Bohart Open House: Dispelling Myths About Spiders

Doctoral candidate Emma Jochim of the Jason Bond lab
Doctoral candidate Emma Jochim of the Jason Bond lab
You've probably heard someone say "I got bit by a brown recluse spider in California."

Oh? In California?

That leads to such questions as:

  • "Does California have brown recluse spiders?"
  • "Do millipedes really have 1000 legs?"
  • "Are baby scorpions deadlier than adults?"

Those are some of the topics that UC Davis doctoral candidates Emma Jochim and Xavier Zahnle of the Jason Bond arachnology lab will discuss when they dispel myths about spiders and millipedes at the Bohart Museum of Entomology open house on Saturday, March 18. The theme: "Many-Legged Wonders."

The open house, free and family friendly, will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, 455 Crocker Lane, UC Davis campus.

The Bond lab's question-and-answer session about spider myths is set from 1 to 1:30 p.m. First-year doctoral student Iris Quayle will moderate.  Lab members also will show some "rarer live arachnids such as 'vinegaroons' and 'whip spiders' in addition to tarantulas and scorpions," Jochim said. "We will also have millipedes that people can handle and many species of isopods."

Professor Bond is the Evert and Marion Schlinger Endowed Chair in Insect Systematics, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, and associate dean, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. 

A showing of live animals and specimens is scheduled  from 1:30 to 4 p.m. Elijah Shih, a third-year UC Davis transfer student studying neurobiology, physiology and behavior, with plans to pursue a career in veterinary medicine, will show his isopods. Bohart Museum research associate Brittany Kohler, the "zookeeper" of the Bohart petting zoo, will show the current tenants, which include: 

  • Princess Herbert, a Brazilian salmon-pink bird-eating tarantula (Lasiodora parahybana), age estimated to be around 20 (current oldest resident)
  • Peaches, a Chilean rose hair tarantula (Grammostola rosea)
  • Coco McFluffin, a Chaco golden knee tarantula (Grammostola pulchripes) 
  • Beatrice, a Vietnamese centipede (Scolopendra subspinipes), newest resident 
  • Two black widows (Latrodectus hesperus)
  • One brown widow  (Latrodectus geometricus)

Among the other residents are Madagascar hissing cockroaches, a giant cave cockroach, stick insects, a bark scorpion and ironclad beetles. A family arts-and-crafts activity is also planned.

The family arts-and-crafts activity, being planned by Jochim, will be molding arachnids and myriapods using model clay.

The Bohart Museum, directed by UC Davis distinguished professor Lynn Kimsey, houses a global collection of eight million insect specimens, plus the petting zoo and a gift shop stocked with insect-themed books, posters, jewelry, t-shirts, hoodies and more. Dedicated to "understanding, documenting and communicating terrestrial arthropod diversity," the Bohart Museum was founded in 1946 and named for UC Davis professor and noted entomologist Richard Bohart. The insect museum is open to the public Mondays through Thursdays, from 8 a.m. to noon, and 1 to 5 p.m.

More information is available on the Bohart website at or by emailing