Backyard Orchard News
Cultural entomologist Emmet Brady, host of the Insect News Network, a Davis-based program on radio station KDRT 95.7 FM, is planning something special on Friday, Nov. 14 in Nevada City and you're all invited.
It's called "Cross Pollination: a Microcosmic Journey and it's a live filming segment on the art and the science of the microcosm, complete with decor, multimedia projections, interactive installations and costumes-- to showcase what Brady calls "the amazing designs, habits and beauty of insects, spiders and flowers."
Folks are invited to dress as their favorite insect, spider or flower to celebrate a gathering of the insect tribe.
The event footage will then be webcast in January for the Bee-A-Thon 4, an annual event to raise awareness about honey bees, pollinators and the importance of the microcosm.
The event will take place from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. in the Miners' Foundry Cultural Center, 325 Spring St., Nevada City. For more information, access the specially created Facebook page.
Brady says Love and Light, Pega5u5 (Mr. Rogers and Pharroh), Ra So, Sambadrop, and Eminent Bee will be among the entertainers, with microscopic visuals by Sonik Galixsee.
If you dressed up as an insect, spider or flower costume for Halloween, no problem. You can resurrect your costume.
Or just create something special. Expand on the idea of butterfly wings worn by UC Davis entomology graduate student Christine Melvin at the Bohart Museum of Entomology. The wings were a popular attraction last month as visitors to the UC Davis insect museum tried on the wings and pretended to be monarchs on their migration to overwintering sites along coastal California and in central Mexico.
UC Davis entomology undergraduate student Christine Melvin models the monarch wings on display at the Bohart Museum of Entomology, UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
For years we've marveled at the migrating whales passing Point Reyes as we stood glued to our binoculars.
And we've expressed awe that a bird--a plover--makes nonstop flights over the central Pacific Ocean from Alaska to Australia and New Zealand.
Amazing. Nothing short of incredible, especially when you consider that many homo sapiens can't find their way out of a parking lot.
They're all on the move. But how many of us have seen the lesser known migrants, such as winged aphids, ballooning spiders, mites, locusts, pelicans, grasshoppers, and armyworm moths, on the move?
Enter Hugh Dingle, an emeritus professor of entomology at the University of California, Davis, and a worldwide authority on animal migration.
Dingle, who was featured in National Geographic's cover story on "Great Migrations in November 2010 and interviewed by LiveScience for its November 2010 piece on “Why Do Animals Migrate?", has just published the second edition of his book, Migration: The Biology of Life on the Move (Oxford University Press), a sequel to the first edition published in 1996.
The full understanding of migration, or “life on the move,” involves genetics, physiology, and morphology, as well as behavior and ecology, Dingle says.
"The program or syndrome includes specific modifications of metabolic physiology like enhanced fat storage to fuel migration and of sensory systems to detect inputs from the sun, stars, and magnetic field lines to determine compass direction. Intimately involved in the latter are daily and yearly biological clocks. The pathway followed is an outcome of the syndrome of migratory behavior and is part of the ecology that provides the natural selection acting to determine the evolution of migration.”
Not all migration is a round trip; sometimes it's one-way, Dingle says. “Important defining behavioral characteristics are specific departure and arrival tactics and the refusal to stop even in favorable habitats until the migration program is complete,” Dingle says. “In the words of National Geographic reporter David Quammen migrants ‘are flat-out just gonna get there.'"
Why is it important to understand the biological basis of migration and its evolution? “Because migration is so widespread and because migrants have such impact on both natural and man-altered ecosystems,” says Dingle, who achieved emeritus status in 2003 after serving on the faculty of the UC Davis Department of Entomology (now the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology) from 1982 to 2002.
In his book, Dingle covers the interaction between behavior and outcome. Another important focus: he covers the relation between migration and life histories, including the evolutionary genetics of the relationship. Long-distance round-trips, for example, require long lifespans, hence most insects, although not all, migrate only one-way.
“Natural selection acts differently on long versus short lives," Dingle says. "With long lives there are usually many opportunities to produce offspring; with short lives there may be only one. Thus reproductive opportunities may determine when and where to migrate. Migrating aphids postpone reproduction until they colonize new host plants; birds reproduce following migration in the spring, but not in the fall. Some birds and insects use migration to exploit ‘rich patches' and breed in different places in different years or even in the same year."
Dingle, former secretary of the International Society for Behavioral Ecology and past president of the Animal Behavior Society, says he wrote the book for "students of migration and for those biologists who are generally interested in the functioning and adaptations of whole organisms."
Dingle is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Animal Behavior Society. His research has taken him throughout the world, including the UK, Kenya, Thailand, Panama, Germany and Australia.
In some respects, he, too, migrated.
A mighty male Monarch on the move. On its way to one of coastal California's overwintering sites, it stops to sip from flight fuel (nectar) from a Mexican sunflower, Tithonia. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Recently, severe root rot and mortality was observed on young potted pistachio rootstock trees...
Dr. Elizabeth Fichtner infests nutritional substrate with Phytopythium.
Pistachio seedlings potted in infested soil from Phytopythium helicoides as part of the requirements for fulfilling Koch’s Postulates to demonstrate pathogenicity of the organism.
John Iniguez from USDA-APHIS conducts a Permit Containment Inspection with Dr. Fichtner at the new Plant Pathology lab at Lindcove REC.
Katie Wilson assists Dr. Elizabeth Fichtner with transplanting pistachio plants into infested potting soil.
About 20 organizations with missions that include public service shared what they do to help maintain healthy communities, people, and the environment with the residents of Parlier during the October 24, 2014 Red Ribbon event held at a local park. UC ANR KARE had an informational booth where we shared basic information on what we do to help local people. Jose Javier provided information and answered questions for Spanish speaking attendees.
Jose Javier shares how Kearney helps local people at Parlier's 2014 red ribbon event.
A sure-fire way to frighten arachnophobics is the very mention of "spiders"--especially on Halloween.
Spiders aren't insects but arthropods, order Araneae. They have eight legs, which according to some, are seven legs too many. They are also distinguished by their chelicerae with fangs that inject venom.
You've seen them. Black widow spiders. Jumping spiders. Crab spiders. Garden spiders.
If you fear them, there's a name for that fear: Arachnophobia. Wikipedia says that "People with arachnophobia tend to feel uneasy in any area they believe could harbor spiders or that has visible signs of their presence, such as webs. If arachnophobics see a spider, they may not enter the general vicinity until they have overcome the panic attack that is often associated with their phobia. Some people scream, cry, have trouble breathing, have excessive sweating or even heart trouble when they come in contact with an area near spiders or their webs. In some extreme cases, even a picture or a realistic drawing of a spider can also trigger fear."
The general fallacies, as listed by Rod Crawford, curator of arachnids:
- Spiders are insects.
- "Arachnid" is just a fancy name for spider.
- You can always tell a spider because it has eight legs.
- All spiders make webs.
- The orb web (round or "geometric" web) is a "normal" spider web.
- A "daddy-longlegs" is a kind of spider.
- Most spiders could not bite humans because their fangs are too small.
- Any spider species can be found anywhere.
- All spiders are male.
- Spiders are most numerous in late summer.
- You are never more than three feet from a spider.
- Spiders "suck the juices" of their prey, and do not literally eat it.
- Spiders don't stick to their own webs because their feet are oily.
Meanwhile, over at the Bohart Museum of Entomology at the University of California, Davis, plans are underway for an open house themed "Insect Myths." They will focus on spider myths, too.
The event, free and open to the public, is set for Sunday, Nov. 23 from 1 to 4 p.m. in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane, off LaRue Road. Directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis, the museum houses a global collection of nearly eight million specimens and is the home of the seventh largest insect collection in North America, and the California Insect Survey, a storehouse of the insect biodiversity. The museum is open to the public four days a week, Monday through Thursday (9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m.) but it sponsors special weekend open houses as well.
The remaining schedule:
- Sunday, Nov. 23: “Insect Myths,” 1 to 4 p.m.
- Saturday, Dec. 20: “Insects and Art,” 1 to 4 p.m.
- Sunday, Jan. 11: “Parasitoid Palooza,” 1 to 4 p.m.
- Sunday, Feb. 8: “Biodiversity Museum Day,” noon to 4 p.m.
- Saturday, March 14: “Pollination Nation,” 1 to 4 p.m.
- Saturday, April 18: UC Davis Picnic Day, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Sunday, May 17: “Name That Bug! How About Bob?” 1 to 4 p.m.
- Saturday, July 18: “Moth Night,” 8 to 11 p.m.
When you attend the Bohart Museum open houses, you'll probably have the opportunity to hold and/or photograph "Rosie," a 24-year-old tarantula. It's one of the critters in the live "petting zoo," which also includes Madagascar hissing cockroaches, millipedes and walking sticks./h3>/span>
Jumping spider eyes the photographer. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Crab spider on sedum eyes a honey bee. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Garden spider captures a honey bee. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)