Posts Tagged: Tabatha Yang
If you head over to the California State Fair, which opened July 14 and continues through July 31, be sure to check out the Insect Pavilion at "The Farm."
It's a treasure house of not only insects, but spiders and assorted other critters.
At the entrance, tuck your head inside the monarch butterfly cutout and have someone take your photo. You can be "Butterfly for the Day."
Then it's off to see the "live" monarchs, a few steps away. The contrast between the painted cutout and the real insects is startling. Nature does a much better job!
Other highlights at the Insect Pavilion include honey bees, wasps and spiders.
The site probably should be called "The Bug Pavilion" because some of the critters, such as spiders, aren't insects.
Beekeeper Brian Fishback of Wilton, a member of the California State Beekeepers' Association and a volunteer at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at UC Davis, provided the bee observation hive.
Parents exclaim to their children: "Look! Bees!"
Then they usually point out that bees make honey and "No, honey, they can't sting you; they're behind glass."
It shouldn't be about stinging. It should be about their pollination services, not their defensive mechanism. Bees pollinate one-third of the food we eat.
However, a walk through the nearby vegetable garden buzzes home the point that honey bees are invaluable.
Next Tuesday, July 26, the Bohart Museum of Entomology at UC Davis will display live insects and specimens at The Big Bugs attraction at the state fair, according to Tabatha Yang, the Bohart's education and outreach coordinator. The specimens will be in the "oh, my" drawers--so called, she says, because that's what folks say when they see them: "Oh, my!"
Monarch butterfly cutout in front of the Insect Pavilion at the Caifornia State Fair. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Colorful monarch butterflies are in sharp contrast to the painted cutout (above). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Close-up of bee observation hive in the Insect Pavilion. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Tabatha Yang saw it first.
She's the education and outreach coordinator for the Bohart Museum of Entomology at UC Davis.
What she saw--in a grassy field at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, west of the central campus--was a golden ladybug, aka lady beetle.
It looked just like a yellow jelly bean.
Systemic entomologist Natalia Vandenberg of the Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, identified it as Coccinella septempunctata.
Tabatha is "holding an adult ladybug that is newly eclosed from the pupa," Vandenberg said. "Note that the flight wings are yellow in the teneral adult instead of grey and they are stretched out so that they can expand fully and dry properly. The pronotal markings and body shape identify this as a member of the genus Coccinella. When the adult first leaves the pupa the dark pigment of the pronotum is already present, but the elytral spots develop gradually."
"If you had watched the beetle for 15 minutes the spots would begin to show. There is a spotless Coccinella that occurs in California (C. californica), but what you have is most likely to be a 7 spot that hasn’t developed the spots yet."
We watched it for several minutes and then released it back into its habitat.
By now, it's no doubt formed those characteristic spots.
Somewhere out there is a yellow jelly bean....with spots.
Golden ladybug, Coccinella septempunctata. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Zipping along, a golden ladybug, Coccinella septempunctata. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
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)
Unlike the Saints, the ants won't "go marching in"; they'll be "marching on."
The "Ants Go Marching On” will set the theme for the Bohart Museum of Entomology's open house from 1 to 4 p.m., Sunday, March 13 at 1124 Academic Surge, California Drive, UC Davis campus.
There you can learn about ants from myrmecologists--those are the folks who study ants.
Admission is free.
Ant specialist and doctoral candidate Bonnie Blaimer of the Phil Ward lab will engage the visitors with a slide show of a collecting trip to Madagascar. She and fellow doctoral candidate Marek Borowiec, also of the Phil Ward lab, will be discussing characteristics of ants and answering questions.
The Bohart is home to more than seven million insects.
“The Hymenoptera (bees, ants and wasps) form about 30 percent of the Bohart collection,” said Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator.
The Bohart Museum also has a live “petting zoo” that includes Madagascar hissing cockroaches and walking sticks; and a gift shop where visitors can purchase such items as t-shirts, sweat shirts, posters, jewelry and insect candy.
The R. M. Bohart Museum of Entomology, directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis, was founded in 1946 by noted entomologist Richard M. Bohart. Dedicated to teaching, research and service, it houses the seventh largest insect collection in North America.
The museum holds specimens collected worldwide and is the home of the California Insect Survey, a storehouse of the insect biodiversity of California’s deserts, mountains, coast and great central valley.
The museum’s regular hours are from 8:30 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday. It is closed on Fridays and on major holidays. More information is available on the Bohart website or by contacting Tabatha Yang at firstname.lastname@example.org or (530) 752-9464. Due to limited space, group tours will not be booked during the weekend hours.
When the Antioch Charter Academy, a middle school in Contra Costa County, toured the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at UC Davis on Tuesday, May 4, they learned all about honey bees and native bees.
Tour coordinator Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator for the Bohart Museum of Entomology set up three activity stations, visited by groups of 13.
Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen, member of the UC Davis Department of Entomology faculty, talked to them about bee biology, bee communication and colony collapse disorder; Yang and native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, emeritus professor of entomology, discussed bee diversity, bee monitoring, bee identification and foraging behavior; and to top it off, bee breeder-geneticist Susan Cobey and Elizabeth Frost displayed bee equipment, discussed the breeding program and then opened several hives.
The students singled out the three castes: queen bee, drones and worker bees. They admired the many different colors of pollen. They gingerly picked up drones (male bees have no stingers).
Then at the urging of Cobey and Frost, the teenagers dipped their fingers into the honey.
Straight from the hive.
Their verdict: "Wow, this is good!"
A taste of honey, a picture of contentment, and a greater admiration for the work of honey bees.
Many Colors of Pollen
A Taste of Honey