Every year the UC Davis Insect Ecology group lists its favorite papers, said community ecologist Rachel Vannette of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. She listed the group's favorites on her lab website and also listed her lab's picks.
Menke, who received his doctorate in entomology from UC Davis in 1965, studying with Professor Richard Bohart (for whom the Bohart Museum of Entomology is named), is a noted expert on wasps. Ammophila are sometimes called "thread-waisted wasps" or "sand wasps" but neither is definitive. Ammophila comes from the Greek "sand lover." (See BugGuide.net for images.)
A partial abstract of the Menke publication:
"The North and Central American species of Ammophila are described and a key provided for their identification. Sixty-nine species are recognized, of which 62 are known from North America. The other seven are known only from Mexico. Four new species are described, hallelujah from northeastern California, linda from southern California, mexica and zapoteca from south central Mexico."
Mencke is also the co-author of "Funny or Curious Zoological Names." Included in the list: he named a species of Australian wasp, "Aha ha," as a joke. From Wikipedia: "Menke described several years after its discovery how, when he received a package from a colleague containing insect specimens, he exclaimed 'Aha, a new genus,' with fellow entomologist Eric Grissell responding "ha" doubtfully. The name of the insect is commonly found in lists of bizarre scientific names. The name was also used as the vehicle registration plate of Menke's car, "AHA HA."
The UC Davis Insect Ecology list:
- Lonsdorf, E.V., Koh, I. and Ricketts, T., 2020. Partitioning private and external benefits of crop pollination services. People and Nature, 2(3), pp.811-820. https://bit.ly/2XGUrLm
- Nichols, Bethany S., Gerhard Leubner‐Metzger, and Vincent AA Jansen. “Between a rock and a hard place: adaptive sensing and site‐specific dispersal.” Ecology Letters 23.9 (2020): 1370-1379.
- Eberl, F., Fernandez de Bobadilla, M., Reichelt, M., Hammerbacher, A., Gershenzon, J. and Unsicker, S.B. (2020), Herbivory meets fungivory: insect herbivores feed on plant pathogenic fungi for their own benefit. Ecol Lett, 23: 1073-1084. https://bit.ly/3iccPFf
- Larsen, C.D. and Hargreaves, A.L., 2020. Miniaturizing landscapes to understand species distributions. Ecography.
- Koski, M.H., MacQueen, D. and Ashman, T.L., 2020. Floral pigmentation has responded rapidly to global change in ozone and temperature. Current Biology, 30(22), pp.4425-4431. https://bit.ly/39zfnZX
- Lundgren, E. J., Ramp, D., Rowan, J., Middleton, O., Schowanek, S. D., Sanisidro, O., … & Wallach, A. D. (2020). Introduced herbivores restore Late Pleistocene ecological functions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 117(14), 7871-7878. https://bit.ly/3ilILHm
- Pashalidou, F.G., Lambert, H., Peybernes, T., Mescher, M.C. and De Moraes, C.M., 2020. Bumble bees damage plant leaves and accelerate flower production when pollen is scarce. Science, 368(6493), pp.881-884.
- Losapio, G., & Schöb, C. (2020). Pollination interactions reveal direct costs and indirect benefits of plant–plant facilitation for ecosystem engineers. Journal of Plant Ecology, 13(1), 107-113.
- LeCroy, K.A., Savoy-Burke, G., Carr, D.E., Delaney, D.A. and T'ai, H.R., 2020. Decline of six native mason bee species following the arrival of an exotic congener. Scientific Reports, 10(1), pp.1-9.
- Milet-Pinheiro, P., Domingos-Melo, A., Olivera, J.B., Albuquerque, N.S., Costa, A.C.G., Albuquerque-Lima, S., Silva, M.F., Navarro, D.M., Maia, A.C., Gundersen, L.L. and Schubert, M., 2020. A Semivolatile Floral Scent Marks the Shift to a Novel Pollination System in Bromeliads. Current Biology.
- Adams, J.V. and Jones, M.L., 2020. Evidence of host switching: Sea lampreys disproportionately attack Chinook salmon when lake trout abundance is low in Lake Ontario. Journal of Great Lakes Research.
- Twardochleb, L.A., Treakle, T.C. and Zarnetske, P.L., 2020. Foraging strategy mediates ectotherm predator–prey responses to climate warming. Ecology, 101(11), p.e03146.
- Menke, A. S. 2020. The Ammophila of North & Central America (Hymenoptera, Sphecidae). (No link available. This can ordered from the Bohart Museum of Entomology)
- Luttbeg et al. 2020 Safety cues give prey more valuable information than danger cues. Am Nat. 195:636-648
- Mathis, K.A. and Bronstein, J.L., 2020. Our Current Understanding of Commensalism. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics, 51, pp.167-189.
- Simmonds, E. G., E. F. Cole, B. C. Sheldon, and T. Coulson. 2020. Phenological asynchrony: a ticking time-bomb for seemingly stable populations? Ecology Letters 23:1766–1775. https://bit.ly/35I6oVd
- Trunz, V., Lucchetti, M. A., Bénon, D., Dorchin, A., Desurmont, G. A., Kast, C., … & Praz, C. J. (2020). To bee or not to bee: The ‘raison d'être'of toxic secondary compounds in the pollen of Boraginaceae. Functional Ecology, 34(7), 1345-1357. https://bit.ly/2XG0lMz
- Malone, S.C., Weaver, D.K., Seipel, T.F. et al. Herbivore-induced volatile emissions are altered by soil legacy effects in cereal cropping systems. Plant Soil 455, 171–186 (2020). https://bit.ly/3icfYVz
- Derek W Dunn, Stability in fig tree–fig wasp mutualisms: how to be a cooperative fig wasp, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, Volume 130, Issue 1, May 2020, Pages 1–17, https://bit.ly/2LLjbzb
- Goelen, T., Sobhy, I. S., Vanderaa, C., Wäckers, F., Rediers, H., Wenseleers, T., et al. 2020. Bacterial phylogeny predicts volatile organic compound composition and olfactory response of an aphid parasitoid. Oikos. https://bit.ly/2N25TPn
- Imachi H, Nobu MK, Nakahara N, Morono Y, Ogawara M, Takaki Y, et al. Isolation of an archaeon at the prokaryote–eukaryote interface. Nature. 2020 Jan 23;577(7791):519–25. Available from: https://bit.ly/2XFDzV1
- Prado A, Marolleau B, Vaissière BE, Barret M, Torres-Cortes G. Insect pollination: an ecological process involved in the assembly of the seed microbiota. Sci Rep. 2020;10(1):1–11. https://bit.ly/3oNj9W5
- Pashalidou, F.G., Lambert, H., Peybernes, T., Mescher, M.C. and De Moraes, C.M., 2020. Bumble bees damage plant leaves and accelerate flower production when pollen is scarce. Science, 368(6493), pp.881-884.
- Pozo, M. I., 2020. The impact of yeast presence in nectar on bumble bee behavior and fitness. Ecological Monographs 90( 1):e01393. 10.1002/ecm.1393 , , , , , , and .
The museum, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, Crocker Lane, is gearing up for the holiday season with online sales from the gift shop, which is stocked with insect-themed t-shirts, hoodies, jewelry, posters, books, insect-collecting equipment and other items. (See gift shop inventory)
“Your support enables us to fulfill our mission of documenting and supporting research in biodiversity, educating and inspiring others about insects, and providing state-of-the-art information to the community,” says Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum and professor and former chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
The Bohart Museum, home of a global collection of nearly eight million insect specimens, houses the seventh largest insect collection in North America, and the California Insect Survey, a storehouse of the insect biodiversity of the state's deserts, mountains, coast, and the Great Central Valley. The Bohart is also the home of a live “petting zoo” (comprised of Madagascar hissing cockroaches, stick insects and tarantulas), and the year-around gift shop.
Items are shipped out on Fridays by priority mail via the U.S. Postal Service. Average arrival times currently average between 6 to 10 business days, officials said. Those who plan on purchasing holiday or birthday gifts should do so as early as possible.
The Bohart Museum of Entomology, founded in 1946 and dedicated to teaching, research and service, is named for noted entomologist Richard Bohart, who taught entomology at UC Davis for more than 50 years, beginning in 1946, and chaired the Department of Entomology from 1963-1967. Said Kimsey: "His publications include three of the most important books on the systematics of the Hymenoptera, including the well-used volume Sphecid Wasps of the World. His journal publications total over 200 articles. He revised many groups of insects, discovered new host-associations or geographic ranges, and described many new species."
Cooperative Extension agricultural specialist Ian Grettenberger, assistant professor, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, and his graduate student, Madison "Madi" Hendrick, will discuss the crops, the pests, and the natural enemies or beneficials at a virtual Facebook live session from 11 a.m. to noon, Thursday, Oct 22.
The event, "The Good and the Bad: Insects and Other Arthropods in Agriculture, with a Focus on California Rice and Alfalfa," will be live-streamed on the UC Davis Bohart Museum of Entomology's Facebook page. (Link to Facebook live here). Grettenberger and Hendrick will present short talks and then field questions. No personal Facebook account is required to join the session, which is free and open to the public.
"This is all about the arthropods, both the pests and beneficials that they study in the rice and alfalfa fields," said Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator for the Bohart Museum of Entomology. "Most of the focus is on insects, but tadpole shrimp in rice fields also will be discussed." A virtual family craft activity is also planned.
"I will be discussing some of the insect (or arthropod) problems faced by growers of rice in California and some of the challenges in managing them, Grettenberger said. "In rice, some of the key arthropod pests are tadpole shrimp, which can turn what would have been a lush stand if rice into a poor stand with a lot of floating seedlings. Meanwhile, later in the year, armyworm caterpillars, the larvae of a moth, can chew on rice leaves and destroy plants. I'll discuss some of the ongoing work to better understand and manage these pests."
Grettenberg's fields of expertise include field and vegetable crops; integrated pest management; applied insect ecology, and biological control of pests. (See Spotlight on Ian Grettenberger.) Among his current grants:
- Protection of rice from invertebrate pests
- Insecticide resistant alfalfa weevils in the western United States: Quantifying the scope of resistance and implementing a plan to manage the threat
- Management of key cotton arthropod pests with insecticides and acaricides, a proactive approach to prepare for the invasion of the tomato leafminer (Tuta absoluta) into California
- Detection, biology and control of the exotic Swede midge (Contarinia nasturtii) for California cole crops
- Management of the western spotted and striped cucumber beetle in melon production
- Biological control of the bagrada bug
- Insecticide resistance monitoring and evaluation of efficacy of current chemical tactics for managing aphids and thrips in lettuce
What sparked his interest in entomology? "I had biologist parents, and was drawn into entomology at a pretty young age," Grettenberger said. "I spent plenty of time looking in flowers and turning over logs looking for insects. Once I started thinking about going to graduate school for entomology, I decided to focus on the intersection of agricultural entomology and insect ecology. I wanted to work on applied issues in entomology."
Hendrick, a second-year graduate student in the Grettenberger lab, received her bachelor's degree in iInternational studies at North Carolina State University, and also spent a semester at Nagoya University in Japan (she minored in Japanese).
"I got my start in entomology completely by chance!," Hendrick related. "I needed a science credit and happened to pick a class called 'Insects and People.”' That class really helped me to reframe the way I thought about insects and appreciate what interesting little critters they are. Through that class, I was also able to get a job as an undergraduate assistant in an entomology lab. I worked in a specialty crops lab, where I developed interests in integrated pest management and invasive species. I now study insecticide resistance in the alfalfa weevil, and I'm excited to share what I've learned through this outreach event!"
Grettenberger, Yolo County Farm Advisor Rachael Freeman Long and Madi Hendrick recently wrote a piece in the UC Agricultural and Natural Resources (UC ANR) blog, Alfalfa and Forage News, "A (Virtual )Update on Worms, Weevils an Aphids in Alfalfa."
"This year, the Kearney Research and Extension Center Alfalfa and Forage Field Day went virtual," Grettenberger wrote. "Attendees did not get the chance to look out over lush fields of alfalfa or towering plantings of sorghum, but they get did an update on ongoing work in alfalfa and other forages. Our team put together a rapid-fire video to discuss what are typically the key insect pests in California alfalfa: summer worms, alfalfa weevils, and aphids."
The summer worms in alfalfa include the summer worms: Western yellowstriped armyworm, beet armyworm and alfalfa caterpillar. Another key pest is the alfalfa weevil. The trio also discussed aphids and their natural enemies, including lady beetles, aka ladybugs).
Pests of rice include armyworms, aster leafhoppers, crayfish, rice leafminers, rice seed midges, rice water weevils and tadpole shrimp.
The Bohart Museum, directed by Lynn Kimsey, UC Davis professor of entomology, is located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane, UC Davis campus, but is temporarily closed. The museum houses nearly eight million insect specimens; a live "petting zoo" of Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks and taranatulas; and a gift shop stocked with insect-themed T-shirts, books, posters, jewelry, candy and insect-collecting equipment.
- Alfalfa and Forage News: A (Virtual) Update on Worms, Weevils and Aphids in Alfalfa (By Ian Grettenberger, Rachael Freeman Long and Madi Hendrick, Sept. 20, 2020) (See video on same page)
- Alfalfa and Forage News: Natural Enemies Are Important for Control of the Aphid Complex in Alfalfa--A Case Study (By Ian Grettenberger, Rachael Freeman Long, Daniel Putnam and Rob Wilson, April 7, 2020)
- UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program: How to Manage Pests of Alfalfa
- UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program: Insects and Other Pests of Rice
Bentley serves as the director of training and education for the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), headquartered in Fairfax, Va., and hosts NPMA's BugBytes. Kimsey, a global authority on wasps, bees and other insects, is a two-term past president of the International Society of Hymenopterists.
Kimsey fielded questions on the history of the hornet, its biology, its range, its behavior, its stings, and the news media frenzy over two reported incidents in North America. A single colony of the Asian giant hornet (AGH), Vespa mandarinia, was found and destroyed Sept. 18, 2019 in Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, Canada, and a single dead hornet was found Dec. 8, 2019 in nearby Blaine, Wash.
Concerned beekeepers worried that the hornets could become established and decimate their hives. Citizens throughout the country began reporting scores of "murder hornets," which turned out to be yellow jackets, European paper wasps, hover flies, hoverflies, moths and even a Jerusalem cricket (potato bug).
In the podcast, Kimsey relates that the Asian giant hornets are native to Asia, where the residents tolerate them. The beekeeping industry in Washington state, however, was "convinced that they are killing our honey bees," Kimsey told Bentley. "There's no basis in reality as far as I can tell," she said.
The Asian giant hornet is "one of about a dozen or so species in this genus," Kimsey said. She described them as "comically large and menacing looking."
The specimens in the Bohart Museum of Entomology are about 1.5 inches long. "I've never seen one two inches long. But it's a big animal--no question about it."
Bentley also discussed entomologist Justin Schmidt's Sting Pain Index, which rates the painful stings of some 83 hymenopteran species.
Kimsey agreed that the Asian giant hornet "can deliver a lot of venom" and "can sting repeatedly." But in her opinion, "the honey bee sting is the worst."
Other points Kimsey brought out included:
- The Asian giant hornets probably arrived here in cargo ships
- The larvae and pupae are restaurant-fare in some parts of Asia and are quite the delicacy
- The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in fewer cargo ships arriving in the United States from Asia, and thus fewer opportunities for hitchhikers.
Related Links (Bug Squad blog)
- About Those Asian Hornets (May 4, 2020)
- The Hornet Wars: 'A Bloody Dumpster Fire" (May 5, 2020)
- How Do You Say Murder Hornets? Delicious (May 8, 2020)
Matan Shelomi, former graduate student of Lynn Kimsey's and now an assistant professor of entomology at the National Taiwan University in Taipei, Taiwan, enjoys them.
- Incredible Work, and Timely, on 22 Species of Hornets (May 12, 2020)
NSF has awarded a three-year collaborative research grant to five faculty members at Baker University, Baldwin City, Kansas, and to Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum and professor, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
All the tardigrades collected by Baker University's faculty and students will find a new home at the Bohart.
“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.”
The NSF awarded $256,849 for the project, titled “Cross Departmental Development of an Automated Species Identification System for the Phylum Tardigrada Found on Birds.” Collaborating with Kimsey are Baker University faculty members Scott Kimball, associate professor of biology; Randy Miller, director of research; Robert Schukei, assistant professor of computer science; Mahmoud Al-Kofahi, professor of physics; and Irene Unger, associate professor of biology and director of the Baker Wetlands.
"We thought we had a great project and were thrilled the award committee agreed to fund the full scope of our project," Kimball said in a press release. “Our group will engineer an automated process of preparing microscope slides of tardigrade specimens collected from any of several sources. The second objective is to design a species identification software application that will use computer learning processes to create efficiencies in the identification of specimens. All of this will be used to answer biological questions related to the geographic dispersion of tardigrades, specifically as it relates to the relationship between tardigrades and the birds in their environments that may serve to disperse them across the landscape."
The Bohart Museum's tardigrade current collection includes some 25,000 slide-mounted specimens. In a recent newsletter, Kimsey described the water bear as “one of the most peculiar and indestructible groups of animals known. 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.
They belong to their own phyllum, the Tardigrada (meaning "slow steppers"), and to date there are some 1,500 described species throughout the world. "Tardigrades can survive high pressures of more than 1,200 atmospheres found in the bottom of the abyss," Kimsey says. "They can tolerate 1,000 times more ionizing radiation than other animals."
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're 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,” Kimsey said.
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 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.
Said Kimsey: "Tardigrades are awesome. 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 (in 2019)." (See news story.)
Plans call for a tardigrade sculpture to grace the entrance to the Bohart Museum, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane. The artistic concrete sculpture will be about 4 feet by eight feet, about the size of a cow. A GoFundMe account, set up by the Bohart Museum Society, seeks $5000, and is at https://www.gofundme.com/f/waterbear-sculpture
"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 noted.