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Of Butterflies and Hornets and Spiders and Millipedes

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If you're a wanna-be entomologist or arachnologist, or just curious about insects and arachnids, you'll love the live animals and specimens that will showcased in the Bohart Museum of Entomology booth at the 11th annual UC Davis Biodiversity Museum Day.

The science-based event, free and open to the public, is set for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sunday, March 6 in the UC Davis Conference Center, 555 Alumni Lane.

This year the Biodiversity Museum Day is geared toward the UC Davis community, particularly undergraduates, said Biodiversity Museum Day co-organizer Tabatha Yang, education and public outreach coordinator for the Bohart Museum of Entomology.  Admission and parking are free, but visitors must adhere to the COVID-19 Campus Ready guidelines. Masks will be required in accordance with campus policies. (See news story)

Sharing the Bohart Museum booth in the Conference Center will be the Jason Bond laboratory. Bond is the Evert and Marion Schlinger Endowed Chair in Insect Systematics, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, and associate dean, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

"The arachnid/myriapod section of Biodiversity Museum Day will consist of some live specimens--a tarantula, trapdoor spider, scorpion, and some millipedes, and ethanol preserved specimens of arachnids/myriapods that are pretty common and/or well-known, and a small interactive station where people will be able to use props that mimic an insect flying into a web and learn more about the sensory structures that spiders have to detect those vibration," said doctoral candidate Lacie Newton of the Bond lab, coordinator of the exhibit.

The Bohart Museum, directed by Lynn Kimsey, UC Davis distinguished professor of entomology, will display specimens of the Asian giant hornet, Vespa mandarinia (nicknamed "the murder hornet" by the news media); and specimens of the state insect, the California dogface butterfly, Zerene eurydice. Kimsey will share her expertise on the Asian giant hornet.  Professor Fran Keller of Folsom Lake College and a Bohart museum scientist, and Bohart associate Greg Kareofelas will discuss the butterfly and its host plant, California false indigo, Amorpha californica. Keller, a UC Davis doctoral alumnus, authored a book, "The Story of the Dogface Butterfly," with illustrations by Kareofelas and Keller.  The duo collaborated on a poster that's for sale in the gift shop.

Visitors to the Conference Center will see displays from 11 museums or collections on campus:

  • Arboretum and Public Garden
  • UC Davis Bee Haven
  • Bohart Museum of Entomology
  • Botanical Conservatory
  • California Raptor Center 
  • Center for Plant Diversity
  • Department of Anthropology Museum
  • Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology
  • Nematode Collection
  • Paleontology Collection
  • Phaff Yeast Culture Collection

Visitors can sign up at the Conference Center for special tours:

  • The Bohart Museum of Entomology, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, Crocker Lane, has scheduled tours at noon, 1 and 2. The Bohart houses a global collection of eight million insect specimens, and also a live "petting zoo" and gift shop. "People will sign up at the Convention Center and be chaperoned over approximately 15 minutes before the hour to the attend their tour," said Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator. "Tours should last 30 to 45 minutes." Entomologist Jeff Smith, curator of the Lepidoptera collection, will be discussing butterflies and moths.
  • An Asian giant hornet from Blaine, Wash. This insect, nicknamed

    An Asian giant hornet from Blaine, Wash. This insect, nicknamed "murder hornet," will be discussed at the UC Davis Biodiversity Museum Day. (Photo by Allan Smith-Pardo, USDA)

    The UC Davis Bee Haven, located on Bee Biology Road, next to the Harry H.Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, west of the central campus, will offer tours at noon and 2. Established in the fall of 2009, the Bee Haven is a half-acre demonstration garden operated by the Department of Entomology and Nematology. "We'll focus on how best to observe and identify bees in the garden, as well as suggested bee plants that grow well in our area with low water," said Christine Casey, academic program management officer of the Bee Haven. 
  • The Arboretum and Public Garden will provide two 30-45 minute tours, "Climate-Ready Tree Project: Texas Tree Trials." Groups will leave the Conference Center at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.  The project mission is to see if trees from west and central Texas will do well in this climate. The project involved collecting seeds, propagating them and planting them in the Arboretum.
  • The Phaff Yeast Culture Collection is planning self-guided tours of the UC Davis Brewery, used for teaching and research, according to Kyria Boundy-Mills, curator, Phaff Yeast Culture Collection, Food Science and Technology.
    Different yeast strains are used for different styles of beer. These include ale yeast strains, lager yeast strains, and Belgian beer strains that are hybrids of wild yeasts. UC Davis offers an undergraduate major in food science and technology, with an emphasis on brewing science. Training includes chemistry, biochemistry, microbiology, quality assurance, engineering, sanitation, packaging, malting and crewing. The program currently includes 18 students studying for their bachelor of science degrees,  and three students seeking their master of science degrees.
  • The Botanical Conservatory is technically not offering tours, says manager Ernesto Sandoval "but we will be open to the public so people can wander through at their own pace and we'll regulate the number of people in the greenhouse at any one time.  They can see our revamped succulent and carnivore rooms as well as our Cacao, aka  'Chocolate Tree,' with fruits as well as coffee and a very happy vanilla plant all amongst an incredible diversity of plants from ferns to an assortment of orchids."

The UC Davis Biodiversity Museum Day is traditionally held on the Saturday of Presidents' Day weekend. However, last year's event was virtual, and this year's event is centrally located. For more information, access the UC Davis Biodiversity Museum Day website and/or connect with Instagram,Twitter, and Facebook

Another upcoming event is the 108th annual UC Davis Picnic Day, a campuswide open house scheduled April 23.


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