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.
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.
The Bohart Museum of Entomology has scheduled three fall open houses:
Sunday, Aug. 27: Praying Mantises
Saturday, Sept. 23: Household Vampires
Saturday, Nov. 4: Monarchs
The open houses, free and family friendly, take place from 1 to 4 p.m. in the insect museum, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, 455 Crocker Lane, UC Davis campus. Parking is free.
At each event, the focus is on a special theme, but there's also a family arts-and-crafts activity. Visitors can view insect displays and hold the Madagascar hissing cockroaches and stick insects from the live petting zoo.
The museum, founded in 1946, is directed by UC Davis distinguished professor Lynn Kimsey. It houses a global collection of eight million insect specimens. In addition to the petting zoo, it houses a year-around, insect-themed gift shop.
(More details are pending)