Posts Tagged: Fran Keller
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
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
When you hear those two words, you think of four Liverpool musicians named John, Paul, George and Ringo.
Not so at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.
Say "beetles" and that means insects. Lots of insects.
When Michael Caterino, the museum's curator of entomology, speaks Wednesday, Feb. 18 at UC Davis, he'll be talking about patterns of diversity in Southern California beetles.
And their names are not John, Paul, George and Ringo.
Caterino's talk, sponsored by the UC Davis Department of Entomology, begins at noon in 122 Briggs Hall. UC Davis entomology doctoral candidate Fran Keller, who specialies in beetles (Coleoptera), will introduce him.
"I first met Mike on the top of the Caliente Range in the Carizzo Plain National Monument down south," Keller said. "I was taking Entomology 107 and we were on a field trip. It was hot and nobody was around, but Mike and another gentleman were up on the ridge collecting butterflies. We chatted and he helped catch some butterflies for my collection, willing to share."
"However, I think that as a Coleopterist, had I been collecting beetles, he might not have been so willing to give up his recently collected beetles," Keller quipped.
You can see many of her beetle photos on her Web site).
Caterino, trained at UC Berkeley and the Natural History Museum in London, joined the museum staff in 2001. His primary research specialty is the taxonomy and evolution of an obscure, but diverse family of beetles called Histeridae.
He recently initiated the California Beetle Project; he is surveying some 10,000 species of beetles in the state.
Oh, and those butterflies Caterino was collecting on the Caliente Range? Probably swallowtail butterflies. His research interests include not only beetles and Jerusalem crickets (potato bugs), but the swallowtails.
Dining on herbs