Giant water bugs and dragonflies are among the aquatic insects to be featured at the Bohart Museum of Entomology’s open house from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday. The museum is in Room 1124 of Academic Surge on Crocker Lane on the UC Davis campus. Admission is free.
Toe biters, know, as giant water bugs, are found in freshwater streams and ponds throughout much of the world. In some Asian countries, the giant water bugs are considered a delicacy. A female toe biter lays her eggs on the back or wings of a male, who carries the eggs until they hatch.
Flame skimmers, also known as red or firecracker dragonflies, are native to western North America and inhabit warm ponds and streams. The immature flame skimmers, or nymphs, feed on such aquatic insects as mosquito larvae, aquatic fly larvae, mayfly larvae, freshwater shrimp, small fish and tadpoles. The adults feed on soft-bodied insects including moths, flies, ants and bees.
In keeping with the aquatic insect theme, fly fishing drawers also will be featured at the open house, said Tabatha Yang, the museum’s education and outreach coordinator. The drawers hold such specimens as caddisflies, mayflies and stoneflies.
The Bohart Museum houses a global collection of nearly 8 million insect specimens, and is the seventh largest insect collection in North America. It is also the home of the California Insect Survey, a storehouse of the insect biodiversity.
Visitors can also hold such live specimens as Madagascar hissing cockroaches and walking sticks.
The gift shop includes T-shirts, jewelry, insect nets, posters and books, including the newly published children’s book, “The Story of the Dogface Butterfly,” written by UCD doctoral candidate Fran Keller and illustrated by Laine Bauer, a 2012 UCD graduate. The 35-page book, geared toward kindergartners through sixth-graders, also includes photos by naturalist Greg Kareofelas of Davis, a volunteer at the museum.
Proceeds from the sale of the book go directly to the education, outreach and research programs of the Bohart Museum.