Posts Tagged: Bohart Museum of Entomology
Everything's coming up roses at the Bohart Museum of Entomology on the UC Davis campus.
Make that rose-haired tarantulas.
See, the Bohart not only houses some seven million insect specimens in its quarters in 1124 Academic Surge, but they have a few live ones, too.
Such as Madagascar hissing cockroaches, praying mantids and rose-haired tarantulas.
The Bohart, directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor and vice chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology is one of our favorite places. You never know what you'll find.
We stopped by the museum last week and one of the Bohart student employees, Nanase Nakanishi, a UC Davis senior majoring in animal science, was caring for the occupants.
She and her colleagues were feeding the Madagascar hissing cockroaches, aka "hissers." While they were eating, Nanase picked up the rose hair, a favorite among budding entomologists and pet enthusiasts. On her red blouse, it looked like very much like a beautiful brooch. It's a soft, docile, gentle critter.
Nanase, who has worked at the Bohart for three years, feels very much at home there.
And, no wonder. Following graduation, she wants to study veterinary medicine and become a veterinarian.
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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