The open house, held from 1 to 4 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 27, drew guests of all ages.
Tabatha Yang, the Bohart Museum's education and outreach coordinator, wore a green mantis costume to greet guests and show them the Madagascar hissing cockroaches and stick insects in the live petting zoo.
UC Davis alumnus Kevin Murakoshi of Davis arrived to gift the museum with intricate origami mantises that he crafted from "mantis-green" paper--one sheet per mantis. Murakoshi, a former UC Davis employee (computer research specialist) is the principal solutions architect at Amazon Web Services.
Photographer Ian Alexander Levin of Sacramento displayed his enlarged images of mantises, including one of a mantis eating a bee that drew "oohs" and "aahs." He owns a child day care center in Sacramento and likes to share his finds in the "Critter Corner" of the center. Levin is the administrator of the Facebook page, SacraMantis.
Skylar Primavera, who studied praying mantises while attending UC San Barbara (bachelor's degree in biology, 2020) displayed a live mantis as well as life-cycle models (ootheca to the adult), and answered questions about the predatory insect.
Melody Ruiz, a third-year entomology student, coordinated and staffed the family arts-and-crafts table, featuring "Mantis on a Stick." Using a green paper cutout of a mantis head attached to a popsicle stick, the budding artists colored the compound eyes and added pipe cleaners and other decorations as finishing touches.
Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum, and Brennen Dyer, collections manager, welcomed the crowd and answered questions. The Lepidoptera crew of Jeff Smith (curator of the Lepidoptera collection), Greg Kareofelas and Brittany Kohler showed guests assorted butterfly specimens collected world-wide.
A computer screen showcased the work of UC Davis doctoral alumnus Alex Wild, curator of entomology at the University of Texas, Austin, and Kathy Keatley Garvey, communications specialist, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
Guests viewed display drawers of both native and non-native mantises. At least 9 species of mantises in California, according to one display.
Five are native:
- The Arizona or bordered mantid (Stagmomantis limbata)
- Bistanta mexicana
- California mantid (Stagmomantis wheeleri=S. californica)
- Litaneutria ocularis=Litaneutria obscura
- Small gray mantid (Litaneutria pacfica)
Four are introduced:
- Chinese mantid (Tenodera sinensis)
- European mantid (Mantis religiosa)
- Mediterranean mantid (Iris oratoria)
- South African mantid (Miomantis caffra)
The Bohart Museum, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, 455 Crocker Lane, UC Davis, houses a global collection of eight million insect specimens, plus a live petting zoo and an insect-themed gift shop, stocked with t-shirts, hoodies, books, posters, jewelry, collecting equipment and more.
Professor and renowned entomologist Richard Bohart (1913-2007), a member of the UC Davis Department of Entomology (now the Department of Entomology and Nematology) faculty for more than 50 years, founded the museum in 1946.
It's BYOM at the Bohart Museum of Entomology today (Sunday, Aug. 27).
That's “Bring Your Own Mantis.”
The open house, themed "Praying Mantises," is set from 1 to 4 p.m., in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, 455 Crocker Lane. It is free and family friendly.
“Bring a live praying mantis to show and share--and to bring back home--and have your name entered into a raffle for a Bohart t-shirt of your choice!” announced Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator. “The mantis can be a purchased pet or one you found outside.”
The Bohart Museum of Entomology, founded in 1946 and directed by UC Davis distinguished professor LynnKimsey, houses a global collection of eight million insect specimens; a live petting zoo, including Madagascar hissing cockroaches, stick insects and tarantulas; and an insect-themed gift shop, stocked with books, posters, collecting equipment, t-shirts, hoodies, jewelry and more. More information is available on the website https://bohart.ucdavis.edu/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Bohart Museum of Entomology is hosting an open house, themed "Praying Mantises," on Sunday, Aug. 27 in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, 455 Crocker Lane, UC Davis campus. It is free and family friendly.
When asked what's fascinating about praying mantises, Lohit Garikipati, UC Davis entomology graduate (bachelor of science degree, 2019) wrapping up his master's degree with biologist Christopher Oufiero at Towson University,Towson, MD, said:
"What's fascinating about them... hard to pick just one thing! If I had to choose it would be their general awareness about the environment they are in. They are always watching, always waiting, and adjust their posture, behavior, and movement based on various environmental stimuli. They engage in some of the most interesting predatory behaviors; pouncing, lunging, spearing (yes, spearing!) and sometimes throwing themselves off of perches to secure potential prey. Few flightless predators can catch prey out of the air on the wing but many specialized species are more than capable of doing so. They are the insect equivalent of cats in many ways, but with some weird adaptations!"
Garikipati, who participated in many Bohart Museum open houses while a student at UC Davis, won't be at the open house on Aug. 27 but he will be their spirit. He plans to obtain his doctorate in entomology.
According to Kris Anderson of Las Vegas, an alumnus of Cornell University (master's degree in entomology) and author of Praying Mantises of the United States and Canada: "There are just 28 species of Mantodea found within the United States and Canada, the 7 largest of which are invasive species from other parts of the globe."
Some myths about praying mantises, as related by Anderson in his book, available on Amazon:
Myth: "Mantises sway back and forth while crawling to imitate vegetation blowing in the wind."
Truth: "The peering movement of mantises, demonstrated by the swaying back and forth of their body while ambulating or preparing to leap/take flight, is a behavioral adaptation to gain depth perception of their surroundings and has nothing to do with mimicry. Mantises blend into their environment by remaining motionless against a substrate that they morphologically resemble—not by moving. Peering movements causes the retinal images of nearby objects to be displaced more quickly than those of more distant objects, thus allowing the mantis to gain depth perception of its environment as it navigates forward."
Myth: "Mantises grab insects and immediately bite the neck/head to quickly kill their prey."
Truth: "The spinose forelegs of praying mantises are used to hold onto and prevent their prey from escaping. Once secured in their grip, the mantis will pull the prey forward and begin to meticulously chew upon whatever body part of the prey item is closest to their mouth—be it a leg, a wing, the thorax, abdomen, or head. No specific body region is exclusively targeted and the prey is always eaten alive, bit by bit, dying a slow death."
Myth: "Female mantises cannibalize the males while mating."
Truth: "With over 2,400 species of Mantodea worldwide, only a small fraction of species regularly engage in sexual cannibalism. Most do not. Of those that engage in this practice, the occurrence is not inevitable, as males typically escape and may mate with other partners."
The Bohart Museum, founded in 1946 and directed by UC Davis distinguished professor Lynn Kimsey, houses a global collection of eight million insect specimens, plus a live insect petting zoo (Madagascar hissing cockroaches, stick insects and tarantulas), and an insect-themed gift shop, stocked with t-shirts, hoodies, books, posters, jewelry and more.
The Bohart Museum is planning two other open houses this fall:
Saturday, Sept. 23: Household Vampires
Saturday, Nov. 4: Monarchs
All open houses are free and family friendly. At each event, the focus is on a special theme, but there's also a family arts-and-crafts activity, announced Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator.
Powell was a Bohart Museum associate and a scientific collaborator, identifying scores of insects and attending many of the Lepidopterist Society meetings held there.
The open house, free and family friendly, is set from 7 to 11 p.m., Saturday, July 22 in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, 455 Crocker Lane, UC Davis campus.
Plans call for scientists to set up their traditional blacklighting (ultraviolet or UV) display to attract moths and other night-flying insects. Bohart Research Affiliate John De Benedictus, a retired UC Davis Staff Research Associate, also known as "The Moth Man," usually heads the blacklighting project with several other scientists. De Benedictus received his master's degree in 1988 from UC Berkeley, studying with Powell. "I spent more time in the field with Jerry than any other grad student," he related. "I was privileged to be Jerry's student and lucky to have become his friend."
Jerry, born May 23, 1933 in Glendale, Calif., received his bachelor's degree in entomology at UC Berkeley in 1955 and his doctorate there in 1961. One of his most-read books, co-authored with Charles Hogue, is California Insects, Volume 44, published in 1980. The second edition, co-authored by Kip Will, Daniel Rubinoff and Powell and covering more than 600 species, was published in October, 2020.
In a tribute to Powell on its website, the Essig Museum posted in part:
"In his teen years he was heavily influenced by Charles 'Harbie' Harbison, who ran the Junior Naturalist Program at the San Diego Museum of Natural History, and sparked an interest in Jerry for butterflies and moths. Seeing his potential, Harbie recommended Jerry for the Entomology program at UC Berkeley, where he received his BS in 1955 and his PhD in 1961. While climbing through the ranks of Junior Entomologist (1961-62), Assistant Entomologist (1962-67), Associate Entomologist (1967-73), Entomologist (1973-94), Lecturer in Entomology (1964-69), Associate Professor (1969-73), and Professor (1973-94) at UC Berkeley, Jerry also became Curator (1972-2018) and Director (1993-1999) of the Essig Museum of Entomology (1972-1999) and Project Leader for the California Insect Survey (1963-1999). Although he retired as Director in 1999, Jerry remained a professor of the Graduate School until 2012 and maintained an active research program in Lepidoptera life histories and systematics until 2018, advising many students along the way. (See more on Essig website.)"
"Jerry's rearing program was the most extensive in the history of the study of New World Microlepidoptera," according to the Essig post. "For over 50 years he and his students processed more than 15,000 collections of larval or live adult Lepidoptera. Resulting data encompass more than 1,000 species of moths, through rearing either field-collected larvae or those emerging from eggs deposited by females in confinement. This total includes more than 60% of an estimated 1,500 species of Microlepidoptera occurring in California."
Powell gained international recognition when he detected the agricultural pest, the light brown apple moth, Epiphyas postvittana, in a ultralight (UV) trap on July 19, 2006 in his backyard in Berkeley.
"A consummate field biologist, Jerry's knowledge and interests were broad, allowing him to read landscapes and discover the most interesting and cryptic of species interactions," Oboyski noted. "This is well documented in over 220 publications, but also in the 60+ years of his field notes and rearing records that we are currently digitizing. He is the collector of over 400 holotypes of various insect orders, described over 170 species and 14 genera of moths, and honored by 41 patronyms. He also published papers on Hymenoptera, Coleoptera, Diptera, Dermaptera, and a Nematode. His legacy is impressive and will long be remembered."
Powell described himself as a "MothNut" on his vehicle license plate, and also displayed a sticker, "Larvae on Board."
The Bohart Museum, directed by UC Davis distinguished professor Lynn Kimsey, is the home of a global collection of eight million insect specimens; a live insect petting zoo; and a gift shop.
"I just got bit by a brown recluse spider in California."
No, you didn't--unless you recently returned from a state where they are established or handled one shipped from that area. There are no established populations of Loxoceles reclusa in California.
So said doctoral candidates Emma Jochim and Xavier Zahnle of the Jason Bond arachnology lab when they dispelled myths in their 30-minute, family friendly session about arachnids at the Bohart Museum of Entomology open house, "Many Legged-Wonders," on Saturday, March 18. First-year doctoral student Iris Quayle of the Bond lab moderated the session. Their major professor, Jason Bond, is 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.
Jochim and Zahnle covered scores of myths. Here are their answers (abbreviated and shared here by Iris Quayle)
Myth: Arachnids and myriapods are insects.
Answer: No, they're not insects. You can tell them apart by the number of body segments and legs. Arachnids have two body segments and 4 pairs of legs. Insects have 3 body segments and 3 pairs of legs, and myriapods have lots of body segments with either one or two pairs of legs per segment.
Myth: Millipedes have 1000 legs and centipedes have 100 legs.
Answer: Only one recently (2021) species of millipedes has 1000 legs, actually 1300 plus, and that is Eumillipes persephone from Australia. Many soil centipedes have more than 100 legs.
Myth: Camel spiders can jump 4 to 6 feet straight up and eat the stomachs of camels.
Answer: Most solifugid species are 2-3 inches in length and definitely cannot bite into hard camel hide. They can have a bit of a bite for humans, but have no venom, though.
Myth: These are all daddy long legs (image shown of a harvester, crane fly, and cellar spider).
Answer: This depends on where you are from regionally. They all are referred to as "daddy long legs." Also, the myth of daddy long legs being super venomous is false as being dangerous to humans. Of this group, only the Pholcids (cellar spiders) have venom. The venom of cellar spiders can kill insects but is too weak to bother humans; their venom composition is very weak.
Myth: Black widows get their name because females always cannibalize males after mating.
Answer: That is why they got their name, but they are not the only spiders who do this. It is actually quite common fpr a a male to offer a nuptial gift in the form of a fly or other food source to deter the female from devouring him.
Myth: This creature (image of an amblypygid shown) exists only in the fictional world of Harry Potter.
Answer: Amblypygids are very real and are arachnids, but not spiders.
Myth: You consume eight spiders in your sleep every year.
Answer: It's highly unlikely that you will ever consume any in your sleep.
Myth: Every tick will give you a deadly disease
Answer: Ticks are vectors for lots of diseases. Here in California only the blacklegged tick carries Lyme disease.
Myth: Baby scorpions are deadlier than adults.
Answer: No, they do not produce enough to be deadly.
Myth: Both millipedes and centipedes bite.
Answer: Only centipedes bite and they are venomous.
Statements for the Audience: True or false?
The audience was invited to call out the answers.
Statement: There are spiders that can spit silk out of their mouth.
Answer: True. The family Scytodidae spit silk as well as produce silk though their spinnerets. Used for mating and prey capture.
Statement: Maternal care can be seen in some arachnids and myriapods.
Answer: True. Many arachnids carry their young on their backs, and myriapods will protect their egg clutch.
Statement: The grasshopper mouse is immune to scorpion venom.
Answer: True. Bark scorpions comprise the majority of its diet.
Statement: Some myriapods and all scorpions fluoresce.
Answer: True, main theories for scorpions are that they use this to communicate in the dark or to warn of predators. Main theory for myriapods is that it is to warn of predators. Some myriapods are eyeless (blind).
Bohart Open House. The Bohart Museum open house, held from 1 to 4 p.m., featured displays of arachnids. Visitors conversed with the scientists and held Madagascar hissing cockroaches and walking sticks from the Bohart's live petting zoo. Directed by UC Davis distinguished professor Lynn Kimsey, the Bohart Museum houses a global collection of eight million insect specimens, plus the petting zoo and a gift shop. Located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, 455 Crocker Lane, UC Davis campus, it is open to the public Mondays through Thursdays, from 8 a.m. to noon, and 1 to 5 p.m. More information is available on the Bohart website at https://bohart.ucdavis.edu or by emailing email@example.com.
Resources on brown recluse spiders (Rick Vetter, UC Riverside)
- How to Identify and Misidentify a Brown Recluse Spider
- Myth of the Brown Recluse: Fact, Fear, and Loathing
- Recluse Spider Map