When you enter the Bohart Museum of Entomology, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, on Crocker Lane, University of California, Davis, be sure to look up. Way up!
Way up? Where?
Up there, on your left! See them? Above the shelved books.
What are they? Insects?
Right, they're insects. They're the mounted heads of rhinocerous beetles--the insect museum's answer to mounted deer heads.
Super Family: Scarabaeoidea
"You know we have some silly moments in the museum," said Lynn Kimsey, museum director and professor of entomology, in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
"Some time ago we received a shipment of rhino beetle donations that were badly damaged by carpet beetles. We decided to prove to the UC Davis Museum of Wildlife and Fish that we had trophy head mounts just as nice as theirs..."
It was Bohart Museum associate Greg Karofelas of Davis who suggested that the rhino beetle heads be mounted. He cut the boards from Sika spruce from a "Shield pattern," which is used to mount game heads.
Dynastinae can reach six inches in length. No, they're don't bite. No, they don't sting. The common name, "rhino," refers to the horns on the male head, used in fighting other males during the mating season, and for digging.
No battles, though, on the Bohart wall. Just one male rhino and one female rhino. Together.
Frankly, how often do you see male and female deer heads together?
Author - Communications specialist
Wade Spencer, a UC Davis entomology major who works at the Bohart Museum of Entomology, stands next to the mounted heads of rhino beetles. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Wade Spencer (left) and Parras McGrath of the Bohart Museum hold a mounted rhino beetle head next to a mounted deer head. Spencer is a UC Davis entomology major, and McGrath is a high school student (The Met, Sacramento) who also helps out at the Bohart. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Close-up of the head of a mounted male rhino beetle. Bohart Museum associate Greg Kareofelas cut the board from Sika spruce, using the Shield pattern (used to mount game heads). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)