Some 145 people visited the UC Davis Bohart Museum of Entomology's open house last Saturday night between 8 and 11 in celebration of National Moth Week. Most stayed for the entire time, said Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator.
Bohart Museum associate Greg Kareofelas and senior museum scientist Steve Heydon set up a blacklighting display: a white sheet and a mercury vapor lighting to attract moths and other flying insects.
“We recorded more than 15 species,” said Kareofelas, who has collected moths in his backyard in Davis for some 25 years. The first moth to arrive was the alfalfa looper moth, Trichopusia ni, and “the most striking,” he said, “was the grape leaffolder, Desmia funeralis.”
Inside the museum, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane, moths and butterflies took center stage. Visitors expressed amazement at the sizes and colors. Bohart associate Jeff Smith of Sacramento, who curates the butterfly and moth specimens, showed the worldwide collection and fielded questions.
Bohart associates and UC Davis students Lohitashwa Garikipati and Emma Cluff, UC Davis students, showed the museum's live petting zoo, which includes Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks, praying mantids and walking sticks.
The Bohart visitors gazed at the photo of President Trump and remarked how tiny the moth is. The wingspan of the orange-yellow moth is less than one centimeter.
Nazari published the piece on the Trump moth Jan. 17, 2016 in the journal Zookeys and explained the name: “The reason for this choice of names is to bring wider public attention to the need to continue protecting fragile habitats in the U.S. that still contain many undescribed species."
Three Trump moths were collected in a Malaise trap in one of the washes on the east side of the dunes. In a contract with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the Bohart scientists have collected nearly 2,000 species of insects from about 200 square miles of sand, according to Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology and professor of entomology at UC Davis. Some six percent are new to science.
Of the Trump moths collected, Nazari kept one in Canada, the norm--but the holotype, the one he determined as the standard for the species--is a permanent part of the Bohart, said Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator.
The Neopalpa donaldtrumpi belongs to the family, Gelechiidae of the Lepitoptera order.
The next summer open house, also free and open to the public, is Sunday, Aug. 27 from 1 to 4 p.m. the theme is “Bark Beetles and Trees, Forest Health in California." The event is in collaboration with Steve Seybold, USDA Forest Service entomologist and an associate of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. He and his students and staff will be there to show displays and answer questions.
The Bohart Museum, directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis, houses a global collection of nearly eight million specimens. It is also the home of the seventh largest insect collection in North America, and the California Insect Survey, a storehouse of the insect biodiversity. Noted entomologist Richard M. Bohart (1913-2007) founded the museum.
The museum's gift shop, open year around, includes T-shirts, sweatshirts, books, jewelry, posters, insect-collecting equipment and insect-themed candy.
The Bohart Museum's regular hours are from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. The museum is closed to the public on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and on major holidays. Admission is free.
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 email@example.com.
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.
DAVIS--What to do the day before Moth’ers Day?
The Bohart Museum of Entomology is planning an open house themed Moth’ers Day, featuring moths, from 1 to 4 p.m., Saturday, May 11.
The event, free and open to the public, will take place in Room 1124 of Academic Surge on Crocker Lane, UC Davis campus.
The focus is on moths, most of which are nocturnal, unlike butterflies which fly during the day. Moths of all sizes, shapes, colors and patterns will be displayed, said Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator.
Scientists will explain the difference between moths and butterflies.
The Bohart Museum, directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis, houses a global collection of nearly eight million insect specimens and is the seventh largest insect collection in North America. It is also the home of the California Insect Survey, a storehouse of the insect biodiversity. Noted entomologist Richard M. Bohart (1913-2007) founded the museum.
Visitors can not only examine drawers of moth specimens, but also can hold such live specimens as Madagascar hissing cockroaches, a rose-haired tarantula and walking sticks.
The gift shop includes t-shirts, jewelry, insect nets, posters and books, including the newly published children’s book, “The Story of the Dogface Butterfly,” written by UC Davis doctoral candidate Fran Keller and illustrated (watercolor and ink) by Laine Bauer, a 2012 graduate of UC Davis. The 35-page book, geared toward kindergarteners through sixth graders, also includes photos by naturalist Greg Kareofelas of Davis, a volunteer at the Bohart.
The book tells the untold story of the California dogface butterfly (Zerene eurydice), Keller said. Bauer’s illustrations depict the life cycle of this butterfly and the children who helped designate it as the California state insect.
The net proceeds from the sale of this book go directly to the education, outreach and research programs of the Bohart Museum. The book can also be ordered online at http://www.bohartmuseum.com/the-story-of-the-dogface-butterfly.html.
Bohart officials schedule weekend open houses throughout the academic year so that families and others who cannot attend on the weekdays can do so on the weekends. The Bohart’s regular hours are from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday. The insect museum is closed to the public on Fridays and on major holidays. Admission is free.
The last open house of the academic year is from 1 to 4 p.m., Sunday, June 9. The theme is "How to Find Insects."
For further information, contact Yang at firstname.lastname@example.org or (530) 752-0493.