Where to Meet Some Lepidopterists and Dipterists--and Learn About Mosquitoes!

Moths will grab the spotlight at the Bohart Museum of Entomology's open house on Saturday, July 22 but besides Lepidopterists (those who study butterflies and moths), attendees can meet and greet dipterists (those who study flies), learn about mosquitoes from the author of a newly published children's book, and see scores of insect specimens. 

The open house, free and family friendly, takes place from 7 to 11 p.m. in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, 455 Crocker Lane.  This week is National Moth Week.

Some of the world's renowned fly authorities will attend the open house.  They are participating in the 10th International Dipterology Congress, being held July 16-21 in Reno.

Entomologist Jeff Smith, curator of the Lepidopteran collection at the Bohart, and Bohart associate Greg Kareofelas, will show moth specimens and answer questions.

Science educator and entomologist Nazzy Pakpour of Woodland, who received her bachelor's degree in entomology from UC Davis and her doctorate in microbiology, virology, and parasitology from the University of Pennsylvania, will be at the event to read her children's book, "Please Don't Bite Me! Insects That Buzz, Bite and Sting,"  and will sign copies. She writes: "Mosquitoes, wasps, flies and fleas… Buzzing, biting, and causing irritating lumps on your skin. But what if there is more to these irritating insects than meets the eye This question and more are answered in this book that explores the lives of some of the most irritating buzzing, biting and stinging insects."

The book is illustrated by Owen Davy. "All proceeds of book sales will go to the Bohart Museum, thanks to Nazzy's generosity," said Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator. (See her biography on One Aggie Network)

Bug Squad included a photo of Pakpour, then a UC Davis postdoctoral scholar in the lab of Shirley Luckhart, in a Jan. 7, 2011 post headlined "Malaria-Proof Mosquito Takes the Spotlight." Pakpour was one of a collaborative team who worked on a malaria-proof mosquito that made Time Magazine's "50 Best Inventions of 2010." It was listed as No. 1 in Time Magazine's Health and Medicine category. Today Pakpour works in the field of sustainable biotech solutions.

Also at the open house, plans call for setting up a blacklighting display so that visitors can see moths and other night-flying insects.

The event will be dedicated to the late Jerry Powell of UC Berkeley, an international authority on moths and the former director of the Essig Museum of Entomology. He died July 8 at age 90.

Free hot chocolate and cookies will be served, announced Yang said.

The museum, directed by UC Davis distinguished professor Lynn Kimsey, houses a global collection of eight million insects; an insect petting zoo, which includes Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks and tarantulas; and a year-around insect-themed gift shop.