No, not the one below, a banded-winged grasshopper (family Acrididae and subfamily Oedipodinae) that we spotted west of the UC Davis campus--and identified by Steve Heydon, senior museum scientist at the Bohart Museum of Entomology.
These particular locusts will be something you've never seen before--and will probably always remember.
Sculptor Cyrus Tilton will display his work in a solo exhibition titled The Cycle that runs Oct. 4-29 in the Vessel Gallery, 471 25th St., Oakland. He's created a kinetic locust swarm and two 11-foot sculptures of mating locusts.
Morphologically correct, too.
Tilton will unveil his work at a press preview party on Saturday, Oct. 1. Until then, it's a surprise, but the photo below (of the work in progress) gives you a glimpse of what's to come.
Who is Tilton? He's an Oakland-based artist and the art director of the Scientific Art Studio in Richmond. His work includes a bas-relief of Barry Bonds' 500th home run. A 1998 graduate of the Art Institute of Seattle, Tilton was born in Palmer, Alaska in 1977 and spent his early years in a one-room cabin near Anchorage. His parents, he recalls, embodied the "back-to-nature movement" of the 1960s.
The Cycle "explores the parallels between locust swarms and humanity's habits of mass consumption and overpopulation, throiugh sculpture and site-specific installation," says Vessel Gallery director Lonnie Lee.
Of his work, Tilton says: "I am making a huge generalization but a lot of people I know work in offices and behind computers. I am not judging them because people have to make a living. But are we becoming more like insects? When I drive by an apartment building, I can’t help but see it as a hive. Seems like compartments for individuals to live in. We are connecting to one another in ways that look to me like we’re worker bees or worker ants, feeding the queen ant. Are we more insect-like in our behavior? And is that bad? Or maybe we are closer to insect hierarchies than we like to think.”
Lee describes Tilton's work as "a fine example of an artist who taps into the collective subconscious of humanity. The Cycle reveals the self-defeating and contradictory behaviors of society. Most will be moved to discomfort and reflection. Hopefully the audience will experience both an internal shift and a change of behavior. I urge everyone to see this show, as being enveloped by a giant locust swarm just might open pathways to our salvation.”
Fifty percent of the net sales of "Individuals" (the site-specific kinetic installation) will benefit the Alameda Food Bank.
Admission to show, which can be viewed Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Oct. 4-29, is free. A reception is set Friday, Oct 7 from 6 to 9 p.m. In addition, Tilton will talk about his work from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8, discussing his processes, thoughts, and approach toward creating this body of work.
"Are we insect-like in our behavior?"
"Are we like worker bees or worker ants?"
The Cycle should prod us to ponder those questions.
It all begins at the Bohart.
The Bohart Museum of Entomology at UC Davis, that is.
Officials at the museum, located at 1124 Academic Surge on California Drive, have just announced the complete list of weekend openings for the 2011-2012 academic year. They'll all be held on either a Saturday or Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m.
And they're all free.
The first of the 10-series weekend openings, set Saturday, Sept. 24, will focus on “Catch, Collect and Curate: Entomology 101.”
“There will be collecting devices set-up outside and inside, so people can see how they are used,” said Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator. “People will have the chance to practice pinning common insects--dead ones!--that we will provide until supplies run out. “
Visitors will have a opportunity to access the Bohart computers to see the video clips on “How to Make an Insect Collection,” the work of UC Davis professor James Carey’s entomology class last spring. The entire series, totaling 11 clips ranging in length from 32 seconds to 77 seconds, can be viewed in just less than 10 minutes. (See news story with link to video clips)
So, on Sept. 24 at the Bohart Museum, high school and college students in science courses can learn how to create an insect collection, something required of them later this year.
The time to begin is now, Yang says.
Also, 4-H'ers enrolled in entomology projects will want to know how to do this, too. The session is open to all.
The special weekend openings complement the regularly scheduled weekday hours of the Bohart Museum. During the year, visitors can tour the Bohart between 9 a.m. and noon and 1 to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday (except on holidays).
The Bohart Museum, home of more than seven million insect specimens (plus a live "petting zoo" of Madagascar hissing cockoaches and walking sticks and other critters), is a great resource.
Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis, directs the Bohart Museum. She and the other scientists in the Bohart Museum make the study of insects not only educational but fun.
Here's what's on tap from Sept. 24 through June 3.
News media, the scientific world, and the general public can't believe it.
Yes, the male "warrior wasp" is 2-1/2 inches, not centimeters.
The new species of "warrior wasp" that Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology on the UC Davis campus, discovered on the Indonesia island of Sulawesi, is the new conversation piece in the bug world. Kimsey has nicknamed it "warrior wasp" and "the komodo dragon of wasps." Others have called it "Godzilla."
But what's really interesting besides the length is this: The male wasp is equipped with jaws longer than his front legs.
"What are those large jaws used for?" another reporter asked.
Well, little is known about the biology of this wasp, but Kimsey figures it's probably similar to wasps in the same genus; that the large jaws probably play a role in defense and reproduction.
"In another species in the genus the males hang out in the nest entrance," said Kimsey, a professor of entomology at the UC Davis Department of Entomology as well as director of the Bohart Museum, which houses a worldwide collection of more than seven million specimens.
The jaws, she said, serve "to protect the nest from parasites and nest robbing, and for this he exacts payment from the female by mating with her every time she returns to the nest," she said. "So it's a way of guaranteeing paternity. Additionally, the jaws are big enough to wrap around the female's thorax and hold her during mating."
Kimsey said she'll name the insect-eating predator--which belongs to the genus Dalara and family Crabronidae--"Garuda," a powerful mythical warrior that's part human and part eagle. Garuda is the national symbol of Indonesia.
Kimsey collaborates on a five-year $4 million grant awarded to UC Davis scientists in 2008 to study the biodiversity of fungi, bacteria, plants, insects and vertebrates on Sulawesi, all considered threatened by logging operations and mining developments. Much of the mountain was logged two decades ago and now there are plans for an open pit nickel mine, Kimsey said.
“There’s talk of forming a biosphere reserve to preserve this,” she said. “There are so many rare and endangered species on Sulawesi that the world may never see.”
Globally, how many more undescribed insects are out there? A recent article in National Geographic related that scientists have identified 1.5 million insect species, but the total number of undiscovered insect species probably ranges from "10 to 30 million."
Could be more...
What's a picnic without bugs? What's a county fair without bugs?
If you meander through McCormack Hall at the Solano County Fair, Vallejo, you'll see plenty of insects. The Bohart Museum of Entomology at UC Davis is staffing a table of "Meet Your Local Pollinators," including butterflies, bees and bee mimics. Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator at the Bohart Museum (home of seven million insect specimens) also brought along honey bee photos, posters and other information from the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, UC Department of Entomology.
The museum specimens include two "oh-my!" drawers (that's what people say when they see these fascinating displays); a collection of native bees from UC Davis graduate student Emily Bzdyk; and California butterflies. Accompanying the display is a framed poster of California's state insect, the California dogface butterfly, the project and design of Fran Keller, UC Davis doctoral candidate in entomology. Davis naturalist-photographer Greg Kareofelas scanned the butterfly images.
But be sure to look on the walls where young photographers and graphic artists are displaying their blue-ribbon work. You'll see honey bees, dragonflies, butterflies and other insects. Future entomologists, perhaps?
A three-year-old named Nicholas Razo of Dixon created a colorful paper butterfly, the kind that UC Davis butterfly expert Art Shapiro probably would like to see in real life. Young Nicholas may give Professor Shapiro some competition in a few years.
The fair, which opened today (Aug. 3) and continues through Aug. 7, is themed "There's No Place Like Home."
There's no place like home for us--and the insects who populate the earth.
Nature has none. Zip. Zero. Zilch.
The Xerces Blue Butterfly, which once thrived on the San Francisco Peninsula before urbanization chased it away, is extinct.
There are no more. It “lives” only as specimens in several insect museums, including the Bohart Museum on the UC Davis campus.
Scientists at the Bohart Museum are spotlighting it on a t-shirt in an effort to draw attention to the fact that we need to protect our threatened and endangered species, or they, too, will become extinct like the Xerces Blue.
The t-shirt spreads the “E” word (Extinction). Lettered above the image of the dazzling blue butterfly (Glaucopsyche xerces) are the words: “And Then There Were None.”
“Some folks have asked us why we created a t-shirt featuring an extinct butterfly,” said t-shirt designer Fran Keller, a doctoral candidate in entomology based at the Bohart. “It not only makes the public aware of the fragility of insects but also shows how much research is still needed to be aware of the interactions between humans and insects and the overall impact his has on the environment.”
“The concept,” Keller said, “is that we will lose what we don’t know we have.”
Davis naturalist-photographer Greg Kareofelas made the images from specimens locked away in the Bohart Museum.
The butterfly, endemic to the San Francisco Peninsula, was first described and documented in 1852. Scientists believe it became extinct in the early 1940s due to human disturbance: loss of habitat caused by urban development.
The butterfly drew its name from the French spelling of "Xerxes," the name of Persian kings Xerxes I and Xerxes II of the fifth century BC.
Entomologist W. Harry Lange (1912-2004) unknowingly collected what is now considered the last known specimen. Lange, who donated some 1 million insect specimens to the museum during his entomological career, collected it at the Presidio military base on March 23, 1941. He later reportedly lamented “I always thought there would be more. I was wrong.”
Only a few U.S. museums, including the Bohart Museum, California Academy of Sciences and the Harvard Museum of Natural History, have specimens of the Xerces Blue (family Lycaenidae), Keller said.
The Bohart Museum, home of more than seven million insect specimens, houses the seventh largest insect collection in North America and is dedicated to teaching, research and service. Founded in 1946 by UC Davis entomologist Richard M. Bohart and now directed by Lynn Kimsey, UC Davis professor of entomology, the museum aims to educate the public about insect diversity, conservation and preservation as part of its mission.
The T-shirt is available online and at the Bohart Museum, 1124 Academic Surge, California Drive, UC Davis campus.