UC Davis Picnic Day: Let's Go on an Insect Scavenger Hunt!

Have you ever participated in a scavenger hunt? You know, as part of a team hunting for specified objects?

Were any of the objects ever "insects?" Like a lady beetle (aka ladybug), butterfly or bee? No?

Well, at the 109th annual campuswide UC Davis Picnic Day on Saturday, April 15, if you head over to Room 122 of Briggs Hall, located off Kleiber Hall Drive, you can participate in an insect scavenger hunt, sponsored by the Department of Entomology and Nematology and the Bohart Museum of Entomology. All entomological activities at Briggs Hall are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

You'll look at a insect graphics card (see below) and then you'll be asked to locate each one in the Bohart Museum's specimen drawers, borrowed for the day for the Briggs Hall event.

The reward: stickers! (And a claim to fame!)

"The scavenger hunt gives the visitors a chance to explore theBohart's outreach collection," said UC Davis doctoral student Grace Horne, co-chair of the entomological activities with forensic entomologist Robert Kimsey. "There will be several drawers of insects in Briggs 122 that people can look through to see if they can spot the insects on the check list." Horne is a member of the lab of urban landscape entomologist Emily Meineke, and a fellow of the National Science Foundation's Graduate Research Fellowship Program (NSF-GRFP).

What a great way to learn about insects!

Meanwhile, be sure to head over to the Bohart Museum, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, 455 Crocker Lane, to check out the specimens. The Bohart Museum will be open on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The theme is "Bugs, Boom, Bang!"

The Bohart Museum, directed by UC Davis distinguished professor Lynn Kimsey, houses a global collection of nearly eight million specimens; a live "petting zoo"; and an insect-themed gift shop stocked with t-shirts, hoodies, jewelry, books and posters. 

It is the home of the seventh largest insect collection in North America, and the California Insect Survey, a storehouse of the insect biodiversity. Noted entomologist Richard M. Bohart (1913-2007) founded the museum in 1946. One of the popular attractions is the Lepidoptera collection curated by entomologist Jeff Smith. The collection includes some 500,000 butterflies and moths. Another special attraction is the petting zoo, featuring Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks and tarantulas. Visitors are invited to hold the insects some of the tenants.

Bohart Museum research associate Brittany Kohler, "The Zookeeper," lists the current residents:

Walking Sticks (5 species):

  • Great thin stick insects (Ramulus nematodes), native to Malaysia, dimorphic (blue males)
  • Borneo thorny stick insect (Aretaon asperrimus), native to Borneo
  • Vietnamese stick insect (Medauroidea extradentata), native to Vietnam 
  • Golden-eyed stick insect (Peruphasma schultei) native to Peru/Ecuador
  • Australian Leaf insect (Extatosoma tiaratum), native to Northern forests of Australia 
Spiders (6 species):
  • Princess Herbert, the Brazilian salmon-pink bird-eating tarantula (Lasiodora parahybana). She is estimated to be around 20 years old, the oldest current resident of the Bohart Museum
  • Peaches, the Chilean rose hair tarantula (Grammostola rosea)
  • Cha-Cha, the Mexican fire-leg tarantula (Brachypelma boehmei)
  • Coco McFluffin, the Chaco golden knee tarantula (Grammostola pulchripes), native to Paraguay and Argentina 
  • Two black widows (Latrodectus hesperus)
  • One brown widow (Latrodectus geometricus
Cockroaches (2 species):
  • Madagascar hissing cockroaches (Gromphadorhina sp.)
  • Giant Cave cockroach (Blaberus giganteus
  • Beatrice the Vietnamese centipede (Scolopendra subspinipes), the newest resident
  • Ironclad beetles 
  • Bark scorpion 

The Bohart Museum's regular hours are from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. The museum is closed to the public on Fridays and on major holidays. Admission is free.  More information is available by contacting (530) 752-0493 or Tabatha Yang, education and public outreach coordinator at tabyang@ucdavis.edu  

What's a picnic without bugs? See list of Picnic Day entomological activities on Bug Squad blog.