Butterflies at the Bohart

Jan 19, 2011

Butterflies will set the theme for the Bohart Museum of Entomology’s open house on Sunday, Jan. 23 from 1 to 4 p.m.

The Bohart Museum, located on the University of California, Davis campus at 1124 Academic Surge on California Drive, is home to more than seven million insect specimens, plus a live “petting zoo” that includes Madagascar hissing cockroaches and walking sticks.

The butterfly specimens range from the big and bold to the small and shy. Of special regional interest is the cabbage white butterfly; a contest is under way to find the 'first of the year"  in the three-county area of Yolo, Solano or Sacramento.

The museum’s regular hours are from 8:30 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday.  It is closed on Fridays and on major holidays. Admission is free.

To accommodate families and other area residents who are unable to attend the regular visiting hours, Mondays through Thursdays, the Bohart began offering special weekend hours last year.

Events scheduled this year, in addition to the Jan. 23 opening, are:

Saturday, Feb. 26: “Meet the Beetles,” 1 to 4 p.m.

Sunday, March 13: “The Ants Go Marching On,” 1 to 4 p.m.

Saturday, April 16: “UC Davis Picnic Day,” all day

Saturday, May 7: “Moth-ers Day,” featuring moths, 1 to 4 p.m.

Sunday, June 5: “June Bugs,” 1 to 4 p.m.

Cabbage white butterflies are the focus of Art Shapiro's 40th annual Cabbage White Butterfly Competition, which began Jan. 1, 2011.

Shapiro, a noted butterfly expert and a professor in the Department of Evolution and Ecology, sponsors the annual contest to draw attention to Pieris rapae and its first flight. The first person to collect a cabbage white in Yolo, Solano or Sacramento will win a pitcher of beer or the equivalent. So far, no winner.

"I had predicted the first rapae would be between Jan 17 and Jan. 21, based on my own projection of a 3-week January dry spell," Shapiro said today. "The projection was right on, but the bug may well not be out by then."

Shapiro usually wins his own contest, but so far, no cabbage whites. However, he's been finding other members of Lepidoptera. "I did my Gates Canyon site (Vacaville) on Saturday--it was 65F!--and had a male Buckeye and 3 moth species, one being the wonderful BearSphinx, Arctonotus lucidus."

We expect to hear any day now that he's found the first cabbage white.

The R. M. Bohart Museum of Entomology, directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis, is dedicated to teaching, research and service. Founded in 1946 by noted entomologist Richard M. Bohart, it houses the seventh largest insect collection in North America.

The Bohart Museum also includes a gift shop, where visitors can purchase t-shirts, sweatshirts, jewelry, note cards, books, posters, insect candy and other gifts. The insect candy includes chocolate-covered ants and crickets. 

More information is available on the Bohart website or by contacting Tabatha Yang at tabyang@ucdavis.edu or (530) 752-9464.

By Kathy Keatley Garvey
Author - Communications specialist

Attached Images:

TWO CABBAGE WHITE butterflies foraging. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Two Cabbage Whites