You'll Want to See the Spiders Saturday at the Bohart Museum of Open House

Ever seen a crab spider hanging out on a flower?


Ever seen a crab spider hanging out with two male longhorned bees that are sleeping overnight on a flower?


Such was the case last night when a Mexican sunflower, Tithonia rotundifola, drew two Melissodes agilis and one crab spider. Ah, it was just a teeny tiny crab spider.

The next morning two of the floral tenants (the bees) were still there, but the third tenant, the crab spider, was gone.

Not sure if the bees got a good night's sleep....

Want to learn more about spiders?

No, don't run away!

Be sure to attend the Bohart Museum of Entomology open house, themed "Eight-Legged Encounters," from 1 to 4 p.m., Saturday, June 25 in the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane, UC Davis. Members of the American Arachnological Society (AAS) will kick-off their annual meeting by co-hosting the event. It's free and family friendly. 

Some 20 tables will be set up in the Academic Surge Building hallway. A powerhouse of arachnologists will participate, according to arachnologist Jason Bond, associate dean, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, and the Evert and Marion Schlinger Endowed Chair in Insect Systematics, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. He is hosting the June 26-30 conference with Lisa Chamberland, postdoctoral research associate, Department of Entomology and Nematology, and Joel Ledford, assistant professor of teaching, Department of Plant Biology, College of Biological Sciences.

 “There will be everything--spider specimens, live arachnids, activities, artwork, etc., at the open house,"  Professor Bond said.   

Professor Eileen Hebets of the School of Biological Sciences, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, is co-hosting the open house as part of a U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) grant, “Eight-Legged Encounters” that she developed as an outreach project to connect arachnologists with communities, especially youth. She seeks to educate the public “about the wonders of biology and the possibility of scientific discovery using a charismatic and engaging group of animals--arachnids. Arachnids (spiders and their relatives) are ubiquitous, thriving in most habitable environments on our planet (including underwater),” as mentioned on her website.

AAS is also sponsoring a lecture series from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, June 28, in the newly constructed 600-seat lecture hall, California Hall. It's free and open to the public. It will be quite casual, Bond said. Arachnologists will share some of their research. 

Directed by UC Davis distinguished entomology professor Lynn Kimsey, the Bohart Museum houses eight million insect specimens; a live "petting zoo" (Madagascar hissing cockroaches, stick insects and tarantulas); and an insect-themed gift shop. It is located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building. See more information on its website at