- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Monday, June 1 at 5 p.m. is the deadline to suggest a species name for a new genus of trapdoor spiders that UC Davis professor Jason Bond discovered on a sandy beach at Moss Landing State Park, Monterey County.
Bond proposes to name the genus, Cryptocteniza, part of which means “hidden or secret.”
Bond, a noted spider authority and the Evert and Marion Schlinger Endowed Chair in Insect Systematics, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, is accepting suggestions until 5 p.m., June 1 at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bond will announce several of the best names at the Bohart Museum of Entomology pending virtual open house on the Bohart's Facebook Live page. He will also field questions about spiders. The first Bohart Museum virtual house spotlighted director Lynn Kimsey talking about bees and wasps.
Bond is submitting a manuscript to a scientific journal on the new genus. He and manuscript co-author Joel Ledford, assistant professor of teaching, UC Davis Department of Plant Biology, will select the winner. Ledford, whose research interests include spider systematics and biology education, interviewed Bond May 18 for his Tree of Life-UC Davis YouTube channel. It is online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NV_eTablJMk.
“We don't want a public vote on the spider name,” in deference to the British polar research vessel that garnered a top public vote of “Boaty McBoatface” a few years ago, quipped Bond.
He does not want it named Bond or anything to do with the coronavirus pandemic.
Trapdoor spiders are so named because they construct their burrows with a corklike or wafer trap door made of soil, vegetation and silk.
Bond discovered the female spider in 1997 on the sandy beach, and collected the male spider last fall. It is rare to find a genus in the field, the professor said. The usual place is in museum collections.
“I have only one male specimen,” Bond told Ledford. It will find a permanent home in the Bohart Museum.
“This genus meets the criteria of an endangered living fossil,” Bond said, “and is consequently of grave conservation concern.”
Bond believes the genus is found only in that area, but thinks it may be closely related to a genus found in New Mexico and Arizona.
Of the genus name, Cryptocteniza, Bond says that the adjective “hidden or secret” is prefixed to Cteniza, the Greek feminine noun “comb.” The latter refers to the comb-like rastellum (row of stiff spines on the chelicera) common in taxa and formerly assigned to the spider family Ctenizidae (e.g., Eucteniza). The prefix refers to both the diminutive form of the rastellum and the seemingly “hidden in plain sight” nature of the genus, he says.
(Please send name suggestions to email@example.com)
- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Time's fun when you're studying flies!
Student fly researchers greeted guests and explained their work at the Bohart Museum of Entomology open house held last Saturday, Jan. 12.
The event, which took place from 1 to 4 p.m. in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane, drew more than 150 visitors, despite competition with the televised National Football League playoffs and other activities.
The theme, "Time's Fun When You're Studying Flies," was a take-off of "Time flies when you're having fun."
"Despite the lovely weather, visitors spent a long time at the museum talking with our department's up and coming researchers," said Tabatha Yang, the Bohart Museum education and outreach coordinator. "Visitors learned about various research on flies that occurs in our department from evolution to geography to circadian rhythms."
Five scientists from the Joanna Chiu lab discussed their fruit fly research. They were graduate students Christine Tabuloc, Yao Cai and Xianhui "Nitrol" Liu, and undergraduate students Cindy Truong and Christopher Ochoa.
The Joanna Chiu lab currently has 4 PhD students (3 from Entomology and 1 from Genomics and Genetics), 6 undergraduate students (3 from Underrepresented Minorities or URM) undergraduate research programs), 1 postdoc, and 1 visiting graduate student from China.
Others fly researchers participating:
- Graduate student Caroline Wright Larsen of the James R. Carey Lab; she studies non-tephrid flies, including the Mediterranean fruit fly
- Graduate students Socrates Letana and Charlotte Herbert Alberts of the Lynn Kimsey Lab; Letana studies botflies, and Alberts, assassin flies
- Graduate student Alex Dedmon of the Robert Kimsey lab and UC Davis graduate Danielle Wishon; they specialize in forensic entomology
"They all did an excellent job engaging the public with thoughtful slide shows, images, and specimens," Yang said. "They truly communicated their enthusiasm for science."
The next open house will be Saturday, Feb. 16, when the Bohart Museum will be open as part of campuswide Biodiversity Museum Day.
Upcoming open houses:
- "Eight-Legged Wonders" (spider theme, featuring the work of the Jason Bond lab) on Saturday, March 9 from 1 to 4 p.m.
- UC Davis Picnic Day on Saturday, April 13 from 10 to 3 p.m.
The Bohart Museum, directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology, houses nearly eight million insect specimens, plus a year-around gift shop and a live "petting zoo" that includes Madagascar hissing cockroaches, stick insects, tarantulas and praying mantids. The gift shop is stocked with newly published calendars, books, jewlery, t-shirts, insect-collecting equipment, insect-themed candy, and stuffed animals. UC Davis entomologist Richard “Doc” Bohart (1913-2007) founded the museum in 1946.
The Bohart is open to the general public Mondays through Thursdays, from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 5 p.m., plus occasional, weekend open houses. Admission is free. Further information is available on the Bohart Museum website at http://bohart.ucdavis.edu/ or contact (530) 753-0493 or firstname.lastname@example.org.