Posts Tagged: Fran Keller
It's a joy to watch these firecracker-red dragonflies (Libellula saturata) make their presence known. They dart over our fish pond, snatch an insect, and then perch on a tomato-plant stake to eat it.
Last year another generation did the same thing. They darted over our fish pond, snatched an insect, and then staked their claim in the vegetable garden. Over a tomato plant.
Most of the time the flame skimmers seem unaware of my presence. Guess they consider me neither prey nor predator.
If you love dragonflies, several years ago the Bohart Museum of Entomology, University of California, Davis, created an educational poster, "Dragonflies of California," the work of doctoral candidate Fran Keller and naturalist/photographer Greg Kareofelas of Davis. It focuses on 18 dragonflies commonly found in the Golden State. The largest insect depicted in the poster is the Giant Darner (Anax walshinghami), but the most colorful just has to be...drum roll...the flame skimmer. But I'm biased.
Keller came up with these facts about dragonflies:
Ten fast facts about dragonflies, as provided by the Bohart Museum:
- Dragonflies date back before the dinosaur age.
- The largest known prehistoric species of dragonfly, living 300 million years ago, was the Meganeura monyi. Its wingspan measured more than two feet long.
- The largest species today is a South American dragonfly with a wingspan of 7.5 inches. The smallest modern species is an east Asian dragonfly, the libellulid dragonfly, Nannophya pygmaea, with a wingspan of about 3/4 of an inch.
- California is home to approximately 108 species. More than 5000 species are found worldwide.
- Dragonflies help control pests such as mosquitoes, midges and flies, but will also dine on honey bees and butterflies.
- The adults feed by hawking their prey. They dart off a perch to catch prey and often return to the perch to eat.
- Most dragonflies live around lakes, ponds, streams, and marshes; their larvae, known as “nymphs,” are aquatic. Some dragonfly larvae live in bromeliad flowers.
- Dragonflies usually do not bite or sting humans, but if grasped by the abdomen, they may bite to escape.
- The dragonfly is thought to have better eyesight than any other insect. Its compound eyes take up much of the insect’s head. Each compound eye has up to 30,000 facets or sensor modules, arranged to provide nearly a 360-degree field of vision. That's why it's difficult to sneak up on them.
- Dragonflies are a common motif in Native American art, displayed on Zuni pottery, Hopi rock art and on Pueblo necklaces. In Japan, they are considered symbols of courage, strength and happiness.
The Bohart Museum, home of more than seven million insects, is open year around, but is closed to the public on Friday. It's directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology att UC Davis.
But if you want to see dragonflies in The Great Outdoors, look for them near a body of water, whether it be a river, creek or...a fish pond in the back yard...
Flame skimmer perched on a tomato-plant stake. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Close-up of flame skimmer. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
So, they’ve designed a humorous t-shirt inscribed with “Know Your Sticks,” featuring drawings of four sticks: a stick person, a real stick or twig, a Vietnamese walking stick and an Australian spiny stick (family Phasmatidae).
“One of the most popular insects in the Bohart Museum’s live ‘petting zoo’ is the walking stick,” said Fran Keller, who originated the idea of a stick t-shirt, in between studying for her doctoral degree in entomology. “So we thought we’d clarify the sticks.”
Keller designed the shirt, and undergraduate student Ivana Li, president of the UC Davis Entomology Club, drew the illustrations.
The stick person, named Talea persona (Latin for "stick person"), is the kind you might see on a rear windshield, Keller said. The real stick (Twigus stickus) is one you might see in the woods. And the Vietnamese (Medauroidea extradentata) and Australian sticks (Extatosoma tiaratum)? You can see them—and hold them--in the Bohart Museum.
The t-shirts, available in all sizes and many colors, range from $15 (for kids) to $18 (adults) to $20 (adults’ v-neck). They are available online or in the gift shop at the museum, Room 1124 of Academic Surge, located near the corner of La Rue Road and Crocker Lane (formerly California Avenue). Proceeds benefit the museum's educational programs.
The Bohart Museum, directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis, houses a global collection of more than seven 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.
The Bohart’s regular hours are 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. Admission is free.
The Bohart Museum's “petting zoo” includes such permanent residents as Madagascar hissing cockroaches and a rose-haired tarantula, in addition to the walking sticks.
Keller suggests that for a novelty photo, stick a walking stick on your "Know Your Sticks" t-shirt, and have a friend photograph the “sticktoitiveness.”
And that’s not something to shake a stick at.
Ivana Li (left) and Fran Keller wearing their "Know Your Sticks" t-shirts. Note the real walking stick insects. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Check out the stick on the stick, second from left. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Nature has none. Zip. Zero. Zilch.
The Xerces Blue Butterfly, which once thrived on the San Francisco Peninsula before urbanization chased it away, is extinct.
There are no more. It “lives” only as specimens in several insect museums, including the Bohart Museum on the UC Davis campus.
Scientists at the Bohart Museum are spotlighting it on a t-shirt in an effort to draw attention to the fact that we need to protect our threatened and endangered species, or they, too, will become extinct like the Xerces Blue.
The t-shirt spreads the “E” word (Extinction). Lettered above the image of the dazzling blue butterfly (Glaucopsyche xerces) are the words: “And Then There Were None.”
“Some folks have asked us why we created a t-shirt featuring an extinct butterfly,” said t-shirt designer Fran Keller, a doctoral candidate in entomology based at the Bohart. “It not only makes the public aware of the fragility of insects but also shows how much research is still needed to be aware of the interactions between humans and insects and the overall impact his has on the environment.”
“The concept,” Keller said, “is that we will lose what we don’t know we have.”
Davis naturalist-photographer Greg Kareofelas made the images from specimens locked away in the Bohart Museum.
The butterfly, endemic to the San Francisco Peninsula, was first described and documented in 1852. Scientists believe it became extinct in the early 1940s due to human disturbance: loss of habitat caused by urban development.
The butterfly drew its name from the French spelling of "Xerxes," the name of Persian kings Xerxes I and Xerxes II of the fifth century BC.
Entomologist W. Harry Lange (1912-2004) unknowingly collected what is now considered the last known specimen. Lange, who donated some 1 million insect specimens to the museum during his entomological career, collected it at the Presidio military base on March 23, 1941. He later reportedly lamented “I always thought there would be more. I was wrong.”
Only a few U.S. museums, including the Bohart Museum, California Academy of Sciences and the Harvard Museum of Natural History, have specimens of the Xerces Blue (family Lycaenidae), Keller said.
The Bohart Museum, home of more than seven million insect specimens, houses the seventh largest insect collection in North America and is dedicated to teaching, research and service. Founded in 1946 by UC Davis entomologist Richard M. Bohart and now directed by Lynn Kimsey, UC Davis professor of entomology, the museum aims to educate the public about insect diversity, conservation and preservation as part of its mission.
The T-shirt is available online and at the Bohart Museum, 1124 Academic Surge, California Drive, UC Davis campus.
Tabatha Yang, outreach and education coordinator at the Bohart Museum, wearing a Xerces Blue Butterfly shirt. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
It’s a comfortable life.
Eat, sleep and mate. And then eat, sleep and mate again.
Madagascar hissing cockroaches are a popular attraction at the Bohart Museum of Entomology at the University of California, Davis. The museum, directed by entomologist Lynn Kimsey, professor and vice chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, houses more than seven million insect specimens from all over the world.
The "hissers" are part of the Bohart's go-live "petting zoo."
They're large. They're colorful. And they communicate, in part, by hissing.
Beetle enthusiast Fran Keller, a doctoral candidate in entomology, is not particularly fond of the roaches. Emily Bzdyk, a first-year graduate student, is.
You can tell by the photo below.
The hissers, native to Madagascar, can reach 2 to 3 inches in length and in nature, live on the forest floor. Read more about them on the National Geographic Web site.
The Bohart Museum, located in 1124 Academic Surge and founded in 1946 by the late Richard M. Bohart, former chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, is dedicated to teaching, research and service.
For more information on the Bohart Museum, visiting hours, and guided tours, contact education and outreach coordinator Tabatha Yang at (530) 752-0493 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yes, you can pet a hisser.
Bigger than Big
Fran Keller, a doctoral candidate in entomology, and Nanase Nakanishi, a senior animal science major, teamed to create a "Save the Bees" T-shirt, spotlighting the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility and the adjacent Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven.
The newly planted haven is a half-acre bee friendly garden designed to provide a year-around food source for honey bees and an educational experience for human visitors. By spring, it will be well-established and in full bloom.
And the T-shirt? Nakanishi served as the artist, and Keller, the designer.
Nakanishi, a Bohart student employee for the past three years, plans to become a veterinarian.
Keller's Ph.D. work involves tenebrionids or darkling beetles. She studies with major professor Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart and professor and vice chair of the Department of Entomology.
In her "spare" time, Keller has created a number of insect posters and T-shirts, all available at the museum.
The bee shirt, which comes in black or yellow, is receiving scores of accolades. "Cute!" is one of them.
The front says "Save the Bees" and is inscribed with the Laidlaw facility name. The back features a photo (taken by yours truly) of a newly emerged bee tucked inside the line drawing of a hive. It is lettered with "Follow me to the Honey Bee Haven Garden!"
Keller said the shirts will sell for $20 for adults and $15 for youths, and range in size from 2XL to small for adults, and XS to large for youths.
All proceeds are earmarked for honey bee research at UC Davis. The shirts are available at the Bohart Museum, 1124 Academic Surge, UC Davis campus, or by accessing the Bohart Web site.
Saving the Bees