- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
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.)
- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
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.