Spider wasps belong to the family Pompilidae, and are aculeate (stinging) wasps. Most spider wasps (also known as spider-hunting wasps) capture, sting and paralyze their prey. The worldwide family is comprised of some 5,000 described species in six subfamilies.
“A U-Haul was needed to transport the collection from Brookings to Davis last weekend,” said Bohart Museum director and UC Davis distinguished professor Lynn Kimsey.
Wasbauer, who died in the spring, was a global expert on spider wasps and a scientific collaborator with Kimsey. He was a member of the Bohart Museum Society and a strong supporter of the museum.
“The donation consists of a diversity of aculeate wasps but 95 percent are spider wasps (Pompilidae), an estimated 50,000 specimens from all over the world, in 180 drawers, in 13 24-drawer cabinets,” Kimsey said. “This is material he had been accumulating since the 1960s.”
Wasbauer studied entomology and biosystematics at UC Berkeley, where he received his bachelor's degree and doctorate (1958). “Like many entomologists of his generations,” Kimsey said, “Marius was an instructor in preventive medicine in the U.S. 7th Army Medical Service at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.” He joined the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) as a systematist in September 1958. His CDFA career spanned 34 years.
Wasbauer was a fellow of the California Academy of Sciences; president and secretary of the Pacific Coast Entomological Society; research associate with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS), a member of Sigma Xi, the scientific research honor society; a member of the Biosystematists Society; and a research associate at UC Davis.
“He was generous with his time, and worked with many scientists and students around the world,” Kimsey said. “However, aside from his family and wasps, his other greatest love was fishing.”
Marius and his wife, Joanne, longtime supporters of the Bohart Museum, frequently offered annual challenge grants of $5000, matching donations of other donors up to $5000. They hoped to inspire others to give.
The Wasbauers participated in a Bohart Museum Bioblitz to Belize in 2017, a trip led by entomologists David Wyatt, a professor at Sacramento City College, and Fran Keller, now a professor at Folsom Lake College. Keller, who holds a doctorate in entomology from UC Davis, is a Bohart Museum research associate.
A trio of entomologists—Lynn Kimsey and her husband, forensic entomologist Robert Kimsey of the Department of Entomology and Nematology; and Bohart Museum research associate Brennen Dyer—prepared a space in the Bohart for the large donation. They unloaded the truck with Kimsey friends, retired Placer County Sheriff Mike Whitney and his wife, Becky.
The Bohart Museum, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, houses a global collection of nearly eight million insect specimens, plus a live “petting zoo” comprised of Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks and tarantulas. The Bohart Museum also inclues a year-around gift shop stocked with insect-themed t-shirts, sweatshirts, posters, books, jewelry and insect-collecting equipment.
Temporarily closed due to COVID-19 pandemic precautions, the Bohart is located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane.
Entomological offerings will be showcased at the 107th annual UC Davis Picnic Day, themed "Discovering Silver Linings," to take place virtually on Saturday, April 17.
Silver linings promise to grace this family-oriented event, billed as informative, educational and entertaining.
Picnic Day officials have released the schedule of events that includes entomological exhibits and talks from the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, Bohart Museum of Entomology and the UC Davis Graduate Student Association.
Here's a quick list:
Bohart Museum of Entomology
Bohart associate Greg Kareofelas, Bohart Museum associate and naturalist, has created a pre-recorded video on the Gulf Fritillary butterfly, Agraulis vanillae. These orange-reddish butterflies have silver-spangled underwings, are glorious. Kareofelas will showcase them and show you how to rear them, which is what he did last year during the pandemic. It's on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OR3WwE7mbrA.
Entomologist Jeff Smith, the volunteer curator of the Lepidoptera collection at the Bohart, will present a live Zoom event from 1 to 2 p.m. on Saturday on mimicry in Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies). "I will briefly mention camouflage," Smith says, "and spend most of the time on mimicry for defense--mimics of toxic or distasteful species, mimicry using odors or sounds, mimics of snakes or spiders, and mimics of non-food materials such as bird feces."
To connect, access https://ucdavis.zoom.us/j/92841203978?pwd=ay91SUpFZnl5MEdnVmlzOUxmMFFZQT09
Zoom Meeting ID: 928 4120 3978
Zoom Passcode: 160485
"People who want to submit their questions to Jeff or request to see certain species from the collection can email their requests to email@example.com with Picnic Day in the subject," says Tabatha Yang, the Bohart Museum's education and outreach coordinator. "We won't have the time or capacity to access the collection during the event for any requests. Instead, we will pull the items that are requested or relevant to the talk and have those prepared to show. Of course we may not be able to honor everyone's request, but we will do our best."
The Bohart Museum, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane (the museum is closed now due to the pandemic), is directed by Lynn Kimsey, UC Davis professor of entomology. It houses nearly eight million insect specimens, plus a year-around gift shop and a live "petting zoo," comprised of Madagascar hissing cockroaches, stick insects and tarantulas.
Department of Entomology and Nematology
Live Zoom session with questions and answers, from 10 to 11 a.m. with Cooperative Extension specialist IanGrettenberger, assistant professor,UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. A downloadable worksheet will be available.
Livestream on Zoom, 11 a.m. to 12 noon
Viewers can watch American cockroaches from a Briggs Hall colony race to victory.
Bug Doctor Booth
This is a live Zoom session from 12 noon to 3 p.m., with questions and answers. Folks can ask questions about insects and spiders.
Landscaping with Native Plants to Support Local Pollinators
This is a live Zoom session from 1 to 2 p.m. with question and answers, with community ecologist Rachel Vannette, assistant professor, talking about using landscaping with native plants to support local pollinators.
Zoom Meeting ID: 980 2830 2647
Zoom Passcode: 078510
EGSA T-Shirt Sales
The video will focus on Entomology Graduate Student Association (EGSA) T-shirts, masks and stickers. Order items here.
Can Plants Communicate?
A pre-recorded video by Professor Richard Karban, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, an expert on plant communication. The video is at https://youtu.be/xOXSqy05EO0
What Are Nematodes?
A pre-recorded video on "The Wonderful World of Nematodes" by nematologist Steve Nadler, professor and chair, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
Ants of Davis
A pre-recorded video by ant lab of Professor Phil Ward, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. Graduate students in the Ward lab will talk about their ant research.
A downloadable coloring sheet will be available.
Entomology at UC Davis
This will include links to all of the department-based KQED videos and a downloadable coloring sheet.
Professor Sharon Lawler, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, offers a pre-recorded video, adapted from her live lil' swimmers exhibit. She will display water striders, dragonflies and damselflies and discuss their biology.
Can Bumble Bees Take the Heat?
A downloadable PDF from the lab of pollination ecologist Neal Williams, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, about climate change and native species.
Fly Fishers of Davis
A pre-recorded video about the Davis Fly Fishers Club.
UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program
A downloadable worksheet will be offered.
Fight the Bite
Folks can learn about local vector control in this pre-recorded/reposted video from the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito Control District.
The UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and the Bohart Museum of Entomology will be participating in the virtual 107th annual UC Davis Picnic Day on Saturday, April 17, a traditional event being held untraditionally this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The entomological events will include cockroach racing and a series of talks. Among them: Bohart Museum associate and natural historian Greg Kareofelas will present a pre-recorded video on Gulf Fritillary butterflies and entomologist Jeff Smith, the Bohart's volunteer curator of the Lepidoptera collection, will deliver a live Zoom talk on butterfly and moth mimicry from 1 to 2 p.m.
Said Smith: "For my presentation on mimicry within Lepidoptera, it will briefly mention camouflage and spend most of the time on mimicry for defense-- mimics of toxic or distasteful species, mimicry using odors or sounds, mimics of snakes or spiders, and mimics of non-food materials such as bird feces."
More events--and the schedule--are pending.
The Bohart Museum, temporarily closed, is located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane. Directed by Professor Lynn Kimsey, the Bohart Museum includes nearly eight million insect specimens, a live "petting zoo" (Madagascar hissing cockroaches, stick insects and tarantulas) and an online gift shop stocked with insect-themed t-shirts, jewelry, hoodies, books, posters and more.
Discovering Silver Linings
This year's theme is “Discovering Silver Linings.” Despite all that has happened this year, the UC Davis community has continued to find silver linings everywhere, the Picnic Day officials reported on their website. "Our campus always strives to inspire hope and works towards a better and brighter tomorrow."
Last year's in-person events also were canceled and some virtual events took place.
"This long-standing campus tradition began in 1909 when the University Farm invited the surrounding community to view their new dairy barn. Two thousand visitors attended, bringing picnics to complement the coffee, cream, and sugar provided by the University. Following the success of the 1909 picnic, the faculty of the University Farm continued to plan and sponsor the event until a student committee took over the task in 1912. Through the years of Picnic Day history, the event has only been canceled five times. In 1924, an outbreak of hoof-and-mouth disease among the cowherds caused the first cancellation. In 1938, delayed construction of the gymnasium, which was needed to accommodate the ever-increasing number of participants, led to a second cancellation. During World War II, the Army Signal Corps controlled the campus, and Picnic Day disappeared from 1943 to 1945. Since 1946, Picnic Day has been growing strong and now boasts an annual attendance of more than 70,000 people. This year, there will be more than 200 events on campus and an estimated 75,000 visitors attending this special event. Since 1959, the parade was extended to include downtown Davis to celebrate the fact that Davis became a separate UC campus and not just the Farm School for UC Berkeley."
- Biodiversity Museum Day/Month: https://crowdfund.ucdavis.edu/project/24310
- Honey Bee Haven: http://crowdfund.ucdavis.edu/
- Master Beekeepers: http://crowdfund.ucdavis.edu/
“Last year our in-person event occurred just before the global pandemic. Together 13 biological collections welcomed 4,000 people to campus. It involved nearly 300 students, staff and faculty committed to science communication and outreach. This February it had to take place virtually with live webinar talks and pre-recorded activities throughout the month, including some content in Spanish.”
"Our goal right now is to get 100 individual donations by Saturday when the crowd fund ends," Yang said.
Those participating in the 2021 Biodiversity Museum Day/Month:
- Anthropology Museum
- Arboretum and Public Garden
- Bohart Museum of Entomology
- Botanical Conservatory
- California Raptor Center
- Center for Plant Diversity
- Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven
- Nematode Collection
- Marine Invertebrate Collection
- Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology
- Paleontology Collection
- Phaff Yeast Culture Collection
- Viticulture and Enology Collection
Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology founded and directs the California Master Beekeeper Program. Wendy Mather serves as the program manager.
The program is raising funds for an online, accessible, 'Beekeeper's Apprentice' course that is educational, engaging and entertaining for all ages.
From the website: "Your donation is a legacy to help ensure the health and longevity of our honey bees. Money raised for our "Beekeepers' Apprentice" course is an investment in science-based knowledge relative to our food security and the health of our environment now and for future generations - let's educate as many people as we can about the plight of our precious honey bees. Together we can bee the change!"
As of Friday at 10:30 a.m., the donations amounted to $16,823 or 67 percent of the $25,000 goal.
Elina Lastro Niño serves as the director of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology's Honey Bee Haven, a half-acre garden on Bee Biology Road, next to the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility. Christine Casey manages the garden and is spearheading the crowdfunding project.
From the website: "Our goal is $5000 to purchase plants, irrigation supplies, and tools for the Haven to continue our vital mission of inspiration and education about bees and the plants that support them."
As of Friday at 10:30, the donations amounted to $2345 or 46 percent of the $5000 goal.
For more information, see their websites or the Feb. 1 news story on the Department of Entomology and Nematology website.
A newly installed water bear or tardigrade sculpture at the Bohart Museum of Entomology, University of California, Davis, promises not only to be a cuddly campus landmark but it may be the world's largest—and only—sculpture of its kind.
The huge sculpture, located in front of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane, anchors the entrance to the Bohart Museum, which houses one of the world's largest tardigrade collections.
“I'm not aware of any other statue of a water bear anywhere,” said Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum and a UC Davis professor of entomology.
A crew installed the concrete sculpture, the work of artist Solomon Bassoff of Faducci LLC, North San Juan, Calif., at 7 a.m. Feb. 3 in a half-hour project.
It weighs 2,112 pounds and measures six feet long and nearly three feet high. In real life, the water bear is microscopic. The adults usually range from 0.3 to 0.5 mm in length.
“I was so excited to see it on the truck,” said Kimsey, who launched the project via a GoFundMe account two years ago. “Looking at pictures is one thing but the real thing was awesome and it's really fun to see it in front of the building. The whole business only took about half an hour. They had to first move two concrete garbage containers, which probably weigh 1,000 pounds each.”
“The installation is complete except for signage,” she said. “We'll be putting up a plaque explaining what it is and major donors. It stands to get even more over the next three years.”
Bassoff, who creates sculptures in concrete, steel and mosaic from his studio in the Sierra foothills, said he sculpted the tardigrade with a “steel armature (coated to prevent corrosion), pigmented hand sculpted concrete and bronze claws. It was fun and amazing to learn more about this amazing creature.”
They belong to their own phylum, the Tardigrada (meaning "slow steppers"), with more than 1,500 described species. "Tardigrades can survive high pressures of more than 1,200 atmospheres found in the bottom of the abyss," Kimsey said. "They can tolerate 1,000 times more ionizing radiation than other animals."
The barrel-shaped creature with eight pudgy legs inspired German zoologist Johann August Ephraim Goeze (1731-1793) to describe them as "kleiner Wasserbär," or "little water bears."
Tardigrades are easiest to find on lichens and mosses, Kimsey says, but they can also be found on beaches, in the subtidal zone, freshwater sediments, soil, hot springs and even on barnacles. They've been found "high in the Himalayas to down in the deep sea and even in the interior of Antarctica.”
They mostly feed on plants or bacteria "but some are predators on smaller tardigrades," Kimsey related. “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 it 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.
Kimsey credited former Bohart Museum scientist Bob Schuster with launching and compiling the current tardigrade collection. The Bohart is now gearing up for more specimens. Kimsey is part of a three-year, $256,849 National Science Foundation research grant, “Cross Departmental Development of an Automated Species Identification System for the Phylum Tardigrada Found on Birds,” awarded to her and five faculty members from Baker University, Baldwin City, Kansas. All tardigrades collected by Baker University's faculty and students will find a new home in the Bohart Museum.
“Our part in all this is to act as a repository for all of the specimens collected,” Kimsey said. “We have one of the four largest collections of tardigrades in the world.”
Solomon Basshoff and fellow artist Domenica Mottarella, who formed Faducci in 2002, are known throughout the country for their whimsical emotive sculptures, commissioned for public art installations and private collections. Locally, they created the Davis Central Park Gardens' children's play sculpture, “Bellapede.” Installed in 2010, it is shaped like a monarch caterpillar.
Just like “Bellapede,” the water bear sculpture should be a magnet for children and their families," Kimsey 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."
The Bohart Museum, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, houses a global collection of nearly eight million insect specimens. It also houses a live “petting zoo” of Madagascar hissing cockroaches, stick insects and tarantulas, as well as a year-around—and now online--gift shop. The insect museum is currently closed to the public due to COVID-19 pandemic precautions.
But the tardigrade sculpture beckons all.