'Belize Bioblitz' at the Bohart on Sunday, Sept. 18

Sep 14, 2016

Owl fly in Belize. (Photo by Fran Keller)
The "Belize Biobliz for the Bohart" was an un-believable trip!

A group of scientists associated with the Bohart Museum of Entomology, UC Davis, journeyed to Belize last summer to add to the Bohart Museum's global collection of insects. The group included professors, graduate and undergraduate students, and Bohart Museum staff and volunteers.

But just wait until you see what they brought back.

You will at the Bohart Museum of Entomology open house from 1 to 4 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 18 in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane. You can learn about their journey, what they collected, and also glean information on how to collect insects.

The event, free and open to the public, is the first in a series of weekend open houses at the Bohart Museum during the academic year. All open houses are family friendly.

Two scientists, Dave Wyatt, a professor at Sacramento City College, and Bohart Museum associate Fran Keller, assistant professor at Folsom Lake College, led the collection trip. Wyatt has been on more than a dozen collection trips to Belize and has also collected in Costa Rica. Keller is not only a veteran of Belize collecting trips but is a former student of Wyatt's. It was Wyatt who introduced her to entomology at Sacramento City College. Keller went on to receive her doctorate in entomology from UC Davis, studying with major professor Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum. 

How many specimens did they bring back? About 100,000, Keller estimated.

The Bohart Museum is a world-renowned insect museum that houses a global collection of nearly 8 million specimens. It also maintains a live “petting zoo,” featuring walking sticks, Madagascar hissing cockroaches and tarantulas. Among the newest additions to the "zoo" are a young praying mantis and a population of Gulf Fritillaries--the public can see the caterpillars, chrysalids and adult butterflies.

At the open house, visitors can engage in one-on-one conversations with the scientists about the Belize trip. And they can also hold and photograph some of the petting zoo residents. A gift shop, open year around, includes T-shirts, sweatshirts, books, jewelry, posters, insect-collecting equipment and insect-themed candy.

Family arts and crafts activities are also planned, said Tabatha Yang, public education and outreach coordinator.

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, Saturdays and Sundays and on major holidays. Admission is free. 

More information on the Bohart Museum is available by contacting (530) 752-0493 or bmuseum@ucdavis.edu