The open house, free and family friendly, is set from 1 to 4 p.m., Saturday, July 16 in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane, UC Davis campus, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the year the California State Legislature designated the dogface butterfly out to be the state insect.
Keller will read the book in the Wildlife Classroom, Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology, located next door to the Bohart Museum in the Academic Surge Building.
The book features photos by Bohart associate Greg Kareofelas and Professor Keller, and illustrations by former UC Davis student Laine Bauer. The California dogface butterfly, Zerene eurydice, found only in California, thrives at its major breeding ground, the Shutamul Bear River Preserve, a private preserve maintained by the Placer Land Trust (PLT).
It is there because its host plant, false indigo, Amorpha californica, is there, points out Kareofelas, who has reared multiple California dogface butterflies from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to adult. He serves as a volunteer docent for the PLT's Shutamul Bear River Preserve.
"Most people have never seen a single dogface butterfly (in the wild)," says Kareofelas. On a June 10th tour of the preserve, held specifically for the Bohart Museum, the group saw 75 to 100 dogface butterflies.
False indigo (Amorpha), its only known host plant, "is a rather inconspicuous shrub found with poison oak, willow, etc. near streambanks, often along boulder-strewn tributary streams in side canyons where access is very difficult," Shapiro says on his website.
1 p.m.: Event starts
Tabling: Placer Land Trust information table, Greg Kareofelas with live caterpillar/rearing project
- Craft: Yellow felt dogface butterflies shoe/hair/belt/wrist ornaments
- Craft: Color the dogface butterfly life cycle (paper or for $8.50 for bandanna)
- Craft: Paper caterpillar puppet
- Petting Zoo (Madagascar hissing cockroaches, stick insects, tartantulas)
- Butterfly collection exploration with entomologist Jeff Smith, curator of the Lepidoptera collection
- Butterfly banner photo-op
1:30 p.m.: Professor and author Fran Keller reads The Story of the Dogface Butterfly in the Wildlife Classroom
2:30 p.m.: Communication specialist Julia Boorinakis Harper Barbeau of Placer Land Trust shows four-minute video and Bohart associate Greg Kareofelas gives a talk/powerpoint about the history of the dogface (5-10 minutes) in the Wildlife Classroom
3 p.m.: Celebration dessert in the hallway with Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology
3:30 p.m.: Professor and author Fran Keller reads The Story of the Dogface Butterfly in the Wildlife Classroom
4 p.m.: Event ends
The Bohart Museum, directed by UC Davis distinguished professor Lynn Kimsey, houses a global collection of eight million insect specimens. It also maintains a live petting zoo and an insect-themed gift shop (including T-shirts, hoodies, books, jewelry, posters, collecting equipment)
The free, family event takes place in the Bohart Museum, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, 455 Crocker Lane, UC Davis campus. The event will focus on the biology and history of the butterfly. A family arts and crafts activity is also planned.
Found only in California, the rarely seen butterfly is also known as (1) "the flying pansy," referring to the male's spectacular black and yellow coloring, and (2) as a "dog head" butterfly (the markings on the male resemble a silhouette of a dog's head). The female is mostly solid yellow.
The butterfly's major breeding ground is in Auburn at a preserve maintained by the Placer Land Trust (PLT). The butterfly is there because its larval host plant--false indigo (Amorpha californica)--grows well there. "The dogface butterfly has a range from San Diego County to Sonoma County and is usually found in mountain and foothill locations," according to an article on the PLT website. (Watch a virtual tour at https://youtu.be/kJUk1AKGtKs)
Meanwhile, the folks at the Bohart Museum of Entomology, including director Lynn Kimsey, museum scientist Fran Keller and Bohart associate Greg Kareofelas (he shares his expertise as a docent leading tours and delivering presentations for the Pacific Land Trust), hope to connect with the fourth grade students of Betty Harding and Shirley Klein in the Dailey Elementary School, Fresno, who advocated it as the state insect. The teachers and students enlisted the help of State Assemblyman Kenneth L. Maddy, who authored AB 1834. "His bill was read for the first time on March 15, 1972 and referred to the Assembly Committee on Government Organization, according to a state website.
"On May 25, 1972, with a committee vote of 6-2, Mr. Maddy failed to garner the needed eight votes to recommend the legislation to a floor vote. It wasn't clear why two members voted against the bill, but a bill to designate an official state fossil also gone down to defeat earlier in the day. The Fresno Bee wrote, 'Dog-Faced Butterfly Has Wings Clipped.'
"Assemblyman Maddy vowed to fight on and promised a better result when the full committee was present in the next week.
"Good to his word, Mr. Maddy moved the bill out of committee and to approval by the full Assembly on June 19. 1972.
"A month later, on July 20, the Senate voted 29-0 to approve AB 1834.
"On July 28, 1972, Governor Ronald Reagan signed Assembly Bill No. 1834 designating the California dog-face butterfly the official State Insect of California." (Read more on how the butterfly became the state insect under the Ronald Reagan administration.)
In 2013, Fran Keller, a UC Davis doctoral alumnus and now a professor at Folsom Lake College, published a 35-page children's book, The Story of the Dogface Butterfly that includes includes photos by Kareofelas and Keller and illustrations by then UC Davis student Laine Bauer. They earlier created a poster. Both the book and the poster are are available for sale in the Bohart Museum gift shop.
The book tells the untold story of the California dogface butterfly, and how schoolchildren became involved in convincing the State Legislature to select the dogface butterfly as the state insect. As part of their research, Keller, Kareofelas and Bauer visited the Placer Land Trust habitat of the butterfly. Kareofelas reared the insect from egg to adult, photographing all stages. At the open house, Keller will do a book reading for youths and their parents at 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.
Kareofelas has assisted with news documentaries on the butterfly:
- Rob on the Road, KVIE, Public Broadcasting Service (PBS)
- Capital Public Radio, National Public Radio (NPR)
The history of how the butterfly became the state insect actually begins in the 1920s with the Lorquin Entomological Society of Los Angeles. In an October 1929 article in The Pan-Pacific Entomologist, a publication of the Pacific Coast Entomological Society, J. D. Dunder of Pasadena credits the Lorquin Entomological Society with seeking "to establish a state insect for California." Out of three choices, the group voted on the California dogface butterfly.
Dunder wrote that the butterfly is "strictly a native California butterfly" and that "thousands of specimens are used each year in entomological art work for trays, bookends, plaques, etc., so the species is already fairly well known to the pubic."
Today its image graces a first-class U.S. stamp and our California driver licenses. It's also depicted on the California State Fair monorail. The Lone Buffalo Vineyards and Winery, Auburn, memorialized it on labels of specially bottled wine, with proceeds helping conservation efforts of the Placer Land Trust to protect the butterfly.
Take a look at the amazing images that Greg Kareofelas captured of the life cycle of the California dogface butterfly.
The Bohart Museum of Entomology open house, "Eight-Legged Encounters," co-sponsored by the American Arachnological Society (AAS) and held June 25 in the Academic Surge Building, drew more than 250 attendees and 40 volunteers.
"It was an absolutely amazing event!" said arachnologist Jason Bond of UC Davis, co-host of the AAS meeting.
"We were pleased to see such a large turnout from the community but even more so delighted to see so many young people," said Bond, associate dean, UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, and professor and the Evert and Marion Schlinger Chair in Insect Systematics, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. "There were over 40 volunteer arachnologists representing a national and international contingent of expertise. While we couldn't have done it without them, they also contributed a tremendous amount of expertise, excitement, and energy to the event."
Hebets, the Charles Bessey Professor at UNL and president of the Animal Behavior Society, co-hosted the open house as part of a U.S. National Science Foundation grant, “Eight-Legged Encounters” that she developed as an outreach project to connect arachnologists with communities, especially youth. (See her website).
Some 20 activity tables lined the hallway of the Academic Surge Building.
"Our Eight-Legged Encounters event at the UC Davis Bohart Museum far exceeded our expectations!" said Professor Hebets. "It was an incredibly successful event, with well over 250 attendees and more then 40 volunteers, many of which were graduate students and post-doctoral researchers from across the country and world. There is no doubt it was a life-changing experience for some of our young attendees as well as some of the student volunteers. I am so very thankful for the help and support we received from the Bohart Museum and from Dr. Jason Bond and his laboratory. It could not have happened without them."
Bond co-hosted the AAS conference, held June 26-30 on the UC Davis campus, with Lisa Chamberland, postdoctoral research associate of the Bond lab, and Joel Ledford, assistant professor of teaching, Department of Plant Biology, College of Biological Sciences. Chamberland coordinated the spider-species naming project with second-year doctoral student Emma Jochim of the Bond lab and incoming doctoral student Iris Bright, who starts this fall. No winner has yet been announced.
Some of the displays:
- "Black widow hourglasses are actually on their bellies. These spiders are actually social!"--Laura
- "I want to learn what is in spider venom and how it helps catch prey."--Greta
- "Trapdoor spiders live in California and eat bugs. There are many unknown species. I use DNA to find new species."-Jim
The Bohart Museum also drew scores of visitors during the 1 to 4 p.m. open house. Entomologist Jeff Smith, curator of the Lepidoptera collection and Bohart associate Greg Kareofelas showed visitors butterfly and moth specimens, while other volunteers discussed other collections, including spider wasps and small-headed flies. The museum, directed by UC Davis distinguished professor Lynn Kimsey, houses a global collection of eight million insect specimens, as well as a live "petting zoo" (Madagascar hissing cockroaches, stick insects and tarantulas) and an insect-themed gift shop.
Saturday, May 28, 1 to 4 p,m.
Open house, "Bugs in Ag: What Is Eating Our Crops and What Is Eating Them?"
Cooperative Extension specialist and agricultural entomologist Ian Grettenberger of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology faculty will explore the relationships between insects and agriculture. His areas of expertise include field crops; vegetable crops; insects, mites and other arthropods affecting plants; biological control of pests affecting plants; and beneficial insects. Grettenberger, who joined the UC Davis faculty in January 2019, targets a wide variety of pests, including western spotted and striped cucumber, beetles, armyworms, bagrada bugs, alfalfa weevils, aphids, and thrips.
Saturday June 25, 1 to 4 p.m.
Open house, "Eight-Legged Encounters"
This event is all about arachnids featuring scientists from across the country. It is in collaboration with the American Arachnological Society's 2022 meeting, scheduled June 26-30 on the UC Davis campus. The annual meeting will be hosted by two UC Davis arachnologists: Jason Bond, the Evert and Marion Schlinger Endowed Chair in Insect Systematics, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, and associate dean, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, and Joel Ledford, assistant professor of teaching, Department of Plant Biology, College of Biological Sciences.
Public event to be held in California Hall for arachnid novices and experts alike. This is in collaboration with the American Arachnological Society's meeting at UC Davis.
Saturday, July 16, 1 to 4 p.m.
"Celebrating 50 Years of the Dogface Butterfly:California's State Insect"
Scientists and the public will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the California State Legislature' designation of the dogface butterfly as the state insect.
Folsom Lake College professor and Bohart scientist Fran Keller, and Bohart associate Greg Karofelas, a volunteer docent for the Placer Land Trust's dogface butterfly tours, will on hand to discuss the butterfly. The California dogface butterfly, Zerene eurydice, is found only in California. It thrives in the 40-acre Shutamul Bear River Preserve near Auburn, Placer County. The preserve, part of the Placer Land Trust, is closed to the public except for specially arranged tours.
Keller is the author of 35-page children's book, The Story of the Dogface Butterfly, with photos by Keller and Kareofelas, and illustrations by former UC Davis student Laine Bauer. Kareofelas' images include the life cycle of the dogface butterfly that he reared. Keller holds a doctorate in entomology from UC Davis, where she studied with major professor Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart and UC Davis distinguished professor of entomology.
Kareofelas and Keller also teamed to create a dogface butterfly poster of the male and female. Both the book and the poster are available online from the the Bohart Museum of Entomology gift shop.
California legislators adopted the dogface butterfly as the official state insect on July 28, 1972. But as early as 1929, entomologists had already singled it out as their choice for state insect. Their suggestion appears in the California Blue Book, published by the State Legislature in 1929. (Read more on how the butterfly became the state insect under the Ronald Reagan administration.)
The dogface butterfly is so named because the wings of the male appear to be a silhouette of a poodle. It is also known as "the flying pansy."
Bohart Museum. The Bohart Museum is the home of a worldwide collection of eight million insect specimens, plus a gift shop and a live "petting zoo," comprised of Madagascar hissing cockroaches, stick insects and tarantulas.
Bohart Museum Contact information:
Wilson, recognized as one of the world's most influential scientists, was known as “The Ant Man,” "The Father of Sociobiology," "The Father of Diversity" and “The Modern-Day Darwin," for his pioneering and trailblazing work that drew global admiration and won scores of scientific awards.
But among his peers, colleagues and mentees, he was known as "Ed."
Wilson's work, On Human Nature, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1979. He won a second Pulitzer in 1991 with The Ants, co-authored with colleague Bert Hölldobler. In 1990, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded Wilson the Crafoord Prize in biosciences, the highest scientific award in the field. In 1996, Time magazine named him one of America's 25 most influential people. In 1977 President Jimmy Carter awarded him the National Medal of Science for his contributions toward the advancement of knowledge in biology.
Wilson, according to reports, always considered himself an Alabaman who went to Harvard, rather than a Harvard professor born in Alabama. Born June 10, 1929 in Birmingham, Ed graduated from the University of Alabama in 1949 with two degrees in biology, and received his doctorate in biology from Harvard in 1955. He joined the Harvard faculty in 1956. Although officially retiring in 1996, he remained active as an emeritus professor and honorary curator until his death.
Some tributes from UC Davis faculty and students:
“E. O. Wilson was a towering figure in the study of social insects, in evolutionary biology, and in conservation biology,” said fellow ant specialist and professor Phil Ward of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology who organized the 2007 E.O. Wilson Festschrift (a collection of writings published in honor of a scholar). “He made important contributions in all of these areas, but his specialty was the study of ants, those ‘little creatures that run the world.' Wilson's book, The Insect Societies (1971), introduced its readers to the fascinating world of ants and other social insects, using language that was both engaging and accessible, yet highly informative.”
“This was followed two decades later by the equally magisterial The Ants, co-authored with Bert Hölldobler,” Ward noted. “These landmark contributions inspired many budding biologists, myself included, to devote ourselves to the study of ants and other social organisms. Equally important, Wilson argued passionately and compellingly for the conservation of biological diversity in a dwindling natural world. He once said that 'destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal.' Let us honor his legacy by heeding this message!”
UC Davis doctoral alumnus Brendon Boudinot of the Phil Ward lab and now a postdoctoral researcher in Germany at the Institute of Zoology and Evolutionary Research, Friedrich Schiller University Jena, says the ant world is reeling with Wilson's passing. “A big chunk of my dissertation was dedicated to testing his hypotheses for the origin and early evolution of ants!”
Boudinot met Wilson when he was visiting the Ant Room at the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology in 2013. “The work I was doing was the foundation for my studies on ant males, and I was near the end of the trip, at one of the many microscopes by the window facing the yard,” he said. “Ed surprised me by coming right up to my shoulder at the scope; he asked me what I was working on. I am a bit abashed to say that I couldn't say anything because my mind went blank! Stef Cover, the pins-and-points curator told Ed what I was doing, and for the life of me I will always remember what Wilson said. He was happy that I chose to work on male ants, when this sex has been actively ignored by researchers over the past centuries, and that he himself was more apt to squash one at a light trap than to collect one. I hope that my keys and diagnoses have helped people appreciate male ants.”
“I am so thankful that I met him,” Boudinot said, “and that I was able to work with so many people in his sphere. The ant world is reeling, as he was a gentle giant of myrmecology, and of course biology writ large.”
Doctoral candidate Jill Oberski of the Phil Ward lab met “The Ant Man” in 2019. “I got to meet E. O. Wilson when I traveled to the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology in 2019. In addition to myself, there were several other researchers visiting the “Ant Room,” which houses a huge number of type specimens.”
“He asked me about my research on Dorymyrmex taxonomy and biogeography, although as a second-year PhD student I didn't have much to report yet. He was genuinely interested in my work and excited that I was working to resolve Dorymyrmex--which has always been a taxonomic headache. He also told me he recalled watching ants forming cone-shaped nests as a child in Alabama, which could only have been Dorymyrmex. He was exceedingly kind and encouraging.
“Finally, the Ant Room staff and visitors ate lunch together in Ed's office—lobster sandwiches, diet Dr. Pepper, and coffee, as is customary.”
Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology and a UC Davis distinguished professor of entomology, remembers working near his office when she served as a visiting professor/lecturer (1987 to 1989) at Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology, before joining the UC Davis faculty in 1989.
“His office was just down the hall from mine when I taught at Harvard. Here he was, one of the most famous biologists of his generation and I would see him sit down on the sidewalk to show a little kid the ants there. Also, saw him in the sitting on a bench Burlington Mall while his wife shopped, writing on a yellow pad of paper. Totally focused on what he was writing with shopping pandemonium all around. He was brilliant, humble and engaging.”
UC Davis doctoral alumnus Fran Keller, a professor at Folsom Lake College, and a research scientist at the Bohart Museum of Entomology, helped honor his work at a special symposium hosted at the 2005 Entomological Society of America meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
"Our department of entomology helped fund my trip to Harvard,” she recalled, “and he agreed to meet me over the course of two days in May 2005. The ESA symposium took place in mid-December. I recorded our interview on a cassette tape,” she said, adding she hopes to publish it in a journal.
Wilson responded: “Everyone has an animal that reaches them or that they connect with at some level, even though you were born an entomologist, perhaps yours is the rhino.”
“After my interview with Ed, I bought the book in the MCZ, The Rarest of the Rare: Stories Behind the Treasues at the Harvard Museum of Natural History. In that book, it highlights the extinct and rare species held in the MCZ collections. One of those specimens is the last Xerces butterfly, which was caught by Harry Lange (UC Davis emeritus professor of entomology). Harry's quote in that book, ‘I didn't know it was the last one, I thought there would be more' and then my time eating lunch and then wandering the MCZ collection and chatting with Ed inspired me to create the Xerces t-shirt for the Bohart Museum of Entomology.”
One of Keller's mentors, Tom Schoener, studied with Wilson. “I worked on plant ecology and island biogeography for my undergrad research (Sacramento City College)," she said, "and continued that for awhile in grad school (UC Davis). Ed Wilson was one of the founders of island biogeography.”
As a undergraduate at Sacramento City College, Keller was part of a field trip to hear Wilson speak at his 2002 book tour on The Future of Life.
UC Davis doctoral alumnus Alex Wild, an evolutionary biologist, science photographer and curator of entomology at the University of Texas, Austin, wrote this on his Twitter account, @Myrmecos, which has more than 30,000 followers: “Ed Wilson was one of my science heroes. Over the years I came to admire two things in particular. One was his ability to craft technical books so compelling as to launch scores of scientific careers in their wake.”
“The other thing is how Ed Wilson handled professional disagreement," Wild tweeted. "And he had a lot of those, because Wilson was frequently wrong. About a great range of topics. For a guy known for ant research, his interpretation of ant origins was just… silly.”
"But he continued to support, both financially and professionally, the young upstarts who, over and over, proved him wrong. That's a rare trait for a field as ego-driven as evolutionary biology.”
When a follower asked: “Can you explain to a non-biologist bug enthusiast why his interpretation of ant origins was silly?”, Wild replied: “His arrangement of the ant subfamilies, based on subjective hunches of evolutionary relationships rather than data, bore no resemblance at all to the well-supported relationships from subsequent data-based studies, like https://www.pnas.org/content/103/48/18172. (This 2006 research article, "Evaluating Alternative Hypotheses for the Early Evolution and Diversification of Ants," is co-authored by Seán G. Brady, Ted R. Schultz, Brian L. Fisher, and Philip S. Ward and edited by Bert Hölldobler, University of Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany)
“There are no words that adequately describe E.O. Wilson's courage in challenging dogma, his energy in documenting and sharing the wonders of our planet, or his extraordinary creativity," said Diane Ullman, UC Davis professor of entomology and former chair of the Department of Entomology. "So much of his writing touched me deeply, from his writing about the continuum between art and science (Consilience), to his collaboration with Bert Hölldobler, addressing the incredible biology and behavior of social insects (Superorganism). He wrote a wonderful, 'coming of age' novel, seemingly much inspired by his own youth (Anthill)."
"The first time I was able to hear him speak in person was in 1996 at the International Congress of Entomology in Florence, Italy, where he was the plenary speaker opening the meeting. He spoke passionately about loss of biodiversity, and was sounding the alarm on impact of humans and climate change on the planet. He continued to lead this charge up to the very end, never giving up on proposing potential solutions on a global scale. He was witty and with use of metaphor made us see so very many things."
Caleb Johnson, who teaches writing at Appalachian State University, Boone, N.C., described E.O. Wilson as “the world's forestmost authority on biodiversity” in an April 21, 2020 article in The Bitter Southerner. He referred to him as “A world-renowned scientific thinker whose vision for stopping this unprecedented environmental hemorrhaging is based on more than seven decades of careful witness, writing, and work in ecology and conservation."
Johnson wrote that Wilson lost his right eye in a fishing accident in the summer of 1936 near Paradise Beach, Fla., but he never let that stop his goals.
"In the 1940s, E.O. Wilson was an Alabama teenager who wandered the bottomland around Mobile and studied its creatures. He never stopped and became the world's foremost authority on biodiversity. He's 90 now, but still working, because he knows there's a way to undo the damage we've done to Mother Earth."