If you said "14," go to the head of the class.
Is it an insect? No, it's a crustacean.
When the Bohart Museum of Entomology hosts an open house on "Many-Legged Wonders" from 1 to 4 p.m., Saturday, March 18, among the critters showcased will be spiders, millipedes, centipedes, scorpions, tarantulas, and yes, isopods.
The event, free and family friendly, takes place in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, 455 Crocker Lane, UC Davis campus.
Elijah Shih, a third-year UC Davis transfer student studying neurobiology, physiology and behavior, will show his isopods. “Isopods come in many morphs and sizes," he says. "There are many colorful and beautifully patterned isopods, some natural, some man made. Isopods are crustaceans and require moisture to breathe and molt properly. Some species have the ability to conglobate or roll up in to the ball where as others do not. They are great for helping create a bioactive system for reptiles, planted tanks, and a great feeder for young reptiles and amphibians.”
“There are many isopod species in the world," Shih related, “and at least five common isopod species that are found in California: Porcellio laevis, Porcellio scaber, Armadillidium vulgare, Porcellio dilatatus, and Cubaris marina. Their morphs are considered wild type.”
Shih, who hopes to pursue a career in veterinary medicine, said he houses “many reptiles, both aquatic and terrestrial, such as the box turtle and gargoyle gecko. I wanted to create bioactive environments for my reptiles—(mainly to not have to pick up the feces)-- so I looked for ways to make that possible. I need something that was small, agile, prolific, and safe to be eaten. Isopods, better known as Rollie pillows or pill bugs, are the best solution for me. I had my isopods, but to complete the cleanup crew, I added springtails to help clean up any leftover food, but more importantly, the mold.”
Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator for the Bohart, announced that doctoral candidates Emma Jochim and Xavier Zahnle of the Jason Bond arachnology lab will dispel myths about spiders and millipedes at a question-and-answer session from 1 to 1:30. Doctoral student Iris Quayle will moderate.
From 1:30 to 4 p.m., will be the general open house with a showing of live animals and specimens. Bohart Museum research associate Brittany Kohler, the "zookeeper" of the Bohart petting zoo, says the current residents include:
- Princess Herbert, a Brazilian salmon-pink bird-eating tarantula (Lasiodora parahybana), age estimated to be around 20 (current oldest resident)
- Peaches, a Chilean rose hair tarantula (Grammostola rosea)
- Coco McFluffin, a Chaco golden knee tarantula (Grammostola pulchripes)
- Beatrice, a Vietnamese centipede (Scolopendra subspinipes), newest resident
- Two black widows (Latrodectus hesperus)
- One brown widow (Latrodectus geometricus)
Among the other residents are Madagascar hissing cockroaches, a giant cave cockroach, stick insects, a bark scorpion and ironclad beetles. A family arts-and-crafts activity is also planned.
The Bohart Museum, directed by UC Davis distinguished professor Lynn Kimsey, houses a global collection of eight million insect specimens, plus the petting zoo and a gift shop stocked with insect-themed books, posters, jewelry, t-shirts, hoodies and more. Dedicated to "understanding, documenting and communicating terrestrial arthropod diversity," the Bohart Museum was founded in 1946 and named for UC Davis professor and noted entomologist Richard Bohart. The insect museum is open to the public Mondays through Thursdays, from 8 a.m. to noon, and 1 to 5 p.m.
Annie is a pet scorpion belonging to Emma Jochim, a second-year doctoral student n the Jason Bond lab, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
"She's an Anuroctonus pococki so I call her 'Annie' for short!" said Jochim. "The common name is 'Californian swollen stinger scorpion' because they have an extra 'bulb' on their telson that most scorpions don't, so I think that's pretty neat about this species. I haven't tried to handle her because she seems pretty aggressive--stinging crickets/roaches as soon as I put them in front of her and attacking water when I pour some in her enclosure."
Jochim's labmate, Xavier Zahnle, found the scorpion while he was collecting millipedes "and brought her back to me so I'm not sure how old she is but I've had her for a year and a half."
Emma holds a bachelor's degree in biology, with a minor in geology and chemistry, from Millsaps College, Jackson, Miss., where she graduated summa cum laude. Her honors thesis: "Species Delimitation of Vaejovis Scorpions from the Santa Catalina Mountains Using Genetic, Morphological, and Geographical Data." While a student at Millsaps College, her outreach activities including sharing her knowledge of tarantulas, scorpions and vinegaroons at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science.
"Annie" will be just one of the live animals displayed in the Bohart Museum of Entomology/Jason Bond booth in the Conference Center. The Bond section also will include a live trapdoor spider (genus Hebestatis), a tarantula and millipedes, as well as specimens.
Doctoral candidate Lacie Newton of the Bond lab is coordinating the arachnid/myriapod section. Jason Bond, her major professor, is 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 there will be a small interactive station where people will be able to use props that mimic an insect flying into a web and learn more about the sensory structures that spiders have to detect those vibrations," Newton said.
Eleven Museums, Collections. Scientists from a total of 11 museums or collections will staff booths in the Conference Center. Represented will be the Arboretum and Public Garden, UC Davis Bee Haven, Bohart Museum of Entomology, Botanical Conservatory, California Raptor Center, Center for Plant Diversity, Department of Anthropology Museum, Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology, Nematode Collection, Paleontology Collection, and the Phaff Yeast Culture Collection. Visitors can sign up at the Conference Center for tours of several of the museums or collections. (See news story)
The UC Davis Biodiversity Museum Day is traditionally held on the Saturday of Presidents' Day weekend. However, last year's event was virtual, and this year's event is centrally located in an exposition. For more information, access the UC Davis Biodiversity Museum Day website and/or connect with Instagram,Twitter, and Facebook.
Bohart Fact Sheets on Scorpions. Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum and UC Davis distinguished professor of entomology, has published two Fact Sheets about scorpions on the Bohart website.
Scorpions are arachnids, Kimsey writes, "and like all arachnids, they have eight legs, although it looks like ten, and a body divided into two regions, the cephalothorax (the head plus thorax) and the abdomen...The scorpion exoskeleton is different from that of similar groups. Something about it causes scorpions to fluoresce bright blue to green under ultraviolet light. So in the desert its easy to find them at night with a black light."
Kimsey describes scorpions as "nocturnal predators. During the day they hide under stones, logs or boards, or in cracks and holes in the ground. They prey on ground-dwelling insects and other small animals. Scorpions will occasionally wander into homes, particularly in new housing developments. New housing developments often encroach upon the scorpions' normal habitat and as a result these animals will blunder into homes searching for prey and shelter. Within several years, scorpions will no longer live in these areas because of the lack of suitable habitat and prey."
"The majority of California scorpion species average about 2 inches long as adults, however, some exotic species can be as long as 6 inches. Scorpions occur throughout the milder parts of California, including the Sierra foothills and the coastal mountains. Most of the species of scorpions in California pose no more threat to humans than do ordinary bees and wasps."
How long do they live? "Adult scorpions generally live two to three years," Kimsey relates. "They do not begin producing young until they are nearly a year old. Females produce between 20 and 30 live young at a time. Young scorpions are carried on the female's back for the first 5-15 days of life."
They share a name, for one thing.
When evolutonary biologist-taxonomist Chris Hamilton, a former doctoral student at Auburn University, Alabama, and now on the University of Idaho faculty, led a research team near the site of California's Folsom State Prison to look for tarantulas, he discovered a new species, solid black in color.
He named it Aphonopelma johnnycashi after Johnny Cash, the legendary country singer known as "The Man in Black."
Fast forward to this week:
Hamilton, now assistant professor in the Department of Entomology, Plant Pathology and Nematology, will speak on tarantula diversity when he presents a virtual seminar at 4:10 p.m., Wednesday, April 21 to the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. His title: "Understanding Aphonopelma Diversity across the Madrean Pine-Oak Woodlands Hotspot by Integrating Western Science and Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK)." Click on this link to access the seminar.
Hosting the seminar is Jason Bond, the Evert and MarionSchlinger Endowed Chair in Insect Systematics, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, and Hamilton's major professor at Auburn University. Hamilton received his doctorate in evolutionary biology from Auburn University in 2015, after earning his master's degree in biology in 2009 from the University of Texas at Arlington.
"Dr. Hamilton does great work on terrestrial arthropods with an emphasis on mygalomorph spiders (trapdoor spiders, tarantulas and their kin)," Bond commented.
Hamilton's abstract: "Within the world of theraphosid systematics, the genus Aphonopelma has received considerable attention in recent years. But despite these efforts, the group's diversity remains poorly understood in the Madrean Pine-Oak Woodlands Hotspot located in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico--an ecoregion known for its exceptional biodiversity and endemicity. It has long been thought that Aphonopelma was a 'taxonomic and nomenclatural nightmare' because across their distributions, similarly sized species are often frustratingly similar morphologically. This is all too obvious when examining populations in the Madrean Sky Islands and Sierra Madre Occidental, as their shared evolutionary history and divergence in similar isolated habitats has produced very similar phenotypes. This work looks to employ an integrative approach for delimiting species that incorporates information from morphology (traditional and advanced techniques) and molecules (phylogenomics), as well as data on ecology (niche, distribution, and behavior) and how Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) of the Apache and Tohono O'odham peoples may help piece the puzzle together. As we continue to investigate some of the more remote and hard-to-access mountain ranges, we have discovered that most independent ranges harbor their own divergent and distinct lineages that may represent new species."
Hamilton received his doctorate in entomology from Auburn University; his master's degree from the University of Texas at Arlington; and his bachelor's degree from Western Kentucky University.
Hamilton's naming of the new tarantula species drew widespread interest. Lindsay Miles of Auburn University's Office of Communications and Marketing wrote a 2016 news release: "The species, Aphonopelma johnnycashi, was found in California near the site of Folsom State Prison, which Cash made famous in his song Folsom Prison Blues. The mature male Aphonopelma johnnycashi measures up to 6 inches across and is generally solid black in color, much like Cash's distinctive style of dress from which his nickname, 'The Man in Black,' was coined."
"Along with the Aphonopelma johnnycashi, Hamilton's study determined there are only 29 species of tarantula in the United States, 14 of which are new to science. Researchers had previously identified 55 species. The new descriptions nearly double the number of species known from the American Southwest, a region described as a biodiversity hotspot featuring frigid mountains and scorching deserts."
The team, Miles wrote, "spent more than a decade searching for tarantulas throughout the American Southwest and studied almost 3,000 specimens, undertaking the most comprehensive taxonomic study ever preformed on a group of tarantulas." The study was part of Hamilton's dissertation, which was funded by two National Science Foundation grants made to Auburn University.
In the news story, Bond, then chair of the Department of Biological Sciences, praised Hamilton as "an accomplished field biologist and taxonomist (who) is also doing cutting-edge genomics research."
Miles pointed out that "Although this is the first time Johnny Cash has been honored by an Auburn researcher, Auburn University professors have garnered national attention in the past for naming celebrities, characters and even President Obama, with a species name. Bond has named species of trapdoor spiders after U2's Bono, actress Angelina Jolie and talk show host Stephen Colbert, to name a few. Jonathan Armbruster, also of the Department of Biological Sciences, made headlines last year when he named a newly discovered catfish species after the Star Wars fan favorite, Greedo."
Cooperative Extension specialist Ian Grettenberger is coordinating the spring seminars and may be reached at email@example.com for any technical questions.
It was a great day to get acquainted with insects and arachnids and learn how to raise them.
And the nearly 300 visitors did just that at the recent UC Davis Bohart Museum of Entomology open house, "Arthropod Husbandry: Raising Insects for Research and Fun." The guests held the critters, photographed them, and asked questions of the scientists.
At first they didn't see the praying mantids reared by entomologist and UC Davis alumnus Lohit Garikipati. They were there, all right, but camouflaged amid the leaves and branches.
The five species of mantids Garikipati displayed included a tropical shield praying mantis, Choeradodis stalii, also known as a hooded mantis or leaf mantis, and a spiny flower praying mantis, Pseudocreobotra wahlbergii.
UC Davis entomology student Andrew Goffinet, a former UC Davis Bio Boot Camper, discussed rearing butterflies and moths. He showed the visitors a display of Gulf Fritillaries, caterpillars and a chrysalis.
Entomology alumnus Nicole Tam, showed her beetle-mimicking roaches and talked about rearing insects in the Geoffrey Attardo lab. Doctoral student and Bohart associate Ziad Khouri explained how to rear tarantulas and millipedes. Entomology student Ben Maples kept the crowd interested with the "hissers"--Madagascar hissing cockroaches.
Jeff Smith, who curates the Lepidoptera section, and naturalist Greg Kareofelas, opened the drawers of butterflies and moths. Entomology student Ian Clark staffed the family crafts activity, assisting youngsters in making decorated finger puppets from Seker-donated silkworm cocoons.
Entomologist Ann Kao, a 2019 UC Davis graduate and newly employed by the California Department of Food and Agriculture, crafted and displayed her insect jewelry.
Tabatha Yang, educational and outreach coordinator, coordinated the open house. The Bohart crew also included Bohart associates Emma Cluff, James Heydon, Brennen Dyer and Xiaofan Yang.
Special guests included 40 students from the Samuel Jackson Middle School and the James Rutter Middle School, Elk Grove Unified School District, in a program offering special educational opportunities and mentoring. The youths wore t-shirts lettered with "The Power of Us" on the front, and "Resilient, Authentic, Passionate" on the back.
The Bohart Museum, directed by Lynn Kimsey, UC Davis professor of entomology, 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.
In addition to the specimens, the Bohart Museum maintains a live "petting zoo," featuring Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks or stick insects and tarantulas. The museum's gift shop, open year around, is stocked with T-shirts, sweatshirts, books, jewelry, posters, insect-collecting equipment and insect-themed candy.
A female and male Gulf Frit find one another.
Near them, Gulf Frit caterpillars hungrily munch the leaves. Soon they will form a chrysalis. From egg to larvae to chrysalis to adult.
If you'd like to learn to rear butterflies, silkworm moths, praying mantids or tarantulas, attend the UC Davis Bohart Museum of Entomology open house on “Arthropod Husbandry: Raising Insects for Research and Fun” from 1 to 4 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 16 in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane. It's free and family friendly.
UC Davis student Andrew Goffinet, a former UC Davis Bio Boot Camper, will be on hand to talk about rearing butterflies and moths. UC Davis entomology alumnus Lohit Garikipati will discuss praying mantids. Another entomology alumnus Nicole Tam, will talk about rearing insects in the Geoffrey Attardo lab as part of research projects. Doctoral student and Bohart associate Zaid Khouri's topic is how to rear tarantulas and millipedes for fun.
"We also will be discussing Madagascar hissing cockroaches (hissers) as good options for 'starter pets' for kids, and some of the problems with stick insects (walking sticks)," said Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator. Visitors are invited to hold the hissers and stick insects and photograph them.
At 3 p.m., silkworm moth expert İsmail Şeker, a Turkish medical doctor who wrote a book about silkworm moths and the cottage silk industry in his home town, will show his newly produced video about the silkworm moth life cycle. Seker, also a talented videographer and a photographer, will answer questions following his 13-minute video presentation.
"This will be a fun open house for anyone considering a pet with an exoskeleton," Yang said."It will be good for educators to learn about classroom 'pets,' including those who do work with silk moths for life cycle lesson plans."
"Also, to kick off the holiday season we will have the unique wire jewelry by former entomology major Ann Kao, so people should be prepared to shop for some unique insect-inspired jewelry." A family craft activity is also planned.
This is the last open house of the year. The next open house will be on Jan. 18 when UC Davis graduate students from many different fields "will be talking/displaying about their cutting edge research with insects," Yang said.
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 or stick insects and tarantulas. The museum's gift shop, open year around, is stocked with T-shirts, sweatshirts, books, jewelry, posters, insect-collecting equipment and insect-themed candy.
Director of the museum is Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis. The staff includes Steve Heydon, senior museum scientist; Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator; and Jeff Smith, who curates the Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) section.
More information on the Bohart Museum is available on the website at http://bohart.ucdavis.edu or by contacting (530) 752-0493 or firstname.lastname@example.org.