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Posts Tagged: insects

Your Wish Will Come True Saturday, Feb. 8

Original art work by UC Davis student Marisol Gonzalez for Biodiversity Day.
How many times have you walked around the University of California, Davis campus on a weekend and wished: "If only those buildings were open--I'd love to see what's inside!"

Well, on Saturday, Feb. 8 your wish will come true. You can not only see what's inside but ask those questions you've always wanted to ask.

It's the third annual UC Davis Biodiversity Day, when six biological museums open their doors to an eagerly awaiting public. It's set from noon to 4 p.m. 

It will be open house at these sites:

They're all within walking distance but you may want to bike or drive. This event is free and open to the public. There's free parking, too.  Families are encouraged to attend. 

What's to see? Well, for starters: insects and insect specimens, carnivorous plants, fossils and birds. You'll be able to talk to the experts.

See the Bohart Museum website to download a map. For more information on Biodiversity Day, contact Tabatha Yang of the Bohart Museum at tabyang@ucdavis.edu.

A walking stick being fed a leaf at the Bohart Museum of Entomology. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A walking stick being fed a leaf at the Bohart Museum of Entomology. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A walking stick being fed a leaf at the Bohart Museum of Entomology. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 9:49 PM
Tags: birds (1), insects (11), plants (1), UC Davis Biodiversity Day (1)

'The December Event' at the Bohart Museum of Entomology

Senior museum scientist Steve Heydon. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
They're calling it "The December Event."

Because that's what it is.

It's an event held in December, specifically Saturday, Dec. 7 from noon to 3 p.m. when the Bohart Museum of Entomology extends its weekday hours so folks can see the global insect collection, hold live critters from the "petting zoo," ask questions, and browse the gift shop.

Wouldn't it be interesting if "The December Event" drew a long line of bug lovers comparable to the swell of Black Friday shoppers? Can't you just see it? Families eagerly waiting in line for the the noon opening...the big dash when the doors swing open...smiles everywhere...

Science never looked so good...or so popular!

The Bohart Museum, home of nearly eight million specimens, is located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge building on Crocker Lane, UC Davis campus. The building is near the intersection of LaRue Road and Crocker Lane.

Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum and professor of entomology in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, was the last graduate student of noted entomologist Richard M. Bohart, for whom the museum is named.

So, Dec. 7 is a good time to stop in, check out the insect specimens, and maybe hold a Madagascar hissing cockroach, a walking stick, a rose-haired tarantula or a praying mantis. Bring your camera. The photo could wind up on a unique holiday card.

Bug lovers can also visit the year-around gift shop, which includes t-shirts, sweatshirts, posters, books, insect nets, butterfly habitats, and insect-themed candy. (Items can also be ordered online. Proceeds benefit the Bohart Museum.)

Wait, there's more! You can have your name or the name of a loved one "permanently attached" to an insect through the Bohart Museum's   BioLegacy program.

BioLegacy supports species discovery and naming, research and teaching activities of the museum through sponsorships, said Kimsey. "At a time when support for taxonomic and field research is shrinking, researchers find it increasingly difficult to discover, classify and name undescribed species. Yet there are thousands yet to be discovered. Taxonomy is the basis of all biology and without species discovery and naming much of the world’s biodiversity will remain unknown and therefore unprotectable."

As noted on the BioLegacy website, the program

  • Provides donors the opportunity to sponsor and give a scientific name to a newly discovered insect species;
  • Provides researchers responsible for identifying the new species with names provided by donors;
  • Ensures that names provide by donors are used in a scientifically sound and scientifically correct manner in accordance with International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature rules;
  • Provides donors with documentary proof of their name for the new species in question;
  • Ensures that donated funds go to the support of taxonomical research in the Bohart Museum of Entomology; and
  • Publishes donor-named species and information about the research on its website.

Bottom line: the species naming is a "unique, lasting form of dedication." A minimum sponsorship of $2500 is requested.

A Bohart Museum volunteer at work. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A Bohart Museum volunteer at work. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A Bohart Museum volunteer at work. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Madgascar hissing cockroaches are a popular attraction at the Bohart Museum. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Madgascar hissing cockroaches are a popular attraction at the Bohart Museum. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Madgascar hissing cockroaches are a popular attraction at the Bohart Museum. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 10:12 PM

Thankful for Insects

Of the many things I'm thankful for on this Thanksgiving Day, I am thankful for the millions of insects that populate our planet. Scientists have described more than a million species, but there may be 10 million more undescribed.

I am thankful for honey bees. There is no more comforting sound on a warm summer day than the buzz of bees as they pollinate the plants and return to their colonies with nectar and pollen. I am thankful for their role in providing the fruits and vegetables that we eat.

But that's just me.

I am thankful for bumble bees, especially the endangered ones that struggle to overcome the tragic changes to their environment. Bumble bees are social insects but what developers and others are doing to them is definitely anti-social.

But that's just me.

I am thankful for butterflies, nature's flying art that flutter in our garden and touch gently down on blossoms for a lingering sip of nectar. Their beauty overwhelms me.

But that's just me.

I am thankful for the pre-historic looking dragonflies that glide gracefully over our ponds and streams to snag mosquitoes and other undeirable insects. 

But that's just me.

I am thankful for the insects that clothe us: the bees for pollinating cotton plants, and the silkworms for spinning cocoons.

But that's just me.

I am thankful for the beneficial insects, like honey bees, ladybugs, lacewings, assassin bugs, damsel bugs, soldier beetles, big-eyed bugs, syrphids, and parasitic mini-wasps.

But that's just me.

I am thankful for bee gardens, gardeners, entomologists and insect photographers. Frankly, I would rather spend an afternoon photographing insects in my backyard than sitting on a crowded beach in Hawaii with a little umbrella decorating a drink that I don't drink.

But that's just me.

I am thankful I don't engage in recreational shopping, collect pretentious possessions, or focus on five-star restaurants, especially when starving, ravaged and troubled souls sit forlornly outside. I firmly believe that Brown Thursday, Black Friday and Cyber Monday should not be an integral part of our lives, and that “greed” should be replaced by “giving."

But that's just me.

I'm happy with what I have. To me, it's important to “want” what you have, than to “have” what you want.

But that's just me.

Today I'm especially thankful for two Gulf Fritillary butterflies that just emerged from their chrysalids. 

The double emergence may seem like a “minor” thing to be thankful for today but it's the “minor" things that I treasure. And why "happy" should always precede the name of this holiday. 

"THANKS...

GIVING." 

A honey bee heading for a tower of jewels, Echium wildpretii. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A honey bee heading for a tower of jewels, Echium wildpretii. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A honey bee heading for a tower of jewels, Echium wildpretii. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A Western tiger swallowtail on a Mexican sunflower. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A Western tiger swallowtail on a Mexican sunflower. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A Western tiger swallowtail on a Mexican sunflower. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A flame skimmer dragonfly at rest. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A flame skimmer dragonfly at rest. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A flame skimmer dragonfly at rest. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Thursday, November 28, 2013 at 12:24 PM

Let's Hear It for 'The Buzz'

Vivienne Statham: the fascination shows in her face. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
It's such a joy to see little kids fascinated with bugs.

The UC Davis-based Bohart Museum of Entomology, home of nearly eight million insect specimens, is a good place to start.

Last Sunday two little 18-month-old girls intently watched an observation bee hive, much as their older counterparts would gaze at a computer screen.

The hive, an educational tool, was from the nearby Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility.

The toddlers quickly spotted the queen bee, the one with a red dot on her thorax. They watched the worker bees tend to her every need. They watched the nurse bees feed the brood, and undertaker bees carry off their dead. 

With ears pressed closely to the hive, they listened to "The Buzz."

Tilly Matern of Woodland and Vivienne Statham of Davis knew what was making the buzz. 

"Bees," said Tilly.  Then she looked at a painted bug on the floor and identified another insect. "Ant," she said.

The occasion: the Bohart Museum's open house, themed "Insect Societies."

It doesn't appear that they will develop entomophobia (fear of insects) or apiphobia (fear of bees) or myrmecophobia (fear of ants) any time soon.

Start 'em while they're young and who knows--maybe they'll become entomologists!

Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis, serves as the director of the Bohart Museum, located at 1124 Academic Surge on Crocker Lane (formerly California Drive. The insect museum includes a live "petting zoo," complete with Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks and a rose-haired tarantula. There's also a gift shop filled with t-shirts, sweat shirts, posters, jewelry, insect nets and insect-themed candy. 

The Bohart Museum has scheduled its next weekend open house (free and open to the public) for Saturday, Dec. 15 from 1 to 4 p.m. The theme: "Insects in Art." Check the schedule for the remaining open houses for the 2012-2013 academic year.   

Although special weekend open houses are held once a month, visitors can tour the museum from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday.  It is closed to the public on Fridays and on major holidays. 

Leia Matern (far left) shows Vivienne Statham (center) and Tilly Matern the honey bee observation hive. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Leia Matern (far left) shows Vivienne Statham (center) and Tilly Matern the honey bee observation hive. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Leia Matern (far left) shows Vivienne Statham (center) and Tilly Matern the honey bee observation hive. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Two 18-month-old girls checking out the bees: Tilly Matern (left) and Vivienne Statham (right). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Two 18-month-old girls checking out the bees: Tilly Matern (left) and Vivienne Statham (right). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Two 18-month-old girls checking out the bees: Tilly Matern (left) and Vivienne Statham (right). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Queen bee with a red dot on her thorax. She is cared by by worker bees (infertile females). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Queen bee with a red dot on her thorax. She is cared by by worker bees (infertile females). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Queen bee with a red dot on her thorax. She is cared for by worker bees (infertile females). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Monday, November 19, 2012 at 11:12 PM

Why Spiders Are Not Insects

It's almost time for Halloween, when all self-respecting little ghosts, goblins and ghouls take a special interest in spiders. 

We saw this little jumping spider (below) on a pink rose. It doesn't look like it could scare anything--except for maybe a sweat bee or hover fly.

This year the Explorit Science Center of Davis, a hands-on science museum located at 3141 5th St., is taking a special interest in spiders.

The center is sponsoring a number of programs on these critters and posted "Facts About Spiders" on its website.

For one thing, many people think spiders are insects. They're not.

Both spiders and insects are invertebrates, but spiders are not insects.

Insects have a head, thorax and abdomen, and the thorax has three pairs of legs. They also eyes, antennae and mouthparts, the Explorit Science Center website points out.  "The entire body is protected by a tough outer covering called an exoskeleton. Animals that share these characteristics are called insects. The group to which they belong is called the Insecta."

Spiders, as the Explorit Science Center explains, have two main body parts. "The body consists of a combined head and thorax called the cephalothorax, and the abdomen. The cephalothorax has the eyes, mouthparts (no antennae) and four pairs of legs. Animals that share these characteristics include ticks, mites, scorpions and spiders. The group is called the Arachnida."

And speaking of spiders, schooolchildren visiting the Bohart Museum of Entomology on the UC Davis campus occasionally ask to "see the spiders." The Bohart is an insect museum (although the officials have been known to showcase a few spiders, too.)

Mark your calendar for Saturday, Oct. 27 for the Bohart's public open house from 1 to 4 p.m. in 1124 Academic Surge on Crocker Drive (nearest intersection is LaRue Road.) This is a pre-Halloween open house and there definitely will be assorted spiders at the insect museum!

A jumping spider on a pink rose soaks in some sun. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A jumping spider on a pink rose soaks in some sun. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A jumping spider on a pink rose soaks in some sun. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Garden spider weaving a web. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Garden spider weaving a web. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Garden spider weaving a web. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Black widow spider with egg sacs. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Black widow spider with egg sacs. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Black widow spider with egg sacs. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Friday, October 19, 2012 at 5:37 PM

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