The event, free and open to the public, begins at 10 a.m. on the Wyatt Deck. It is billed as an event to “explore the amazing diversity of butterflies and moths both near and far.” All ages are invited.
Butterflies they spot may include monarchs, gulf fritillaries, and pipevine swallowtails, as well as skippers and cabbage whites. Hernandez will also display his own collections of butterflies.
Hernandez, who received a bachelor of science degree in entomology from UC Davis in 2014, currently works for the Steve Seybold lab as a research/field assistant. He hopes to attend graduate school and receive his doctorate in entomology.
Hernandez worked for the Sharon Lawler lab for four years, both as a student and as a post-graduation junior specialist. A volunteer at the Bohart Museum of Entomology and the UC Davis Arboretum, he recently participated on a Bohart Museum insect collecting trip with entomologist/Bohart associate Fran Keller. “It was an amazing experience,” he said.
Hernandez has collected and curated insects for 19 years. “I have a passion for Lepitoptera and would like to use it as a target group for research in graduate school,” he said. “The species of butterfly that interests me the most is the blue morpho. The family of moths that interests me the most and the one I would like to study is Sphingidae.”
"I've been interested in insects ever since I was small," Hernandez said. "It was their unique life histories and morphologies that really propelled my passion for insects and entomology. What draws me to butterflies is the plethora of different colors and patterns that they display on their wings, as well as their life cycle.”
Hernandez presented a well-attended talk and tour on butterflies and moths at the Arboretum last September. Elaine Fingerett, the Arboretum's academic coordinator, chronicled the event in photos.
For more information, contact the Arboretum at (530) 752-4880 or by email, email@example.com.
The book, published by Oxford University Press, will be available for purchase that night or attendees may bring their own copy for signing.
The event is co-sponsored by Jay Rosenheim, professor of entomology, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, and by the department. Epstein is a longtime research associate and friend of Rosenheim's.
Epstein is a senior insect biosystematist for the order Lepitopdera (butterflies, moths) with the Plant Pest Diagnostics Branch, California Department of Food and Agriculture. He is a research associate for the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), Smithsonian Institution.
Harrison G. Dyar Jr. (1866-1929) was a Smithsonian entomologist of the early 20th century. He was a taxonomist who published extensively on moths and butterflies (Lepidoptera), mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae), and sawflies (Hymenoptera: Symphyta). As a teenager, he studied insects, particularly moths. He received his bachelor's degree in chemistry in 1889 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and his master's degree in biology from Columbia University in 1894. His doctoral dissertation (1895) dealt with airborne bacteria in New York City.
"On September 26, 1924, the ground collapsed beneath a truck in a back alley in Washington, D.C., revealing a mysterious underground labyrinth. In spite of wild speculations, the tunnel was not the work of German spies, but rather an aging, eccentric Smithsonian scientist named Harrison Gray Dyar, Jr. While Dyar's covert tunneling habits may seem far-fetched, they were merely one of many oddities in Dyar's unbelievable life.
"For the first time, insect biosystematist Marc E. Epstein presents a complete account of Dyar's life story. Dyar, one of the most influential biologists of the twentieth century, focused his entomological career on building natural classifications of various groups of insects. His revolutionary approach to taxonomy, which examined both larval and adult stages of insects, brought about major changes in the scientific community's understanding of natural relationships and insect systematics. He was also the father of what came to be known as Dyar's Law, a pragmatic method to standardize information on insect larval stages as they grow. Over the course of his illustrious career at the U.S. National Museum, Smithsonian Institution from 1897-1929, Dyar named over 3,000 species, established the List of North American Lepidoptera, an unrivaled catalog of moths and butterflies, and built one of the nation's premier lepidoptera and mosquito collections.
"However, Dyar's scientific accomplishments are a mere component of this remarkable biography. Epstein offers an account of Dyar's complicated personal life, from his feuds with fellow entomologists to the scandalous revelation that he was married to two wives at the same time. Epstein also chronicles Dyar's exploration of the Baha'i faith, his extensive travels, his innumerable works of unpublished fiction, and the loss of his wealth from bad investments. Comprehensive and engaging, Moths, Myths, and Mosquitoes will delight entomologists and historians alike, as well as anyone interested in exploring the zany life of one of America's virtually unknown scientific geniuses."
Epstein researches and writes on evolution and classification of moths and their biodiversity, and develops identification tools for moths that threaten agriculture. He served with NMNH's Department of Entomology (1988-2003), co-founding the department's Archives and Illustration Archives.
Epstein's research on caterpillars, including images and videos, is featured in the NMNH exhibit "More than Meets the Eye." He was a guest on NPR's "Fresh Air" about his work on the book "Night Visions: the Secret Design of Moths." Epstein's published work includes a Smithsonian monograph on limacodid moths and the article "Digging for Dyar: the Man Behind the Myth" with Pamela M. Henson.
Epstein received his master's degree (1982) and doctorate (1988) from the University of Minnesota.
For more information on the April 28th event, contact Jay Rosenheim at firstname.lastname@example.org.
DAVIS--Beer for a butterfly.
If you collect the first live cabbage white butterfly (Pieris rapae) of 2016 within the three-county area of Yolo, Sacramento or Solano and it's verified as the winner, you can win a pitcher of beer or its equivalent from the sponsor, UC Davis professor Art Shapiro.
Shapiro, distinguished professor in the UC Davis Department of Evolution and Ecology, is sponsoring his annual “Beer for a Butterfly” contest to draw attention to Pieris rapae and its first flight.
The contest, launched in 1972, is all part of Shapiro's four-decade study of climate and butterfly seasonality that he began in 1971. “It is typically one of the first butterflies to emerge in late winter. Since 1972, the first flight has varied from Jan. 1 to Feb. 22, averaging about Jan. 20.”
Shapiro, who is in the field more than 200 days a year, usually wins his own contest because he knows where to look, won the 2015 contest by netting a cabbage white at 12:30 p.m.. Monday, Jan. 26 in West Sacramento, Yolo County. The site: a mustard patch near the railroad tracks.
“It was a very easy catch; I suspect he emerged that morning and that was his first flight.”
Has he seen any lately? “It was flying as of Dec. 22,” he said.
Although the first flight of the cabbage white has been as late as Feb. 22, it is emerging earlier and earlier as the regional climate has warmed, Shapiro said. “There have been only two occasions in the 21st century in which it has come out this late: Jan 26, 2006 and Jan 31, 2011.”
"I do long-term studies of butterfly life cycles and climate," he said. "Such studies are especially important to help us understand biological responses to climate change. The cabbage white is now emerging a week or so earlier on average than it did 30 years ago here."
The professor, fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Royal Entomological Society and the California Academy of Sciences, said the cabbage white butterfly inhabits vacant lots, fields and gardens where its host plants, weedy mustards, grow.
The white butterfly, with black dots on the upperside (which may be faint or not visible in the early season), inhabits vacant lots, fields and gardens where its host plants, weedy mustards, grow.
The male is white. The female is often slightly buffy; the "underside of the hindwing and apex of the forewing may be distinctly yellow and normally have a gray cast,” Shapiro says. “The black dots and apical spot on the upperside tend to be faint or even to disappear really early in the season.”
The contest rules include:
- It must be an adult (no caterpillars or pupae) and be captured outdoors.
- It must be brought in alive to the department office, 2320 Storer Hall, UC Davis, during work hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, with the full data (exact time, date and location of the capture) and your name, address, phone number and/or e-mail. The receptionist will certify that it is alive and refrigerate it. (If you collect it on a weekend or holiday, keep it in a refrigerator; do not freeze. A few days in the fridge will not harm it.
- Shapiro is the sole judge.
Shapiro has been defeated only three times since 1972. And all were his graduate students. Adam Porter defeated him in 1983; and Sherri Graves and Rick VanBuskirk each won in the late 1990s.
Shapiro maintains a website on butterflies at http://butterfly.ucdavis.edu/, where he records the population trends he monitors in Central California. He and artist Tim Manolis co-authored A Field Guide to Butterflies of the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento Valley Regions, published in 2007 by the University of California Press.
The seminar, hosted by graduate student Meredith Cenzer of the Louie Yang lab, is from 12:10 to 1 p..m. in 122 Briggs Hall.
Singer will discuss host shifts in checkerspot butterflies. For four decades, he has studied butterfly-host plant ecology, evolution and behavior, and more recently, phenological responses to climate change.
Singer formerly taught at the University of Texas, Austin, or what he refers to as his former "teaching and butterfly evolution empire."
From his website: "Singer has had a massive influence on generations of undergraduate and graduate students at UT and researchers on butterfly ecology and behavior elsewhere."
Plans call for the seminar to be recorded for later posting on UCTV.
Smith curates the 400,000-specimen Lepidoptera collection at the Bohart Museum, a world-renowned insect museum that houses a global collection of nearly 8 million specimens. Smith organizes and identifies the butterflies and moths, creates the drawers that display them, and the labels that identify them. In between, he shares his passion for insects and spiders at outreach programs.
The entomologist has spread the wings of 200,000 butterflies and moths, or about 7000 a year, since 1988. “I do most of the work at my home (Rocklin), where I spread and identify specimens and add them to the museum collection,” he said.
“My life is dedicated to this passion of entomology,” said Smith, an associate of the Bohart Museum and a member of the Bohart Museum Society and the Lepidopterists' Society. “Entomology is my passion and the Bohart Museum is my cause.” He retired in 2013 from a 35-year career with Univar Environmental Science but that just means he can spend more time at the insect museum.
“The Lepidoptera collection is an excellent worldwide resource,” said Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum and professor of entomology at UC Davis. “Jeff has completely reorganized the butterfly and moth collection. It's no small feat to rearrange this many specimens, housed in roughly 3000 drawers. They have to be identified, and the taxonomy requires extensive updating and reorganization. He has re-curated all of the major moth families.”
If anyone were to put a monetary value on Jeff Smith's museum donations, it would exceed $160,000, said Kimsey, calculating that the 200,000 curated butterflies and moths alone translates into 33,000 hours of work.
A philanthropist extraordinaire, Smith has donated more than 35,000 specimens from his own collection; gifted more than 6000 foam-bottomed unit boxes, 5000 pins and seven reams of label paper; and crafted more than 2000 glass-topped specimen drawers to the Bohart Museum. He loves doing outreach programs, including classroom visits, Bohart open houses, state and county fairs, festivals, school science events, UC Davis Picnic Day and other educational opportunities. He engages crowds with specimens, but also with the permanent residents of the Bohart's live “Petting Zoo.” It was Smith who donated the crowd favorite, Rosie the Tarantula, who lived to 24 years.
In 2000, a scientific team led by Heydon returned from Papua New Guinea with a vast amount of specimens, and over the next two years Smith spread around 18,000 moths and butterflies, all now incorporated into the Bohart collection.
Smith can spread the wings of a butterfly or moth in several minutes, from the smallest to the largest. His smallest moth was a 1 mm long moth (about the size of a period at the end of this sentence) with a wingspan of 2 to 2.5 mm. Heydon collected it in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, central Africa,
The largest moth he's spread? The Atlas moth, which has a 12-inch wingspan.
Smith worked at the Bohart on vacations, evenings and weekends while working full-time at Univar, a major product supplier to the professional pest management industries. “As a salesman of 23 years and then resource development with our website until I retired, I had the chance to teach our customers how to do pest control properly,” Smith related. “I taught probably thousands of classes on safe and effective use of pesticides, personal safety, pest identification and biology, etc., and like to think I made an impact on increasing the professionalism of this industry.” A frequent speaker at industry conferences, Smith was often the “go to” person for insect identification and technical questions.
Smith credits his parents with sparking his interest in insects. As a child growing up in Campbell, Calif., he collected butterflies, moths and other insects. “My parents loved the outdoors and taught us to be curious,” he said. His father, Al, now deceased, was a general contractor, and his mother, Alice, now 98, worked in the business.
From his father he learned woodworking. Of the some 2000 drawers he has made for the Bohart Museum “about half are from scratch,” he said. They include 150 drawers from recycled redwood decking and fencing. He makes and donates spreading boards for open houses and for UC Davis Entomology Club clinics.
“I love retirement and all the additional time I now have for the Bohart and oh, for my wife," Smith said. "Our daughter and one granddaughter live in Prescott, Ariz., and I make things for them such as beds, bookshelves, and other wood objects.”
One of Smith's philosophies is “to leave the world better than I found it, and that pertains not only to my work in the Bohart but also to my 35-year career at Univar.”
Another involves the Golden Rule, or as he says “If you wouldn't want someone doing it to you, don't do it to them.” And a third philosophy "that I stole" from an inspirational man who teaches music to inner city youth in Los Angeles: “Love what you do, do what you love, and take the time to teach others about your passion.”
Jeff Smith is doing all three.
"We really don't know what we would do without Jeff Smith," Kimsey said.