Bohart Museum to Light Up Your Life; Open House on June 3
May 30, 2012
|California dogface butterfly egg. Naturalist-photographer Greg Kareofelas watched this egg being laid. (Copyrighted Photo by Greg Kareofelas)|
|Emergence of a California dogface butterfly from its chrysalis. (Copyrighted Photo by Greg Kareofelas)|
|Male California dogface butterfly. (Copyrighted Photo by Greg Kareofelas)|
DAVIS--The Bohart Museum of Entomologyat UC Davis promises to “light up your life” at its open house on Sunday, June 3, the last open house of the academic year.
The theme of the event, set from 1 to 4 p.m. in 1124 Academic Surge on California Drive, is “Bug Light, Bug Bright, First Bug I See Tonight!” The open house is free and open to the public.
Special attractions will include glowing scorpions (most scorpions glow under ultraviolet light) and a display of live California dogface butterflies, the state insect, from naturalist/photographer Greg Kareofelas of Davis, a volunteer at the Bohart Museum.
Kareofelas is rearing several dogface butterflies (Zerene eurydice) from eggs he collected at a site in rural Yolo County and, after photographing the life cycle, will release them back into the wild population where he collected them. The first adult emerged from its chrysalis on May 28, with three more to go. He’s hoping one will emerge during the open house. Kareofelas also will present a continuously running PowerPoint of the life cycle of the butterflies.
The high-flying butterfly is rarely seen in the wild. Its main host plant is False indigo (Amorpha californica), a riparian shrub that grows among poison oak and willows and along stream banks, often in steep and isolated canyons. The butterfly is rapidly losing its natural habitat due to rapid California urban development.
Several years ago Kareofelas and doctoral candidate Fran Keller teamed to create a California dogface butterfly poster, which is available for sale in the museum's gift shop
The California State Legislature designated the California dogface butterfly, found only in California, as its state insect in 1972. The male has markings on its wings resembling a silhouette of a dog's head. The female is usually solid yellow with a black spot on each upper wing:
It was first proposed as the state insect in 1929 by an entomology society in Southern California, but nothing came of it until 1972 when a fourth grade class in Fresno petitioned their state representative, said Tabatha Yang, the Bohart Museum's education and outreach coordinator.
|California dogface butterfly poster by Fran Keller and Greg Kareofelas.|
The Bohart Museum, directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis, houses a global collection of more than seven million insect specimens, the seventh largest insect collection in North America. It is also the home of the California Insect Survey, a storehouse of the insect biodiversity. Noted entomologist Richard M. Bohart (1913-2007) founded the museum in 1946.
The Bohart Museum also features a year-around live “petting zoo” with such permanent residents as walking sticks, Madagascar hissing cockroaches, and a rose-haired tarantula. Visitors are invited to hold and photograph them.
In addition, the gift shop will be open to enable visitors to purchase such gifts as jewelry, T-shirts, sweatshirts, posters, insect-themed candy.
Bohart officials annually schedule weekend open houses throughout the academic year so that families and others who cannot attend on the weekdays can do so on the weekends. The Bohart’s regular hours are from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday. It is closed on Fridays and on major holidays. Admission is free.
More information is available on the Bohart website or by contacting Tabatha Yang at firstname.lastname@example.org or (530) 752-0493. Due to limited space, group tours will not be booked during the weekend hours.
What's That Glowing on Alcatraz Island?
Forensic entomologist Robert Kimsey of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, who does fly research on Alcatraz, said that bait laced with a non-toxic fluorescent dye to estimate the rat population in February yielded the expected result: the glow of rat urine and feces.
But something else was glowing nearby: millipedes.
Had they consumed some of the rat bait? No. An experiment at the Bohart Museum of Entomology on the UC Davis campus showed that this species of millipedes (Xystocheir dissecta (Wood) glow under the black lights, just like scorpions.
Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum and a professor of entomology at UC Davis, said the species is a relatively abundant species in the Bay Area. “This particular species of millipedes glowed all along, but “nobody was paying any attention to it,” she said.
Visitors can see scorpions and millipedes glow at the Bohart Museum's open house from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 3 at 1124 Academic Surge, California Drive.
Lynn Kimsey suspects that the millipedes on Alcatraz Island originated from soil transported over from the nearby Angel Island when “The Rock” was just that—rock with little or no soil.
--Kathy Keatley Garvey
UC Davis Department of Entomology