You Gotta Love Those Praying Mantids!

Sep 27, 2017

You gotta love those praying mantids!

An orchid mantis and a ghost mantis fascinated visitors at the recent open house hosted by the Bohart Museum of Entomology

Officers of the UC Davis Entomology Club displayed mantids from the collection of secretary Lohitashwa "Lohit" Garikipati, who breeds the insects.

Garikipati also showed the European praying mantis, Mantis religiosa, an introduced species, and a native mantis, Stagmomantis limbata.

But it was a female orchid mantis that drew the most attention. The pink and white insect resembles orchid petals.

Helping him show the insects were Ent Club president Chloe Shott and treasurer Crystal Homicz. Membership in the club, which meets on Mondays at 6 p.m. in 122 Briggs Hall, is open to all interested persons. Forensic entomologist Robert Kimsey of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology serves as the advisor. Club activities include speaker presentations, outings, a float in the UC Davis Picnic Day parade, open house at Briggs Hall during the Picnic Day; and scientific excursions to Alcatraz Island.

Entomologist Jeff Smith, who curates the Lepidoptera collection at the Bohart, showed visitors how to pin and spread butterflies and moths. Another display featured cabbage white butterflies.

All Bohart Museum open houses are family friendly and free and open to the public. The museum is located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane.

The next weekend open houses scheduled are:

  • Saturday, Nov. 18, "Parasitoid Palooza," from 1 to 4 p.m.
  • Sunday, Jan. 21: "Bug-Art @ The Bohart," from 1 to 4 p.m.
  • Saturday, Feb. 17: The campuswide "Biodiversity Museum Day" (hours to be announced)
  • Saturday, April 21: The all-day campuswide UC Davis Picnic Day

The Bohart Museum, directed by Lynn Kimsey, UC Davis professor of entomology, is a world-renowned insect museum that houses a global collection of nearly eight million specimens. It also maintains a live “petting zoo,” featuring walking sticks, Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks, praying mantids, and tarantulas. A gift shop, open year around, offers 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. 

For more information, contact the or access the website or Facebook page. For more information on praying mantis, see Mantis Keepers, a Facebook page administered by Andrew Pfeifer of Monroe County, North Carolina.