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See live insects up close at Bohart Museum open house

gulf fritillary caterpillaronW

Live insects, including Gulf fritillary caterpillars, will be featured at the Bohart Museum's open house on Saturday. Kathy Keatley Garvey/Courtesy photo

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From page A1 | September 17, 2013 | Leave Comment

Open houses

* Saturday, 1-4 p.m.: “Live from the Bohart!”

* Saturday, Nov. 23, 1-4 p.m.: “Beauty and Beetles”

* Sunday, Jan. 12, 1-4 p.m.: “Snuggle Bugs”

* Sunday, Feb. 8, noon-4 p.m.: Biodiversity Museum Day

* Sunday, March 2, 1-4 p.m.: “Garden Heroes”

* Saturday, April 12, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.: UC Davis Picnic Day

* Sunday, May 4, 1-4 p.m.: “Moth-er’s Day”

* Saturday, July 26, 1-4 p.m.: “Arachnids: Awesome or Awful?”

The Bohart Museum of Entomology, home of nearly 8 million specimens, will “go live” at its first open house of the 2013-14 academic year on Saturday afternoon at UC Davis.

“Live,” that is, with live insects, such as cabbage white and Gulf fritillary butterflies, Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks, a rose-haired tarantula and a “Harry Potter bug,” which is an amblypygid commonly known as a whip spider or tailless whip scorpion.

Amblypygids — the name means “blunt rump” due to their lack of a flagellum or tail — use a taillike structure to hang from while molting, said senior museum scientist Steve Heydon. They belong to the arachnids or spider family but form a separate order. They are harmless to humans.

Another attraction is a jumping spider, which arrived at the insect museum on a rose bouquet, and has become a permanent resident, Heydon said.

The open house, set from 1 to 4 p.m., is free and open to the public. The museum, affiliated with the UCD department of entomology and nematology, is in Room 1124 of Academic Surge on Crocker Lane, formerly California Drive. The nearest intersection is LaRue Road.

Tabatha Yang, public education and outreach coordinator, said visitors can see cabbage white butterflies (Pieris rapae) from Davis and Gulf fritillaries (Agraulis vanillae) from the back yards of Davis and Vacaville. The Gulf fritillary population is expected to include eggs, caterpillars, chrysalids and adults and photos. Attendees will learn how to rear butterflies, Yang said.

The gift shop, open year-round includes two new T-shirts, both the work of designer/Ph.D. student Fran Keller and Davis naturalist/Bohart volunteer Greg Kareofelas. The gift shop also includes other clothing, posters, books, jewelry and insect nets.

Purchases and donations support the Bohart education outreach programs. Museum staff educate more than 10,000 students about insects each year thanks to the public’s generosity.

Saturday’s open house is one of eight weekend open houses this academic year. The museum’s regular hours are 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. The museum is closed to the public on Fridays and on major holidays. Admission is free.

Kathy Keatley Garvey

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