Jeff Smith W Monarchs

The Museum

Mission Statement: Understanding, documenting & communicating terrestrial arthropod diversity.
The R. M. Bohart Museum of Entomology, founded in 1946, is located on the University of California, Davis campus. The museum is dedicated to teaching, research and service. We have the seventh largest insect collection in North America, and is worldwide in coverage. The collection holdings total more than seven million specimens of terrestrial and fresh water arthropods. The museum is also home of the California Insect Survey, a storehouse of the insect biodiversity of California's deserts, mountains, coast, and the Great Central Valley.


Entomology \ˌen-tə-ˈmä-lə-jē\

Who are Entomologists?

Eileen Fodje

Entomologists are people who study insects. All over the world, entomologists observe, collect, rear and experiment with insects. Research undertaken by entomologists covers all biological disciplines such as evolution, ecology, behavior, anatomy and physiology, to biochemistry and genetics. Many biologists work with insects because they are easy to culture, many individuals are available, and there is a diversity of species to study.

We study insects for many reasons. Their ecologies are incredibly variable. Insects may dominate food chains and food webs in volume and numbers. Feeding specializations of different insect groups include detritus, rotting materials, living and dead wood, and fungus, aquatic filter feeding and grazing, herbivory, predation and parasitism. Insect may live in water, on land or in soil throughout, or during part of their lives. Their lifestyles may be either solitary, gregarious, subsocial, or highly social. They may be conspicuous, mimics of other objects, or concealed, and may be active by day or night. Insect life cycles allow survival under a wide range of conditions, such as extremes of heat and cold, wet and dry, and unpredictable climates.

Insects are essential in ecosystems in many ways: as nutrient recyclers, in plant propagation, including pollination, seed dispersal, and in maintaining plant community structure; as food for insectivorous birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles and fish; and in maintaining animal and plant community structure, through disease transmission, and herbivory, predation and parasitism, and in forensics.


Entomological Society of America


This is a professional organization for entomologists. There is a lot of information and resources for those interested in this as a career. Attending a conference (there are even smaller regional conferences) is a good way to explore this path.


Careers in entomology

Assassin Bug, Family Reduviidae, Photo by Andrew Richards.
Assassin Bug, Family Reduviidae, Photo by Andrew Richards.




Click  the above photo of t.v. personality Huell Howser visiting the Bohart for a Chapman University  archived video of his travel show "California's Gold" Road Trip to UC Davis.


The Value of Museum Collections for Research and Society

This is a comprehensive article written by Profs. Suarez and Tsutsui, graduates of UC Davis.