Behold the Dragonfly

Sep 17, 2008

Some folks wear their heart on their sleeve.  

Others wear a dragonfly on their chest.

As part of its public outreach education program and to showcase the world of insects, the Bohart Museum of Entomology at the University of California, Davis, has created t-shirts featuring a California dragonfly.

The t-shirt, designed by entomology doctoral candidate Fran Keller, features the white-belted ringtail, also known as a gomphid dragonfly, from the family

UC Davis undergraduate student William Yuen, a part-time employee at the Bohart, traced the insect from a photo taken by Davis nature photographer
Greg Kareofelas.

The dragonfly also appears on the Bohart’s “California Dragonfly Poster,” the work of Keller and Kareofelas.

“William is an excellent artist, a brilliant student, a hard worker and has worked in the museum for two years,” said Keller. “I wanted to immortalize him and his talent and for his contributions to the museum.”  

 “This drawing is so precise you could identify this dragonfly by its wing venation,” Keller said.  The insect order (Odonata), family, species name and common name appear beneath the wing.  

Keller said more than 5000 species of dragonflies exist worldwide.  “Dragonflies don’t harm people; they don’t bite or sting,” she said.   

What else about dragonflies?

  • Female dragonflies lay their eggs in or near water.
  • They beat their wings about 30 beats per second (bps), compared to a honey bee’s 300 bps
  • In both their larval and adult stages, dragonflies eat mosquitoes.  The larvae eat mosquito nymphs and other insects. As adults, they grab mosquitoes and other insects in mid-air.

The Bohart Museum is offering both short-sleeved and long-sleeved shirts in various colors online and at the museum, 1124 Academic Surge.  Prices range from $18 to $20.  

Proceeds will benefit the Bohart’s insect outreach education program. The museum, directed by entomologist Lynn Kimsey, chair of the Department of Entomology, is home to more than seven million specimens.   

Education coordinator Brian Turner and senior museum scientist Steve Heydon offer tours throughout the year, including the campuswide Picnic Day in the spring. Turner delivers presentations to schools, public libraries, fairs, garden clubs and others as part of the Bohart’s outreach efforts.

For more information, see or contact the museum at
(530) 752-0493.

By Kathy Keatley Garvey
Author - Communications specialist

Attached Images:

UC Davis undergraduate student William Yuen wearing his dragonfly t-shirt. He has worked part-time in the Bohart Museum of Entomology for two years. (Photo by Fran Keller)

William Yuen wearing dragonfly t-shirt

This is the white-belted ringtail dragonfly from the Bohart Museum of Entomology poster. The poster and dragonfly t-shirts are available at the Bohart Museum, 1124 Academic Surge, UC Davis, or at

White-belted ringtail dragonfly

This spectacular dragonfly photo, taken by UC Davis entomology doctoral candidate Fran Keller, is a Sympetrum sp. that she took in her back yard on July 28, 2007, in North Davis. This is one of her favorite photos.

Sympetrum by Fran Keller