Posts Tagged: Bohart Museum of Entomology
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)
What's a picnic without bugs? What's a county fair without bugs?
If you meander through McCormack Hall at the Solano County Fair, Vallejo, you'll see plenty of insects. The Bohart Museum of Entomology at UC Davis is staffing a table of "Meet Your Local Pollinators," including butterflies, bees and bee mimics. Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator at the Bohart Museum (home of seven million insect specimens) also brought along honey bee photos, posters and other information from the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, UC Department of Entomology.
The museum specimens include two "oh-my!" drawers (that's what people say when they see these fascinating displays); a collection of native bees from UC Davis graduate student Emily Bzdyk; and California butterflies. Accompanying the display is a framed poster of California's state insect, the California dogface butterfly, the project and design of Fran Keller, UC Davis doctoral candidate in entomology. Davis naturalist-photographer Greg Kareofelas scanned the butterfly images.
But be sure to look on the walls where young photographers and graphic artists are displaying their blue-ribbon work. You'll see honey bees, dragonflies, butterflies and other insects. Future entomologists, perhaps?
A three-year-old named Nicholas Razo of Dixon created a colorful paper butterfly, the kind that UC Davis butterfly expert Art Shapiro probably would like to see in real life. Young Nicholas may give Professor Shapiro some competition in a few years.
The fair, which opened today (Aug. 3) and continues through Aug. 7, is themed "There's No Place Like Home."
There's no place like home for us--and the insects who populate the earth.
This colorful butterfly is the work of 3-year-old Nicholas Razo of Dixon. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Colorful display by the Bohart Museum of Entomology at McCormack Hall, Solano County Fair. (Photo by Elisa Seppa)
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)
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)
You may have heard about the "Bug Boot Camp" that ant specialist Phil Ward, professor of entomology at the UC Davis Department of Entomology, conducts for graduate and undergraduate students every other summer.
The real name of the five-week field course is "Insect Taxonomy and Field Ecology" (Entomology 109) but everyone calls it "Bug Boot Camp." The primary goal is to acquaint students with the taxonomic and biological diversity of insects. The students--aka happy campers--gather at the UC Sagehen Creek Field Station, located about 6,800 feet on the eastern slopes of the Sierra Nevada.
That's the Bug Boot Camp. Now there's a newly launched "Bio Boot Camp."
The Bio Boot Camp, though, is a one-week camp for young teens interested in science, particularly entomology and wildlife biology. It's sponsored by the Bohart Museum of Entomology and the Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology (MWFB).
Youths entering the seventh, eighth or ninth grades this fall and who have a passion for science are invited to apply. The camp will be limited to a maximum of 16 youths.
Dates: June 20 to 24
Site: UC Davis campus with an overnight stay at the UC Sagehen Creek Field Station.
Activities at the full-day camp will include observing animals, comparing valley to mountain fauna, collecting insects and exploring the anatomy of a dissected bird, she said.
“The goal of the camp is to provide an educational opportunity for students who already have a passion for entomology and wildlife biology, but who have outgrown most other camps and are still too young for internships,” Yang said. “We want to fill that gap, and expose them to the process of science as it is conducted at a top research institute like UC Davis.”
“A specialized camp like this has been frequently requested by visitors to the museum and participants in our other education and outreach programs,” Yang said.
Campers will search for and collect insects, dissect a bird, observe mammals and survey fish with other who share the same keen interests, Yang said. Monday through Wednesday, participants will delve into the research conducted at the museums and several research sites along Putah Creek as well as other locations on campus.
On Thursday and Friday the camp will explore the Sierras with a Thursday overnighter at the Sagehen Creek Field Station.
The two museums sponsoring the Bio Boot Camp are both located in Academic Surge on California Drive, UC Davis campus.
The Bohart Museum, located at 1124 Academic Surge and part of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, houses a worldwide collection of nearly eight million insect specimens and a “petting zoo” of live insects such as Madagascar hissing cockroaches and walking sticks. It is the seventh largest insect museum in North America and is open to the public Monday through Thursday and on special weekends
The Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology, located in 1394 Academic Surge and part of the Department of Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology, houses one of the most significant modern collections of birds, mammals, and fish in California. It is among the top ten collections of vertebrates in California and the third-largest university-managed collection in the state. The MWFB is dedicated to education, outreach, conservation, and research. This museum is not generally open to the public, but tours can be arranged in advance.