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Arcius Swordtail image by Gill Carter,
Rhetus arcius (Riodinidae) (image by Gill Carter)

Brian Harris, Museum Specialist, Lepidoptera & Hymenoptera

  • Phone:   202-633-1024/1003
  • Fax:   202-786-3141
  • E-mail Address:
  • Mailing Address:
    Smithsonian Institution
    PO Box 37012, MRC 105, E-501
    Washington, DC 20013-7012
  • Shipping Address:
    Smithsonian Institution
    National Museum of Natural History
    10th & Constitution NW
    Washington, DC 20560-0105
Brian Harris with Lepidoptera specimens

Duties and Interests:

Brian Harris was born in Southern California in 1953. He comes from an art, music and science oriented family. Due to his older sister’s interest in insects, he became fascinated by them too, resulting in many collecting trips with the family to local parks and later Arizona. His major at Long Beach University was Entomology, but soon took a career detour in music, playing in bands (drums) with his brother in various night clubs throughout the western U.S. for eleven years.

In 1985 an NSF grant in Entomology at the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles was the beginning of a long career that eventually brought him to his current position at the National Museum of Natural History’s Entomology Department. Since the early 1980’s many field trips were taken to Central and South America. His interests are neotropical butterflies, particularly Riodinidae and Lycaenidae, diurnal moths and beetles.

Under the supervision of Dr. Bob Robbins and Dr. Dave Furth, Brian splits his duties in Hymenoptera and Lepidoptera every other week. In Lepidoptera he is currently incorporating a donated world-wide Pierid butterfly collection, as well as upgrading other various areas that are needed, especially the Old World Lycaenidae. In Hymenoptera, he primarily works on the bee collection as well as loans and other collection tasks.

His additional interests include playing piano, jazz, NBA basketball and Insectivorous plants.

Selected Publications:

Harris, B., G. Lamas and R. K. Robbins. 2010. Identity of Palaeonympha avinoffi Schaus, a satyrine butterfly from China (Lepidoptera, Nymphalidae). Acta Zootaxonomica Sinica, 35(3):680-681. Adobe Acrobat PDF icon

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