Diversity of Arachnids to be Showcased at Briggs Hall During UC Davis Picnic Day

The UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology will not only celebrate insect and nematode diversity at Briggs Hall during the 110th annual UC Davis Picnic Day on Saturday, April 20, but also "The Diversity of Arachnids."

Doctoral student Emma "Em" Jochim of the Jason Bond lab is coordinating an exhibit she created last year to display the diversity of arachnids, such as vinegaroons, whip spiders, tarantulas, and scorpions.

"We'll have live animals and fact sheets that will give a general overview of their diversity, behavior, and habitat," Jochim points out.  "I'll also bring some curated specimens to show what goes into creating a scientific collection and talk about why collections are important for understanding biodiversity."

Emma holds a bachelor's degree in biology, with a minor in geology and chemistry, from Millsaps College, Jackson, Miss., where she graduated summa cum laude. Her honors thesis: "Species Delimitation of Vaejovis Scorpions from the Santa Catalina Mountains Using Genetic, Morphological, and Geographical Data." While a student at Millsaps College, her outreach activities including sharing her knowledge of tarantulas, scorpions and vinegaroons at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science.

At UC Davis, her advisor is Professor Jason Bond, the Evert and Marion Schlinger Endowed Chair of the Department of Entomology and Nematology; the director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology; and associate dean, UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. He's also the president-elect of the American Arachnological Society.

What can you see at Briggs Hall during UC Davis Picnic Day? Cockroach races, maggot art, walking sticks, flies, ants, bees, nematodes, beetles, butterflies, mosquitoes and more. The UC Davis Entomology Graduate Student Association will be selling insect-themed T-shirts. (See news story)

Most Briggs Hall events are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., announced the co-chairs, doctoral student Grace Horne and forensic entomologist Robert Kimsey. This year the Bohart Museum of Entomology, part of the Department of Entomology and Nematology, will staff a pop-up tent in front of Briggs from noon to 4 p.m. The theme: "Bonding with the Bohart." Visitors can hold walking sticks and Madagascar hissing cockroaches from the Bohart's live petting zoo, and see insect specimens, including butterflies, bees, beetles and dragonflies. (The Academic Surge Building, home of the Bohart Museum, will be closed on Picnic Day).