Posts Tagged: Bohart Museum of Entomology
The dull brown moth may be dull-looking but as noctuid cutworms they're not.
We spotted this noctuid cutworm, soon to be a dull brown moth, last week on a yarrow in the Storer Gardens at the University of California, Davis.
Noctuids belong to--guess what--the Noctuidae family, which includes moslty the dull-colored moths.
You're likely to see these moths flying around at night, attracted to your porch light.
Another place you can see these moths--as specimens--is the Bohart Museum of Entomology, 1124 Academic Surge, on the UC Davis campus. Directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor and vice chair of the department, the Bohart Museum houses some seven million insect specimens--and a few live ones, such as Madagascar hissing cockroaches. Yes, they give tours. Contact Tabatha Yang at email@example.com.
What's really interesting about the noctuids is that they have auditory organs that are capable of detecting frequencies from 3 to more than 100 kilocycles per second. This can save them from being bat prey.
Bats, you see, emit high-pitched chirps as they fly around at night seeking prey and avoiding obstacles. The chirps bounce back or echo, enabling them to maneuver in complete darkness.
When the dull brown moths hear the chirps, they fold their wings and drop to the ground.
Three kilocycles (3000 cycles) per second is in the top octave of the piano; the average upper limit of hearing in humans is about 15 kilocycles per second. (Source: An Introduction to the Study of Insects by Donald Borror and Dwight DeLong, former entomologists at Ohio State University)
Two newly moulted insects in the Bohart Museum of Entomology at the University of California, Davis, look just like leaves.
But these “leaves” are made for walking.
These are camouflaged insects (Phyllium giganteum), commonly known as "walking leaves." They're green, wide, and flat.
“They’re hard to detect among the leaves,” said senior museum scientist Steve Heydon. “It’s surprising how long it takes visitors to find them.”
The insects, natives of Malaysia, dine on bramble, oak, eucalyptus, raspberry, rose, and red/yellow salmon berry.
They mimic leaves in the wind by swaying as they walk, Heydon said. Females can reach a length of 5 inches.
“We got them as nymphs,” Heydon said. “They grow very slowly, probably the slowest of all the insects we’ve ever had at the museum. It took nine months for them to moult and become adults, and they each did it within a day of each other.”
The insects, splotched with red, look like green autumn leaves turning color. “With insect camouflage, there’s never a perfect leaf,” Heydon said. “You see simulated damage.”
Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum and UC Davis entomology professor, said she’s always craved walking leaves for the museum. “They are so incredibly bizarre-looking,” she said. “It’s amazing how this insect develops new skin when its abdomen is as flat as paper.”
The Bohart Museum of Entomology, 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. The insect museum houses more than seven million specimens, the seventh largest insect collection in North America.
The museum also includes live insects such as Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks, and black widow spiders.
But for now, the walking leaves are the big attraction.
At the Bohart, you can actually "turn over a new leaf"--and it will be an insect.
"Insects are the most successful animals that have ever existed on Earth and have been around for just over 400 million years," writes George Gavin in Insects, an American Nature Guide published by Smithmark Publishers, N.Y.
"Of the nearly one and a half million described species of all animals, just over 930,000 of them are insects," Gavin points out. "Thousands of new insect species are described every year and recent estimates from work in the world's diminishing rainforests indicate that there are maybe several million undescribed species."
Yes, insects are nearly everywhere--even at California's oldest fair. When the 134th annual Dixon May Fair opens May 7, continuing through May 10, you'll see a honey bee observation hive--with the queen bee, workers and drones--inside the floriculture building. Also in the floriculture building: Madagascar hissing cockroaches, Vietnamese walking sticks and other arthropods.
Honey bee specialists from the UC Davis Department of Entomology and insect experts from the Bohart Museum of Entomology will be there at various times to answer questions.
Elsewhere on the fairgrounds, you'll see insect photography and insect motifs on quilts, aprons, birdbaths, flower pots and other items. Interior Living Showcase superintendent Debee Lamont (who works year-around as gifts and records management specialist in University Relations, UC Davis) says insect images adorn numerous quilts at the fair. Insects include honey bees, butterflies and dragonflies.
Sorry, no quilts with Madagascar hissing cockroaches or Vietnamese walking sticks.
Dragonfly and Cat
A baby hooded praying mantis is among the new residents of the Bohart Museum of Entomology, 1124 Academc Surge, on the UC Davis campus.
It's a Rhombodera basalis or Giant Malayasian Shield Mantis and is a gift from a teacher in Elk Grove.
"It will grow to be about three inches long," said Brian Turner, the Bohart's outreach coordinator. It prefers warm, wet climates.
Visitors to the Bohart Museum can check out the hooded praying mantis during the campuswide UC Davis Picnic Day, set for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, April 18.
The Bohart Museum, founded in 1946, is dedicated to teaching, research and service. The museum, directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor and chair of the Department of Entomology, houses more than seven million specimens, making it the seventh largest insect collection in North America. The worldwide collection also includes the California Insect Survey, a storehouse of the insect biodiversity of California’s deserts, mountains, coast and great central valley.
Hooded Praying Mantis
They’re big, bold and beleaguered.
And now, they’re big, bold and finely detailed.
Courtney Lambert, an undergraduate student in entomology at the
Lynn Kimsey, professor and chair of the Department of Entomology and director of the
“Courtney is an incredible artist,” said Fran Keller, who designed the shirt, along with other shirts and posters available at the Bohart.
One of the largest beetles in the
Lambert’s illustration shows the male and female on a limb.
Keller remembers collecting the beetles in
Business owners spray them with pesticides at night and hose the dead insects into the sewers, she said. “They are pests for just a brief time.”
“And unfortunately, they are also poached, and illegal collecting has made this and other monsoon emerging beetles, Chrysina sp. for example, rarer every season. It is important for collectors to know the status of an insect before they collect it, and to make sure they have valid collecting permits issued by the state they’re collecting in. Hopefully, we can educate with this beetle T-shirt."
American physician-entomologist George Henry Horn (1840) 1897) first described the species in 1870. It has a blue and gray body with spots on the hardened forewings. It’s also nicknamed Grant’s Hercules Beetle, honoring Ullysses S. Grant (1822-1885), the American Civil War general who went on to become the 18th president of the United States.
Funds generated from these beetle T-shirts will help provide continuing undergraduate support and training at the
The shirts are available in olive and brown with natural ink; black with white ink, and natural color with black ink. A coupon on the Bohart Web site offers 20 percent off with orders over $15 until April 15
Founded in 1946, the
Western Hercules Beetles