They Met the Mantids--and Scores of Other Critters

They met the mantids, walking sticks, beetle-mimicking roaches, Madagascar hissing cockroaches, tarantulas, silkworm moths, a butterfly, a dozen caterpillars and a chrysalis.

It was a great day to get acquainted with insects and arachnids and learn how to raise them.

And the nearly 300 visitors did just that at the recent UC Davis Bohart Museum of Entomology open house, "Arthropod Husbandry: Raising Insects for Research and Fun." The guests held the critters, photographed them, and asked questions of the scientists.

At first they didn't see the praying mantids reared by entomologist and UC Davis alumnus Lohit Garikipati. They were there, all right, but camouflaged amid the leaves and branches.

The five species of mantids Garikipati displayed included a tropical shield praying mantis, Choeradodis stalii, also known as a hooded mantis or leaf mantis, and a spiny flower praying mantis, Pseudocreobotra wahlbergii.

UC Davis entomology student Andrew Goffinet, a former UC Davis Bio Boot Camper, discussed rearing butterflies and moths. He showed the visitors a display of Gulf Fritillaries, caterpillars and a chrysalis.

Entomology alumnus Nicole Tam, showed her beetle-mimicking roaches and talked about rearing insects in the Geoffrey Attardo lab. Doctoral student and Bohart associate Ziad Khouri explained how to rear tarantulas and millipedes. Entomology student Ben Maples kept the crowd interested with the "hissers"--Madagascar hissing cockroaches.

Silkworm moth expert İsmail Şeker, a Turkish medical doctor who wrote a book about silkworm moths and the cottage silk industry in his home town, displayed specimens and showed a video (See Bug Squad blog.)

Jeff Smith, who curates the Lepidoptera section, and naturalist Greg Kareofelas, opened the drawers of butterflies and moths.  Entomology student Ian Clark staffed the family crafts activity, assisting youngsters in making decorated finger puppets from Seker-donated silkworm cocoons.

Entomologist Ann Kao, a 2019 UC Davis graduate and newly employed by   the California Department of Food and Agriculture, crafted and displayed her insect jewelry. 

Tabatha Yang, educational and outreach coordinator,  coordinated the open house. The Bohart crew also included Bohart associates Emma Cluff, James Heydon,  Brennen Dyer and Xiaofan Yang.

Special guests included 40 students from the Samuel Jackson Middle School and the James Rutter Middle School, Elk Grove Unified School District, in a program offering special educational opportunities and mentoring. The youths wore t-shirts lettered with "The Power of Us" on the front, and "Resilient, Authentic, Passionate" on the back.

The Bohart Museum, directed by Lynn Kimsey, UC Davis professor of entomology, 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.

In addition to the specimens, the Bohart Museum maintains a live "petting zoo," featuring Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks or stick insects and tarantulas. The museum's gift shop, open year around, is stocked with T-shirts, sweatshirts, books, jewelry, posters, insect-collecting equipment and insect-themed candy.

More information on the Bohart Museum is available on the website at http://bohart.ucdavis.edu or by contacting (530) 752-0493 or bmuseum@ucdavis.edu.


By Kathy Keatley Garvey
Author - Communications specialist

Attached Images:

A tropical praying mantis, Choeradodis stalii: camouflaged. Lohit Garikipati displayed five of his female praying mantids. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A tropical praying mantis, Choeradodis stalii: camouflaged. Lohit Garikipati displayed five of his female praying mantids. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Middle school students from the Elk Grove Unified School District talk to praying mantis expert Lohit Garikipati, a UC Davis alumnus who rears mantids. In back is Bohart associate Emma Cluff. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Middle school students from the Elk Grove Unified School District talk to praying mantis expert Lohit Garikipati, a UC Davis alumnus who rears mantids. In back is Bohart associate Emma Cluff. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Doctoral student and Bohart associate Ziad Khouri talks to visitors about tarantulas and millipedes. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Doctoral student and Bohart associate Ziad Khouri talks to visitors about tarantulas and millipedes. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Bohart associate Greg Kareofelas explains the moth and butterfly collection to a group of Elk Grove middle students. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Bohart associate Greg Kareofelas explains the moth and butterfly collection to a group of Elk Grove middle students. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Entomology alumnus Nicole Tam talks about her beetle-mimicking roaches. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Entomology alumnus Nicole Tam talks about her beetle-mimicking roaches. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Entomology student Ian Clark staffs the family crafts activity, which involved decorating silkworm cocoons for finger puppets. In back are silkworm moth expert İsmail Şeker and UC Davis entomology student Andrew Goffinet. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Entomology student Ian Clark staffs the family crafts activity, which involved decorating silkworm cocoons for finger puppets. In back are silkworm moth expert İsmail Şeker and UC Davis entomology student Andrew Goffinet. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Entomology student Ben Maples shows a Madagascar hissing cockroach. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Gavey)

Entomology student Ben Maples shows a Madagascar hissing cockroach. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Gavey)

A Bohart Museum of Entomolgoy visitor gets acquainted with an Australian walking stick. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A Bohart Museum of Entomolgoy visitor gets acquainted with an Australian walking stick. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Entomologist Jeff Smith, who curates the Lepitoptera section, awaits visitors. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Entomologist Jeff Smith, who curates the Lepitoptera section, awaits visitors. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Entomologist Ann Kao, a 2019 UC Davis graduate who now works at the California Department of Food and Agriculture, crafts insect jewelry. At right is one of the t-shirts from the gift shop. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Entomologist Ann Kao, a 2019 UC Davis graduate who now works at the California Department of Food and Agriculture, crafts insect jewelry. At right is one of the t-shirts from the gift shop. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)