Posts Tagged: Lynn Kimsey
Staff at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine's Center for Equine Health encountered "a strange little bug" that they'd never seen before outside their office Friday on Old Davis Road.
Barbara Meierhenry, senior editor at the Center for Equine Health, described it as "a strange little bug...It was about an inch long, with two rounded body sections covered with 'blond' fuzz, and six legs. He was actually very cute. We have never seen a bug like this before."
She emailed us two cell-phone images taken by Equine Control Officer Laurie Christison.
Enter UC Davis bug experts. Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology and professor of entomology at UC Davis, quickly identified it as a "female velvet ant (family Mutillidae)."
Native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, emeritus professor of entomology, added: "The photo is of a female velvet ant, genus Dasymutilla, family Mutillidae. The females are wingless and parasitize ground-nesting bees. The males are winged. These ants are not commonly seen. They're usually associated with sandy soil, and are mostly active on cloudy days or at night. Males squeak when handled, females have powerful stings, so it's not a good idea to try to handle them."
Meierhenry speculates the velvet ant "may have come here on a hay truck as we had a delivery of hay on Friday. In the years we have both worked here, we have never seen such a creature."
As a side note, renowned insect photographer and ant specialist Alex Wild, based in Illinois, posted a Mutillidae family member on his popular Monday night insect quiz last February. He titled it "What's That Fuzz?" The responders got the genus right: Dasymutilla, but differed somewhat on the species.
For another amazing photo of Dasymutilla, check out Alex Wild's Dasymutilla gloriosa, aka Thistledown Velvet Ant. Talk about a good hair day!
By the way, Wild, who received his doctorate in entomology at UC Davis in 2005, studying with major professor Phil Ward, will return to UC Davis this week to speak on insect photography. His talk is Wednesday, Oct. 26 from 12:10 to 1 p.m. in 122 Briggs Hall. Professor James R. Carey plans to webcast the seminar and post it on UCTV.
It's a good week for bugs!
Equine Control Officer Laurie Christison of the Center for Equine Health captured this cell-phone image of a female velvet ant.
View from above: The female velvet ant by Laurie Christison, UC Davis equine control officer.
It all begins at the Bohart.
The Bohart Museum of Entomology at UC Davis, that is.
Officials at the museum, located at 1124 Academic Surge on California Drive, have just announced the complete list of weekend openings for the 2011-2012 academic year. They'll all be held on either a Saturday or Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m.
And they're all free.
The first of the 10-series weekend openings, set Saturday, Sept. 24, will focus on “Catch, Collect and Curate: Entomology 101.”
“There will be collecting devices set-up outside and inside, so people can see how they are used,” said Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator. “People will have the chance to practice pinning common insects--dead ones!--that we will provide until supplies run out. “
Visitors will have a opportunity to access the Bohart computers to see the video clips on “How to Make an Insect Collection,” the work of UC Davis professor James Carey’s entomology class last spring. The entire series, totaling 11 clips ranging in length from 32 seconds to 77 seconds, can be viewed in just less than 10 minutes. (See news story with link to video clips)
So, on Sept. 24 at the Bohart Museum, high school and college students in science courses can learn how to create an insect collection, something required of them later this year.
The time to begin is now, Yang says.
Also, 4-H'ers enrolled in entomology projects will want to know how to do this, too. The session is open to all.
The special weekend openings complement the regularly scheduled weekday hours of the Bohart Museum. During the year, visitors can tour the Bohart between 9 a.m. and noon and 1 to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday (except on holidays).
The Bohart Museum, home of more than seven million insect specimens (plus a live "petting zoo" of Madagascar hissing cockoaches and walking sticks and other critters), is a great resource.
Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis, directs the Bohart Museum. She and the other scientists in the Bohart Museum make the study of insects not only educational but fun.
Here's what's on tap from Sept. 24 through June 3.
Portrait of a praying mantis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
What's for lunch? A praying mantis chows down. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The target: the dengue mosquito.
The occasion: A UC Davis Department of Entomology seminar.
Wong, now a postdoctoral fellow with the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Ga., will discuss her research on "Oviposition Site Selection by Aedes aegypti and its Implications for Dengue Control” from 12:10 to 1 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 28 in Briggs Hall.
Her dissertation research, completed in Iquitos, Peru, focused on the egg-laying behavior of Aedes aegypti, the principal mosquito vector of dengue viruses.
A former resident of San Luis Obispo, Wong received her bachelor’s degree in molecular and cell biology from UC Berkeley in 2001 and her master’s degree in epidemiology from UC Davis in 2006.
Next up in the fall seminar series: On Wednesday, Oct. 5 Judith Becerra, associate research professor, University of Arizona, Tucson, will speak on “Coevolution between Bursera and its Herbivores.”
Then on Wednesday, Oct. 12, the speaker is Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology and professor of entomology at UC Davis. She will discuss "The International Cooperative Biodiversity Group Program (ICBG) Rain Forest Expedition to Sulawesi Rainforest.” Kimsey's discovery of a new "warrior wasp" species recently made international news.
Assistant professors Louie Yang and Johanna Chiu have compiled an excellent schedule of speakers. Most will be webcast. See the complete list.
Jacklyn Wong in a canopy just outside of Iquitos, Peru. (Photo by Stephen Yanoviak)
The dengue mosquito, Aedes aegypti. (Photo courtesy of James Gathany, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
News media, the scientific world, and the general public can't believe it.
Yes, the male "warrior wasp" is 2-1/2 inches, not centimeters.
The new species of "warrior wasp" that Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology on the UC Davis campus, discovered on the Indonesia island of Sulawesi, is the new conversation piece in the bug world. Kimsey has nicknamed it "warrior wasp" and "the komodo dragon of wasps." Others have called it "Godzilla."
But what's really interesting besides the length is this: The male wasp is equipped with jaws longer than his front legs.
"What are those large jaws used for?" another reporter asked.
Well, little is known about the biology of this wasp, but Kimsey figures it's probably similar to wasps in the same genus; that the large jaws probably play a role in defense and reproduction.
"In another species in the genus the males hang out in the nest entrance," said Kimsey, a professor of entomology at the UC Davis Department of Entomology as well as director of the Bohart Museum, which houses a worldwide collection of more than seven million specimens.
The jaws, she said, serve "to protect the nest from parasites and nest robbing, and for this he exacts payment from the female by mating with her every time she returns to the nest," she said. "So it's a way of guaranteeing paternity. Additionally, the jaws are big enough to wrap around the female's thorax and hold her during mating."
Kimsey said she'll name the insect-eating predator--which belongs to the genus Dalara and family Crabronidae--"Garuda," a powerful mythical warrior that's part human and part eagle. Garuda is the national symbol of Indonesia.
Kimsey collaborates on a five-year $4 million grant awarded to UC Davis scientists in 2008 to study the biodiversity of fungi, bacteria, plants, insects and vertebrates on Sulawesi, all considered threatened by logging operations and mining developments. Much of the mountain was logged two decades ago and now there are plans for an open pit nickel mine, Kimsey said.
“There’s talk of forming a biosphere reserve to preserve this,” she said. “There are so many rare and endangered species on Sulawesi that the world may never see.”
Globally, how many more undescribed insects are out there? A recent article in National Geographic related that scientists have identified 1.5 million insect species, but the total number of undiscovered insect species probably ranges from "10 to 30 million."
Could be more...
Large jaws of the male "warrior wasp" probably play a role in defense and reproduction, says Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology. (Photo by Andrew Richards)
Close-up of the male "warrior wasp," a new species discovered by Lynn Kimsey. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The new species that Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology and professor of entomology at UC Davis, discovered on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi measures a whopping two and a half inches long.
That's the male "warrior wasp." The female is a little smaller. Just a little.
First thing folks say is "Wow!"
Next they ask: "Does it sting?"
Like all wasps, the female does; the male does not.
The male's jaws "are so large that they wrap up either side of the head when closed," Kimsey says. "When the jaws are open they are actually longer than the male’s front legs. I don’t know how it can walk."
Indeed--those jaws look like elephant tusks dragging on the ground.
Kimsey discovered the warrior wasp on the Mekongga Mountains in southeastern Sulawesi on a recent biodiversity expedition funded by a five-year grant from the International Cooperative Biodiversity Group Program.
The insect-eating predator belongs to the genus Dalara and family Crabronidae.
Kimsey says she's going to name it Garuda, after the national symbol of Indonesia. Garuda is a mythical half-man, half-eagle warrior, magnificent in combat.
Kimsey is a collaborator of a five-year $4 million grant awarded to UC Davis scientists in 2008 to study the biodiversity of fungi, bacteria, plants, insects and vertebrates on Sulawesi, all considered threatened by logging operations and mining developments. Much of the mountain was logged two decades ago and now there are plans for an open pit nickel mine, Kimsey said.
“There’s talk of forming a biosphere reserve to preserve this,” she says. “There are so many rare and endangered species on Sulawesi that the world may never see."
This is one they can see.
Close-up of a new wasp species discovered by UC Davis entomologist Lynn Kimsey. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Male (left) and female in comparison. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Entomologist Lynn Kimsey with her newly discovered species of wasp; this is a male. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)