Diversity of Bugs at Bohart Museum of Entomology

If diversity is the spark of life, then the Bohart Museum of Entomology is fueling that spark into a full flame.

The Bohart Museum, home of nearly eight million insect specimens collected worldwide, will be one of the 13 museums or collections open on Saturday, Feb. 15 during the ninth annual UC Davis Biodiversity Museum Day.

Directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis, the Bohart Museum is located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane. Scientists at the insect museum will greet visitors, show specimens, and answer questions from 9 a.m. to noon. The insect museum is also the home of a live "petting zoo," including Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks, and tarantulas. Its year-around gift shop is stocked insect-themed t-shirts and jewelry, books, posters, and collecting equipment.

Here's what's on tap for the campuswide Biodiversity Museum Day, a science-based day that's free and family friendly. The event drew 4000 visitors last year.

The schedule:

The following five will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.:

Two collections will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.:

These five will be open from noon to 4 p.m.:

New this year will be public talks from noon to 1 p.m. in 194 Young Hall. The slate of speakers:

  • Art Shapiro, distinguished professor of evolution and ecology, will discuss “Are Our Butterflies in Trouble?” (“Yes, they mostly are in trouble,” he says. He will discuss “How do we know and why?”)
  • Gabrielle Nevitt, professor of animal behavior (on leave), will speak on “How Do Sub-Antarctic Seabirds Find their Food in the Vast Ocean?” (“They follow their nose," she says, "and sometimes it gets them into trouble.”)
  • Melanie Truan, research ecologist, UC Davis Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology, will cover “Biodiversity Studies at the UC Davis Wildlife Museum.” Biodiversity studies, she says, “can tell us a lot about the world and how it is functioning. This is especially important today where the influence of Homo sapiens is having profound impacts on the planet and its inhabitants.” She will touch on some of the ways that the UC Davis Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology incorporates biodiversity into its research. 

Each scientist will present a 15-minute talk, with a question-and-answer session to follow.

All participating museums and collections have active education and outreach programs, said Biodiversity Museum Day coordinator Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator for the Bohart Museum,  but the collections are not always accessible to the public.   Maps, signs and guides will be available at all the collections, and also online at http://biodiversitymuseumday.edu, and on social media, including Facebook and Twitter, @BioDivDay.