Posts Tagged: Greg Kareofelas
Don't you just love those dragonflies?
We watch them circle our fish pond, grab flying insects in mid-air, and then touch down on a bamboo stake in our yard to eat them. Some dragonflies stay for hours; others for what seems like half a second. Some let you walk up to them and touch them. Others are so skittish that they must have once encountered a nasty predator with a bad attitude and a big appetite unfulfilled.
We've observed several different species in our yard (thanks to naturalist Greg Kareofelas of Davis, volunteer at the Bohart Museum of Entomology, University of California, Davis, for identifying the Sympetrums and the "widow skimmer," Libellula luctosa).
The ones we've photographed:
- Red flame skimmer or firecracker skimmer (Libellula saturata), a common dragonfly of the family Libellulidae, native to western North America.
- Variegated meadowhawk (Sympetrum corruptum), a dragonfly of the family Libellulidae, native to North America.
- Widow skimmer (Libellula luctuosa), part of the King Skimmers group of dragonflies that are found throughout much of the United States, except in John Denver territory (The Rockies). You can find them in parts of Canada, including southern Ontario and Quebec.
- Red-veined meadowhawk (Sympetrium madidum), found throughout much of the United States (Alaska, California, Colorado, Iowa, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming) and much of Canada (Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Saskatchewan and Yukon)
Can you believe dragonflies were some of the first winged insects that evolved 300 millions years ago? And that the order they belong to, Odonata, means "toothed one" in Greek?
Can you believe that globally, we have more than 5,000 known species of dragonflies?
Can you believe that dragonflies eat only the prey they catch in mid-air? And that they grab them with their feet? Umm, dead bee on the ground? No, thanks!
Can you believe that dragonfly called the globe skinner has the longest migration of any insect—11,000 miles back and forth across the Indian Ocean?
For those and other interesting facts, be sure to read Sarah Zielinski's "14 fun facts about dragonflies" published Oct. 5, 2011 in smithsonian.com
For a close look at some of the Bohart Museum's collection of dragonflies, you can visit the insect museum, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge building on Crocker Lane, from Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. noon, and from noon to 5 p.m. (excluding holidays). Admission is free. You can even buy dragonfly-related items in the gift shop. That would include posters (the work of Greg Kareofelas and Fran Keller) and jewelry.
The Bohart Museum, directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis, houses nearly eight million insect specimens. And not just dragonflies, bees and butterflies. There are critters you've never seen before. And some, such as the Xerces butterfly (Glaucopsyche xerces), are extinct.
The Bohart's next weekend open house, the last of the 2013-2014 academic year, is Saturday, July 26 from 1 to 4 p.m. The theme focuses on spiders: "Arachnids: Awesome or Awful?" It's family-oriented and free and open to the public. (For more information contact Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org).
Red flame skimmer or firecracker skimmer (Libellula saturata). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Variegated meadowhawk (Sympetrum corruptum). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Widow skimmer (Libellula luctuosa). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Red-veined meadowhawk (Sympetrium madidum). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
That's what happened Sunday. A dragonfly--identified by naturalist Greg Kareofelas, volunteer at the Bohart Museum of Entomology, UC Davis as a female Sympetrum madidum--zigzagged into our yard and began catching flies, sweat bees and other soft-bodied insects near our fish pond.
It favored a series of bamboo stakes, installed there just for the dragonflies. It moved from one to another as if trying to decide which one it liked the best.
It appeared to like them all! It stayed for four hours.
This dragonfly, also called a red-veined meadowhawk, belongs to the family Libellulidae, the same family as our favorite red flameskimmers (Libellula saturata).
Most of the dragonflies we've encountered are quite skittish—you can't go within 25 feet before they dart off. Not this one. It allowed us to get within an inch of it. Guess it figured we were no threat. Curious, yes. Predator, no.
Nearby, however, scrub jays nesting in the cherry laurels popped out occasionally to find food for their chirping offspring. Fortunately, Ms. Sympetrum madidum wasn't on the menu.
Red-veined meadowhawk, Sympetrum madidum, perches on a stake. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A different angle of the red-veined meadowhawk. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Front view of the red-veined meadowhawk. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Hint: It's the state insect.
"What, we have a state insect?" you ask.
Yes, and it's the California dogface butterfly (Zerene eurydice).
On the monorail, it's an artistic blue and white and it seems to flutter along for the ride. (See what the Monorail Society wrote about it in 1995.) In real life, the male of the species is yellow and black, and the female, predominantly yellow.
Fran Keller, doctoral candidate in entomology at the University of California, Davis, and her colleague, naturalist Greg Kareofelas of Davis, a volunteer at the Bohart Museum of Entomology identified the insect on the monorail right away. Several years ago they teamed to create a California dogface butterfly poster, which graces many a classroom, office, and den. The poster is for sale in the Bohart Museum's gift shop on Crocker Lane, UC Davis, or online.
Keller went on to write a children's book, "The Story of the Dogface Butterfly," with watercolor-and-ink illustrations by Laine Bauer, a 2012 graduate of UC Davis. Kareofelas contributed photographs.
Net proceeds from the sale of the 35-page book, also available at the Bohart Museum or online, benefit the insect museum's education, outreach and research programs.
The book tells the untold story of the California dogface butterfly, and how schoolchildren became involved in convincing the State Legislature to select the colorful butterfly as the state insect.
Bauer’s illustrations depict the life cycle of this butterfly. As part of their research, Keller, Karofelas and Bauer visited a Placer County habitat of the butterfly last year.
As for the book, “There are also ecology, life cycle, taxonomy and conservation issues presented that are relevant to grades K-6 that can be used in classroom curriculum,” Keller said. In addition, the book includes information on the butterfly’s host plant, false indigo (Amorpha californica).
So, score one for the California State Fair. And score two for the Bohart Museum.
California dogface butterfly is illustrated on the California State Fair monorail. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
What a beauty.
But not nearly as striking as her male counterpart.
The flame skimmer dragonfly (Libellula saturata) owned a perch on a bamboo stake last Tuesday in residential Davis.
Davis resident Gary Zamzow, a dynamite insect photographer (especially bumble bees), pointed his Pentax camera at the insect, just inches away.
The dragonfly did not move.
“The female flame skimmers are not as intensely orange as the males are and they also have the expansions on the 7th abdominal tergite that you can see in your picture (below),” said senior museum entomologist Steve Heydon of the Bohart Museum of Entomology (http://bohart.ucdavis.edu/), University of California, Davis.
If you like dragonflies, you may want to purchase a dragonfly poster at the museum, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge building on Crocker Lane, or online at its gift shop. It features 18 species of dragonfies, ranging from the common whitetail and green darner to the Western river cruiser and the bison snaketail. And, of course the flame skimmer.
Entomology doctoral candidate Fran Keller designed the poster with images provided and donated to the museum by naturalist Greg Kareofelas of Davis.
A female flame skimmer. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Female flame skimmer being photographed with the camera of Gary Zamzow. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
If you or someone in a household near you can draw a bug, then you need to head over to the Bohart Museum of Entomology on the UC Davis campus on Saturday afternoon, Dec. 15.
The Bohart Museum is hosting an open house from 1 to 4 p.m. in Room 1124 Academic Surge on Crocker Lane. It's free and open to the public.
The theme: "Insects in Art."
The person (all ages invited) who submits the most creative bug drawing between 1 and 3:30 p.m. will win a t-shirt at around 4 p.m.
Here's what you do: draw a bug that will fit into a button about 2-1/4 wide. The Bohart Museum folks will insert it into their button-maker machine. If your bug art is selected as the most creative, you take the button home--and your prize, an insect-related t-shirt.
The open house will feature the illustrations of Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart and professor of entomology at UC Davis; the late Mary Foley Benson of Davis; and Ivana Li, an undergraduate entomology student and president of the UC Davis Entomology Club.
Visitors also will be able to see the original plates for the children’s book, “The Story of the Dogface Butterfly,” written by Fran Keller, doctoral candidate in entomology, and Laine Bauer, who received her degree in art in June from UC Davis. Greg Kareofelas of Davis, a Bohart volunteer, contributed photos.
Expanding on the open house theme, Heydon said that “Insects and Art” began as early as the caveman days. Cave drawings found in Spain depict honey gatherers from more than 10,000 years ago.
“Insects in art are found in scientific illustrations and are represented on fabric, paintings, toys, jewelry and other media,” Heydon said.
The Bohart Museum houses a global collection of nearly eight million insect specimens and is the seventh largest insect collection in North America. It is also the home of the California Insect Survey, a storehouse of the insect biodiversity. Noted entomologist Richard M. Bohart (1913-2007) founded the museum in 1946.
In addition to the insect specimens, the Bohart houses a “live petting zoo” of Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks and tarantulas; and a gift shop filled with t-shirts, sweatshirts, jewelry, posters, insect nets, and insect-themed candy.
Bohart officials schedule weekend open houses throughout the academic year so that families and others who cannot attend on the weekdays can do so on the weekends. The Bohart’s regular hours are from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday. The insect museum is closed to the public on Fridays and on major holidays. Admission is free.
The remaining weekend open houses:
Sunday, Jan. 13, 1 to 4 p.m.
Theme: "Extreme Insects"
Saturday, Feb. 2, 1 to 4 p.m.
Theme: "Biodiversity Museum Day"
Sunday, March 24, 1 to 4 p.m.
Theme: "Aquatic Insects"
Saturday, April 20: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Theme: UC Davis Picnic Day
Saturday, May 11, 1 to 4 p.m.
Theme: "Moth-er's Day"
Sunday, June 9, 1 to 4 p.m.
Theme: "How to Find Insects"
UC Davis undergraduate student Ivana Li with a walking stick. She's an entomologist, an artist, and president of the UC Davis Entomology Club. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Fran Keller, doctoral candidate in entomology, helps out in the Bohart Museum's gift shop. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)