Posts Tagged: Lynn Kimsey
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)
Gotta love those dragonflies in the family Libellulidae.
The Thunderbirds of the insect world, they perform amazing aerial maneuvers as they skim over water, catching mosquitoes, knats, flies and other undesirables on the wing.
But oh--occasionally they nail a pollinator.
A red flame skimmer (Libellula saturata) skimmed over our fish pond and pool last Saturday and picked on the pollinators. Well, at least one pollinator.
It grabbed a female sweat bee, of the genus Halictus, probably H. tripartitus (as identified by native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, emeritus professor of entomology at the University of California, Davis, and Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology and professor of entomology at UC Davis).
Yes, they can even identify a mangled sweat bee in the mouth of a dragonfly.
And no sweat bee.
Flame skimmer munches on a female sweat bee of the genus Halictus. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Flame skimmer is long and lean with huge compound eyes. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Have you ever stopped to admire a blossom and seen forceps protruding?
We were walking near Mrak Hall, UC Davis, on a hot summery afternoon and spotted a tell-tale sign: abdominal forceps, aka pinchers or pincers.
In a male earwig, the forceps are more widely spaced.
The most abundant earwig in California is the European eartwig, Forficula auricularia (family Forficulidae), according to entomologists Jerry Powell and Charles Hogue in their book, California Insects. However, it was not known in the state until 1923.
They describe the adult as about 12 to 22mm long, mostly brown with pale forewings and antennae. "The immatures and adults feed on a wide variety of substances, from flowers and green foliage near the ground to living and dead insects, including aphids."
This one seemed to be escaping from the heat.
Tell-tale sign of an earwig. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Earwig exposed. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
You never hear anyone say "He's as cute as an earwig."
Or, he's as cute as a "lygus bug."
No. It's "Cute as a June bug," which could be any number of bugs, including the fig beetle (Cotinus mutabilis).
Over at the Bohart Museum of Entomology on the UC Davis campus, you'll see plenty of June bugs at a special open house from 1 to 4 p.m., Sunday, June 5. The theme is "June Bugs," and it follows on the heels of "Moth-er's Day," spotlighting moths. Admission is free.
The Bohart Museum, located at 1124 Academic Surge on California Drive, houses more than seven million insect specimens, plus a "living petting zoo" of Madagascar hissing cockroaches and walking sticks.
The museum also has a gift shop which includes T-shirts, sweatshirts, posters, jewelry and insect candy and the like.
A popular item is a toddler-sized t-shirt with praying mantids all over it, says museum director Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis.
That's sure to get folks interested in entomology--or at least talking about bugs!
June bug, aka fig beetle (Cotinus mutabilis) at the Bohart Museum of Entomology. (Photo by Andrew Richards)
Bohart Museum volunteer Sarah Huber shows a student a Madagascar hissing cockroach. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)