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Can you find camouflaged insects at Bohart Museum open house?

Find the walking stick insect. Hint: it's the top "stick." This is a female great thin stick insect (Ramulus nematodes). Staffers at the Bohart Museum of Entomology at UC Davis have nicknamed them "Avatar stick insects" because the males are long, skinny and blue, a reference to characters in the movie "Avatar." This is just one species visitors can see at the museum's special open house from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 10. The event's theme is "Hide 'n' Seek: Insect Camouflage." Kathy Keatley Garvey/Courtesy photo

Just call it a case of identity theft.

A walking stick insect looks so much like a twig, that at first glance, you see nothing but its habitat.

A second look — or maybe a third or fourth — reveals a camouflaged insect.

In keeping with insect “identity theft,” visitors to the Bohart Museum of Entomology at UC Davis will be treated to the theme, “Hide ‘n’ Seek: Insect Camouflage” at its special weekend opening from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday.

The museum is in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge building on California Drive at UCD. The open house is free and the public is welcome.

“We will have specimens from the collection like leafy katydids and bark-like moths and butterflies with clear wings,” said Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator at the Bohart Museum.

“There will be live walking sticks to hold and touch,” Yang said, “and people will have a chance to make some stick insects from pipe cleaners that they can take and hide around their homes.”

Staff and students will be on hand to answer questions.

The Bohart Museum, directed by UCD entomology professor Lynn Kimsey, houses a global collection of more than 7 million insect specimens, making it the seventh-largest insect collection in North America.

The Bohart also is home to the California Insect Survey, a storehouse of the insect biodiversity. Noted entomologist Richard M. Bohart (1913-2007) founded the museum in 1946.

The museum features a year-around live “petting zoo” with such permanent residents as walking sticks and Madagascar hissing cockroaches.

The Bohart Museum’s remaining weekend schedule for the 2011-12 academic year includes:

* Saturday, April 21, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., UCD’s Picnic Day;

* Saturday, May 12, 1 to 4 p.m., “Pre-Moth’ers Day”; and

* Sunday, June 3, 1 to 4 p.m., “Bug Light, Bug Bright … First Bug I See Tonight.”

Regular hours are 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. The museum is closed on Fridays and major holidays. Admission is free.

For more information, visit http://bohart.ucdavis.edu or contact Yang at tabyang@ucdavis.edu or (530) 752-0493. Due to limited space, group tours will not be booked during the weekend hours.

Kathy Keatley Garvey

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  • Bugged OutMarch 08, 2012 - 8:51 pm

    This reminds me of a time when I was using an outhouse in a remote part of Western Australia. There were all these small brown twigs on the ground that were uniform in size. Then the breeze came in the door an all the twigs started to walk. Yikes!

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