Seeing Spots at the Bohart Museum of Entomology

When you visit the Bohart Museum of Entomology on the UC Davis campus, you're likely to see spots.

That would be the Indian domino cockroach, Therea petiveriana, also variously called the desert cockroach or seven-spotted cockroach.

It's one of the critters in the Bohart Museum's live "petting zoo," which also includes Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks or stick insects, and tarantulas.

A sign reveals: "These charismatic roaches live in the leaf litter of the scrub forests of Southern India.They primarily scavenge on leaf litter, dropped fruit, and the occasional yummy source of protein (usually dead insects). Their bright, black and white patterning is not for camouflage but instead to mimic the aggressive six-spot ground beetle."

That would be the aggressive ground beetle Anthia sexguttata known for its strong defenses, including the ability to spray chemical irritants.

The Bohart Museum, founded by noted entomologist Richard M. Bohart (1913-2007), houses a global collection of nearly eight million specimens. It is also the home of the seventh largest insect collection in North America, and the California Insect Survey, a storehouse of insect biodiversity. In addition, the Bohart maintains a year-around gift shop stocked with t-shirts, sweatshirts, jewelry, posters, stuffed toy animals (think water bears or tardigrades and other critters) books, insect-collecting equipment and more. 

"We are proud of the Bohart Museum's strong tradition of public outreach," wrote director Lynn Kimsey in a year-end report. "In the last year alone, we connected with more than 13,000 visitors, both at the museum and through programs and traveling exhibits to schools and public events. We answer more than 1000 questions about insects, spiders and their relatives every year, guiding consumers to take a deep breath or use appropriate and cost-effective control strategies. Helping people understand insects, and lose their fear of them, is one of the things we do best."

Want to become a member to help support its work? The Bohart Museum Society offers the following membership categories:

  • Individual member, $25
  • Student, $15 (one)
  • $25 for student family
  • Family, $40
  • Patron, $100

Additional contributions to the Bohart Museum of Entomology endowment are very much welcome. Contributions are tax-deductible. Checks should be made out to the "Bohart Museum Society" and mailed to:

Bohart Museum of Entomology
Room 1124, Academic Surge Building, Crocker Lane
University of California, Davis
Davis, Calif. 95616.

The insect museum is open to the public Mondays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m., except on holidays. Visiting hours will end at 5 p.m., Dec. 16 and will resume at 9 a.m. on Jan. 6. The Bohart will  be closed to the public from Dec. 17 to Jan. 5. More information on the Bohart Museum is available on the website at or by contacting (530) 752-0493 or