
A penny-farthing, as the UC Davis community knows, is also called a high wheel bicycle or high wheeler. The front wheel is much larger than the rear wheel. And a wasp, as entomologists know, belongs to the order Hymenoptera, which includes bees, ants and wasps.
The end result of the art/science fusion project: the winning entry in the annual T-shirt contest sponsored by the Entomology Graduate Students' Association, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
“I wanted to draw a penny-farthing, which is part of the UC Davis culture,” said winning artist Stacey Rice, a junior specialist in the lab of Extension entomologist Larry Godfrey. “Then I wanted an insect that would be able to put its abdomen on the seat and have long enough legs to reach the pedals.”
“I love the new design and think it translated very well on the t-shirts,” said EGSA treasurer and entomology graduate student Cindy Preto of the Frank Zalom lab. “I expect it to be a great seller.”
In the Godfrey lab, Rice doesn't work with wasps. She does research on Bagrada bugs (Bagrada hilaris), an invasive stink bug from Africa known for attacking cole crops, including broccoli, cabbage, collards, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, and mustard.
An alumnus of UC Davis, Rice received her bachelor's degree in biological sciences with a minor in veterinary entomology in March 2015. Her goal is to attend graduate school and receive her doctorate, either in integrated pest management (IPM) or forensic entomology.
Rice, who grew up in Roseville and graduated from Oakmont High School, enjoys combining art with science in her ceramic art classes at the UC Davis Crafts Center.
The "Hymenoptera on Bicycle" t-shirt can be ordered in unisex heather navy with white lettering ($15 for small, medium, large, extra large and 2x); youth navy with white lettering ($15 for small, medium and large); and women's cut, heather red with light yellow lettering ($17 for small, medium and large).
The t-shirts from years past include "The Beetles" (reminiscent of The Beatles' Abbey Road album), a weevil (See no weevil, hear no weevil, speak no weevil), a dung beetle, honey bee and comb, and a "wanna bee."
Among the other favorites is "Entomology's Most Wanted." Former graduate students Nicholas Herold and Emily Bzydk featured "bug shots" (a take-off of "mug shots") of the malaria mosquito (Anopheles gambiae), the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) bed bug, (Cimex lecturalius), and the housefly (Musca domestica). They're among the most hated of insects.
The wasp on a wheel is probably destined to become a favorite, too, especially among the bicycling and insect science communities.
That's how we roll at UC Davis!