- (Focus Area) Family
There was the bee family: the queen bee, the drone and the worker bee. That would be entomologist Leslie Saul-Gershenz and biologist Norman Gershenz, the husband-wife team behind SaveNature.Org, a non-profit Bay Area-based organization devoted to insects.
Leslie, who holds a doctorate in entomology from UC Davis, is the associate director of research, Wild Energy Initiative, John Muir Institute of the Environment at UC Davis. The worker bee? That would be their service dog. The "worker" bee, however,spent most of her time sleeping beneath a table while the queen bee and drone mingled in the hive of activity around them.
Forensic entomologist Robert Kimsey wore his ghillie suit. Bohart associate Emma Cluff came dressed as "The Mad Hatter." Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator, disguised herself as a monarch caterpillar.
One of the highlights was a parasitoid pinata crafted by doctoral student Charlotte Herbert Alberts and husband, insect enthusiast George Alberts. They drew inspiration from the party invitation of artist and entomology alumnus Nicole Tam.
Of her art, Tam said: "All good things come in groups of three like the heads of Kerberos. Also, I just really wanted to draw a three-headed wasp! The wasps I used for this art piece were from the genera Polistes, Synoeca, and Dolichovespula."
The Bohart Museum, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane, 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, it maintains a live "petting zoo," featuring Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks or stick insects, tarantulas; and a year-around gift shop 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.
The museum is open to the public Mondays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m., except on holidays. 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.
The Bohart Museum of Entomology at the University of California, Davis, is sponsoring its annual "Parasitoid Palooza" open house on Saturday, Oct. 19 from 1 to 4 p.m. in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane.
"An insect parasitoid is a species whose immatures live off of an insect host, often eating it from the inside out," said Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator of the Bohart Museum. "It is part of their life cycle and the host generally dies."
The event, free and family friendly, will include a display by senior museum scientist Steve Heydon, who studies Pteromalids, or jewel wasps, a group of tiny parasitoids. He will be available for questions about his research or parasitoids.
There are some 3,450 described species of Pteromalids, found throughout the world and in virtually all habitats. Many are important as biological control agents.
Also planned at the open house:
- A family craft activity, to be announced
- Sampling of Chirp Chips, from the Bohart Museum's recent entomophagy open house
- Display of orange and black Harlequin beetles (just in time for Halloween) from the Ian Grettenberger lab, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
- Display of cucumber beetles, which can be a pest on squashes, cucumbers and other members of the cucurbits family
The Bohart Museum, directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis, 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.
Special attractions include a “live” petting zoo, featuring Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks, praying mantids and tarantulas. Visitors are invited to hold some of the insects and photograph them. 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 holds special open houses throughout the academic year. Its 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.
More information on the Bohart Museum is available by contacting (530) 752-0493 or emailing email@example.com or Tabatha Yang at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sure you have.
Insect fragments are in just about all the foods we eat, from chocolate to coffee to wheat flour to pizza sauce to beer and more. An insect control company estimates that we eat, on the average, 140,000 "bug bits" every year. (See Business Insider.)
But now you can REALLY eat a bug. And experience the joy and adventure of eating a new and exciting kind of protein.
The Bohart Museum of Entomology is hosting an open house themed "Gobble, Gobble, Munch, Munch, Crunch: Entomophagy,” from 1 to 4 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 21 in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane. Open to the public, it's free and family friendly, said Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum and professor of entomology at UC Davis.
“The theme is entomophagy and we have some samples from various companies coming our way,” said Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator. Companies providing samples include Hotlix, Exo and Chirps Chips.
"Just think of insects as terrestrial shrimp or crab," said senior museum scientist Steve Heydon.
In preparation for the event, Bohart Museum volunteer Iris Bright, a second-year biology major at Sacramento City College, sampled crickets, mealworms and earthworms last week.
Bright liked them all. “They're good,” she said, as she tasted red, green and blue earthworms. She described them as having "a sweet and sour taste." The mealworms? “Somewhat cheesy.”
“The crickets are crunchy," she said, adding "I've had them before.”
Bright, who plans to obtain a degree in biology and a field ecology certificate and then her master's degree, joined the Bohart Museum of Entomology/Folsom Lake College team that recently collected insects in Belize. She's studied with Belize bioblitz team leader Fran Keller, an assistant professor at Folsom Lake College who received her doctorate in entomology at UC Davis.
Eighty percent of the world population, including those living in Central and South America, Africa, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand, consume insects as a high protein source. Some 1700 species of insects are edible.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has registered some 1,900 edible insect species and estimates that there were, in 2005, some two billion insect consumers worldwide. FAO suggests eating insects as a possible solution to environmental degradation caused by livestock production. Insects and arachnids eaten globally include crickets, cicadas, grasshoppers, ants, various beetle grubs (such as mealworms, the larvae of the darkling beetle, various species of caterpillars (such as bamboo worms, Mopani worms, silkworms and waxworms), scorpions and tarantulas, according to Wikipedia.
Spencer Michels in a PBS News Hour report in May 2017, commented: “But the big advantage of eating insects is that they are generally healthier than meat. A six-ounce serving of crickets has 60 percent less saturated fat and twice as much vitamin B-12 than the same amount of ground beef. ..Bugs also don't spread disease to humans the way cows — think mad cow disease– or pigs can.”
“I do realize that insects do have a bad rap,” California Academy of Sciences entomologist Brian Fisher recently said. “Most people see insects are pests or as dangerous. But it's just the opposite. Insects are less dangerous and less of a problem for humans in terms of disease."
“We do have concerns about disease jumping from animals like pigs and cows to humans,” Fisher said. “But there are no worries about a disease jumping from an insect to humans. The more evolutionary distant we are from our food source, the less danger there is. … There is almost zero chance that any disease that affects an insect could actually impact a human after it's cooked.”
Celebrity bug chef David George Gordon, author of the “Eat-a-Bug” cookbook, extolled the virtues of the “bugs as food” movement when he addressed a UC Davis audience in 2014 at the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science. Insects are an environmentally friendly source of protein, he said, and bug farming reduces greenhouse gas emissions and is exponentially more water-efficient than farming for beef, chicken, or pigs.
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, 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 museum is open to the public Mondays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m., except on holidays. More information on the Bohart Museum is available on the website at http://bohart.ucdavis.edu or by contacting (530) 752-0493 or email@example.com. (See list of open houses for the 2019-2020 academic year.)
The Bohart Museum of Entomology at UC Davis boasts one of the world's largest tardigrade (water bear) collections, and what Lynn Kimsey wants to do, will certainly add to that point.
Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum and UC Davis professor of entomology, plans to grace the entrance with a tardigrade sculpture, a concrete sculpture that will measure about 4 feet by eight feet.
"I've been in touch with the sculptor Solomon Bassoff (Faducciart) in Roseville," Kimsey said. "He did the caterpillar in the Davis Central Park."
"The reason for this is that we have one of the world's largest tardigrade collections, which was compiled by (senior museum scientist) Steve Heydon's predecessor, Bob Schuster," she said. "Tardigrades are really popular with kids in part because of their representation in the movies Ant-Man and Ant-Man and the Wasp, Star Trek and Family Guy."
Kimsey wrote about the tardigrades in her newsletter several years ago. The water bear "has to be one of the most peculiar and indestructible groups of animals known," she wrote. The microscopic and nearly indestructible tardigrade can survive being heated to 304 degrees Fahrenheit or being chilled for days at -328 F. And, even if it's frozen for 30 years, it can still reproduce." See video on EurekAlert.
The Bohart collection includes some 25,000 slide-mounted specimens. Kimsey and collaborator Carl Johannsen work on a National Science Foundation grant "to database and conserve" the collection.
"This collection is the result of years of collecting, mounting, imaging, and identifying by former collection manager Bob Schuster and emeritus professor Al Grigarick and their collaborators," she noted.
In appearance, the pudgy water bear seems as cuddly as a teddy bear. It has a barrel-shaped body and eight pudgy legs. The adults usually range from 0.3 to 0.5 mm in length.
German zoologist Johann August Ephraim Goeze (1731-1793) first described the critters in 1773, referring to them as "kleiner Wasserbär," or "little water bears."
They mostly feed on plants or bacteria "but some are predators on smaller tardigrades," Kimsey says. They use the stylets in their tubular mouth (snout) to pierce "individual plant or bacterial ells or small invertebrates."
Why is the water bear so indestructible? In research published in 2016, geneticist Takekazu Kunieda and his colleagues from the University of Tokyo found that the water bear expresses a tardigrade-specific protein that binds itself to DNA. This acts like a "shield against x-ray radiation, preventing the DNA from snapping apart," according to an article published in Gizmodo.
"Tardigrades are awesome," Kimsey said. "They can dry out completely and then become immortal. In fact, SpaceIL may have left thousands of dried tardigrades on the moon when it crashed earlier this year."
Stuffed toy water bears are also popular in the Bohart Museum's gift shop, which also includes insect-themed books, posters, t-shirts, jewelry, candy, and insect collecting equipment.
The museum, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane, houses nearly 8 million insect specimens, collected globally. It also maintains a live "petting zoo" featuring Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks and tarantulas.
And soon, there may very well be a tardigrade out front. The Bohart Museum Society has set up an account on Go Fund Me; see https://www.gofundme.com/f/waterbear-sculpture
Comments on Go Fund Me include:
- Great initiative that I am happy to support!
- Tardigrades were some of my childhood friends
- Favis seems like a great place for a tardigrade sculpture! I'm inspired by the tardigradologists & nematologists I've admired there. A eutardigrade seems like it'd be less prone to causing injuries, but I can support a heterotardigrade :)
- Robert Schuster, UCD Bohart Museum, was instrumental in my career studying tardigrades. He taught me how to identify the species (known at that time) and how to use the SEM. His tardigrade collection is housed in the Bohart Museum.
The Bohart Museum entrance may be "bare" today, but when a water bear arrives, one thing's for sure: kids and adults alike will love it "beary" much.
And some of them are quite attractive.
Take the Stiriini moth, Annaphila astrologa.
We saw our first-ever last March in our pollinator garden. Art Shapiro, distinguished professor of evolution and ecology, UC Davis Department of Evolution and Ecology, and naturalist Greg Kareofelas, an associate at the Bohart Museum of Entomology, identified it as a Annaphila astrologa, a small Noctuid.
"It's a medium-sized genus of attractive day-flying moths,” Shapiro said.
It's a species of owlet moth in the family Noctuidae, first described by William Barnes and James Halliday Mcunnough in 1918. A host plant is whispering bells, Emmenanthe penduliflora, a grassland wildflower native to California, according to calscape.org.
Moths and butterflies share the same order, Lepidoptera, but they don't share much else. Moths usually fly at night, not during the day, and moths are generally dull in coloring, compared to butterflies. Moths also outnumber butterflies. Scientists estimate there are some 160,000 described species of moths in the world, as compared to about 17,500 species of butterflies.
Want to learn more about moths? Attend the Bohart Museum of Entomology's Moth Night, set from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 3. It's all free and family friendly. You can:
- View the moths (and butterflies) in the collection curated by entomologist Jeff Smith.
- Talk to the scientists, including senior museum scientist Steve Heydon of the Bohart Museum; Jeff Smith, curator of the the moth and butterfly specimens; and Bohart associates "Moth Man" John DeBenedictis and Greg Kareofelas.
- Check out the display of silkworm moths and silks curated by Emma Cluff. The silkworm moths are from the Bohart Museum collection and the textiles were donated by Richard Peigler, a biology professor at the University of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio, Texas
- Engage in a family craft activity; "kids will be able to color and string white cocoons and make necklaces or bracelets with them," Cluff says.
- Watch the insects that touch down on the blacklighting display, which involves a hanging white sheet illuminated by a generator-powered ultraviolet (UV) light. This won't occur until darkness falls, usually starting around 9 or 9:30.
- Enjoy a cup of hot chocolate and a cookie. (Carafs from Common Grounds Coffee)
- Hold and photograph Madagascar hissing cockroaches and a stick insects (walking sticks), and get up close to the tarantulas, all in the live "petting zoo." There may even be caterpillars on display, according to Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator. They are 3rd instar Antheraea polyphemus larvae, feeding on oak, from West Sacramento. These Polyphemus moths are members of the family Saturniidae, the giant silk moths.
The Bohart Museum houses a global collection of nearly eight million specimens. Founded in 1946 by Richard M. Bohart (1913-2007), and directed by Lynn Kimsey, UC Davis professor of entomology, it is also the home of the seventh largest insect collection in North America; the California Insect Survey, a storehouse of the insect biodiversity; a live "petting zoo" and a gift shop.
The Bohart Museum's regular hours have changed for the summer season. As of July 3, the insect museum is hosting 30-minute tours starting at 2:30 and 3:30 pm. No reservations are required and all ages are welcome. Admission is free, but donations are always welcomed. The Bohart is open to walk-in visitors Monday through Thursday from 1 to 5 p.m. It is closed from 9 a.m. to noon to walk-in visits (the insect museum conducts many tours and outreach programs during those times). More information on the Bohart Museum is available on the website or by contacting (530) 752-0493 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Moths, Smithsonian Institution