Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Don Davis

Curator Emeritus of Lepidoptera
Department / Division
Education
  • BA Kansas 
  • PhD Cornell
Research Interests

Systematics and phylogeny of the basal families of Lepidoptera including the superfamilies Tineoidea and Gracillarioidea; biology of leaf-mining and cave-dwelling moths.

Don's research has focused on the phylogeny of the more primitive groups of Lepidoptera. He has published important references on many of these, in particular the families Acrolophidae, Carposinidae, Eriocottidae, Eriocraniidae, Gracillariidae, Neopseustidae, Ochsenheimeriidae, Opostegidae, Paleosetidae, Prodoxidae, Prototheoridae, Psychidae, and Tineidae, as well as on the new families Acanthopteroctetidae, Andesianidae, and Palaephatidae. Much of his research emphasizes the biology of his subjects and their immature stages. In recent years he has concentrated on the biology and biodiversity of plant-mining and cave-dwelling moths and is currently involved in major works on the Acrolophidae, Adelidae, Epipyropidae, Gracillariidae, Nepticulidae, and Tineidae. Since 2005 he has been a collaborator on the Lepidoptera ATOL (Assembling the Tree of Life), an online database maintained at the University of Maryland.  The primary objective for this NSF sponsored program based at the University of Maryland, will be to estimate a "backbone" phylogeny for entire order, using DNA sequences of up to 24 nuclear genes (~18 kb total) from multiple representatives of all 126 families, and testing all current deep-level phylogenetic hypotheses. The molecular phylogeny plus a comprehensive re-evaluation of lepidopteran fossils will provide divergence date estimates for the major lineages. As part of this project he is also assisting in creating web pages summarizing the state of knowledge for all lepidopteran families and superfamilies, to be posted on educational web sites such as Tree of Life. Don's various activities has involved him in fieldwork over much of the United States and in 40 countries that has resulted in the addition of nearly one million insect specimens to the National Museum. In 1977 he was awarded the Jordan Medal by the Lepidopterists' Society for his work on yucca moths and their allies (Prodoxidae).

Don has served as president of the Entomological Society of Washington (1977), the Lepidopterists' Society (1985), and the Biological Society of Washington (1985-86).

Publications
Article

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Web Page
  • Davis, Donald R. 2010. "Family Epipyropidae." leptree.net.
  • Davis, Donald R. 2010. "Family Bucculatricidae." leptree.net.
  • Davis, Donald R. 2010. "Family Gracillariidae." leptree.net.
  • Davis, Donald R. 2010. "Family Palaephatidae." leptree.net.
  • Davis, Donald R. 2010. "Family Andesianidae." leptree.net.
  • Davis, Donald R. 2010. "Family Opostegidae." leptree.net.
  • Davis, Donald R. 2010. "Family Cecidosidae." leptree.net.
  • Davis, Donald R. 2009. "Family Heliozelidae." leptree.net.
  • Davis, Donald R. 2009. "Family Adelidae." leptree.net.
  • Davis, Donald R. 2009. "Family Incurvariidae." leptree.net.
  • Davis, Donald R. 2009. "Family Acanthopteroctetidae." leptree.net.
  • Davis, Donald R. 2009. "Family Eriocraniidae." leptree.net.
  • Davis, Donald R. 2009. "Family Neopseustidae." leptree.net.
  • Davis, Donald R. 2009. "Family Prototheoridae." leptree.net.
  • Davis, Donald R. 2008. "Family Arrhenophanidae." leptree.net.
  • Davis, Donald R. 2008. "Family Psychidae." leptree.net.
  • Davis, Donald R. 2008. "Family Acrolophidae." leptree.net.
  • Davis, Donald R. 2008. "Family Eriocottidae." leptree.net.
  • Davis, Donald R. 2008. "Family Tineidae." leptree.net.
  • Yen, S., Lopez-Vaamonde, Carlos, Sims, I., and Davis, Donald R. 2004. "Evolution of sexual dimorphism, host use and female case architecture in bagworm moths (abstrr.)."

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Chapter
  • Rhainds, M., Davis, Donald R., and Price, P. W. 2009. "Bionomics of Bagworms (Lepidoptera: Psychidae)." in Annual Review of Entomology, edited by Berenbaum, M. R., Carde, R. T., and Robinson, G. E., 209–226. Palo Alto, CA: Annual Reviews.
  • Roe, Amanda D., Weller, Susan J., Baixeras, Joaquin, Brown, John, Cummings, Michael P., Davis, Donald R., Kawahara, Akito Y., Parr, Cynthia Sims, Regier, Jerome C., Rubinoff, Daniel, and Simonsen, T. J. 2009. "Evolutionary Framework for Lepidoptera Model Systems." in Molecular Biology and Genetics of the Lepidoptera, edited by Goldsmith, Marian R. and Marec, Frantisek., 1–24. Contemporary topics in entomology series. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press/Taylor & Francis.
  • Davis, Donald R. 2004. "Biology and Diversity of the Plant-Mining Opostegidae. [abstract]." in XXII International Congress of Entomology, Symposium on Lepidoptera Phylogeny: Integrating Morphology, Life Histories and Molecular Evolution, 1.
  • Pastrana, J. A. and Davis, Donald R. 2004. "Micropterigoidea - Yponomeutoidea." in Los Lepidopteros Argentinos, Sus Plantas Hospedadoras y otros Alimenticios, 1–29.
  • Davis, Donald R. 2003. "The genetic background of three introduced leaf miner moth species - Parectopa robiniella Clemens 1863, Phyllonorycter robiniella Clemens 1859 and Camerari." in Proceedings International Symposium of the Kanazawa University 21st Century COE Program, edited by Kumata, N., 7.
  • Davis, Donald R. 2000. "Tineoidea and Gracillariodea." in Taxonomia, y Biogeografia de Artropodos de Mexico: Hacia una Sintesis de su Concocimiento [Invitational Chapter], 469–482.
  • Davis, Donald R. 1998. "The Monotrysian Heteroneura." in Handbook of Zoology, edited by Kristensen, N. P., 65–90. Berlin, New York: Walter de Gruyter.
  • Davis, Donald R. 1998. "Biology of Yucca moths." in Biology of Lepidoptera [in Japanese], edited by Hirowatari, T., 122–133.
  • Davis, Donald R. 1998. "Gracillarioidea." in Handbook of Zoology, Lepidoptera, edited by Kristensen, N. P., 107–117. Berlin, New York: Walter de Gruyter.
  • Davis, Donald R. and Robinson, G. R. 1998. "Tineoidea." in Handbook of Zoology. Lepidoptera, edited by Kristensen, N. P., 91–107. Berlin, New York: Walter de Gruyter.
  • Davis, Donald R. 1995. "Epipyropidae." in Atlas of Neotropical Lepidoptera, Checklist: Part 2, Hyblaeoidea - Pyraloidea - Tortricoidea, 21, 127.
  • Davis, Donald R. 1992. "Families Palaeosetidae, Neopseustidae, Opostegidae, Eriocottidae, Tineidae, Arrhenophanidae, and Psychidae." in Checklist of the Lepidoptera of Taiwan, 61–65.
  • Davis, Donald R. 1991. "Ermine moth." in The Encyclopedia Americana, International Edition ed. 554–554. Dansbury, CT: Grolier Incorporation.
  • Davis, Donald R. 1991. "Carpenter moth." in The Encyclopedia Americana, International ed. 701–702. Dansbury, CT: Grolier Incorporation.
  • Davis, Donald R. 1991. "Caterpillar." in The Encyclopedia Americana, International ed. 827–827. Dansbury, CT: Grolier Incorporation.
  • Davis, Donald R. 1991. "Cecropia moth." in The Encyclopedia Americana, International ed. 118–118. Dansbury, CT: Grolier Incorporation.
  • Davis, Donald R. 1991. "Cabbage butterfly." in The Encyclopedia Americana, International ed. 110–110. Dansbury, CT: Grolier Incorporation.
  • Davis, Donald R. 1991. "Buckeye butterfly." in The Encyclopedia Americana, International ed. 680–680. Dansbury, CT: Grolier Incorporation.
  • Davis, Donald R. 1991. "Browntail moth." in The Encyclopedia Americana, International ed. 63–63. Dansbury, CT: Grolier Incorporation.
  • Davis, Donald R. 1991. "Codling moth." in The Encyclopedia Americana, International ed. 176–176. Dansbury, CT: Grolier Incorporation.
  • Davis, Donald R. 1991. "Cocoon." in The Encyclopedia Americana, International ed. 170–170. Dansbury, CT: Grolier Incorporation.
  • Davis, Donald R. 1991. "Clothes moth." in The Encyclopedia Americana, International ed. 99–99. Dansbury, CT: Grolier Incorporation.
  • Davis, Donald R. 1991. "Clearwing moth." in The Encyclopedia Americana, International ed. 7:41–41. Dansbury, CT: Grolier Incorporation.
  • Davis, Donald R. 1991. "Chrysalis." in The Encyclopedia Americana, International ed. 688–688. Dansbury, CT: Grolier Incorporation.
  • Davis, Donald R. 1991. "Ghost moth." in The Encyclopedia Americana, 724. Dansbury, CT: Grolier Incorporation.
  • Davis, Donald R. 1991. "Grass moth." in Encyclopedia Americana, 199. Dansbury, CT: Grolier Incorporation.
  • Davis, Donald R. 1991. "Gypsy moth." in Encyclopedia Americana, 650. Dansbury, CT: Grolier Incorporation.
  • Davis, Donald R. 1991. "Hairstreak butterfly." in Encyclopedia Americana, 695. Dansbury, CT: Grolier Incorporation.
  • Davis, Donald R. 1991. "Harvester butterfly." in Encyclopedia Americana, 838. Dansbury, CT: Grolier Incorporation.
  • Davis, Donald R. 1991. "Hawk moth." in Encyclopedia Americana, 884. Dansbury, CT: Grolier Incorporation.
  • Davis, Donald R. 1991. "Imperial moth." in Encyclopedia Americana, 820. Dansbury, CT: Grolier Incorporation.
  • Davis, Donald R. 1991. "Leopard moth." in Encyclopedia Americana, 239. Dansbury, CT: Grolier Incorporation.
  • Davis, Donald R. 1991. "Luna moth." in Encyclopedia Americana, 851. Dansbury, CT: Grolier Incorporation.
  • Davis, Donald R. 1991. "Swallowtail butterfly." in Encyclopedia Americana, 87. Dansbury, CT: Grolier Incorporation.
  • Davis, Donald R. 1991. "Tent caterpillars." in Encyclopedia Americana, 501–502. Dansbury, CT: Grolier Incorporation.
  • Davis, Donald R. 1991. "Tiger moth." in Encyclopedia Americana, 740–741. Dansbury, CT: Grolier Incorporation.
  • Davis, Donald R. 1991. "Tomato hornworm." in Encyclopedia Americana, 834. Dansbury, CT: Grolier Incorporation.
  • Davis, Donald R. 1991. "Tortoiseshell butterfly." in Encyclopedia Americana, 867–868. Dansbury, CT: Grolier Incorporation.
  • Davis, Donald R. 1991. "Fritillary." in Encyclopedia Americana, 102. Dansbury, CT: Grolier Incorporation.
  • Davis, Donald R. 1991. "Forward to the English Edition." in Fundamentals of Paleontology, volume 9 (Arthropoda, Tracheata, Chelicerata), 1–3.
  • Davis, Donald R. 1990. "Tineidae." in Primary Types of Microlepidoptera in the Museum of Comparative Zoology, 50–54.
  • Davis, Donald R. 1989. "[Definitions of new morphological terms in Lepidoptera]." in The Torre-Bueno Glossary of Entomology, Rev. Edition, 1.
  • Davis, Donald R. 1988. "Foreword." in The Lepidoptera Fauna of the USSR and Adjacent Countries, Vol. 56, 1–3.
  • Davis, Donald R. 1987. "Micropterigidae, Eriocraniidae, Nepticulidae, Tischeriidae, Opostegidae, Incurbariidae, Heliozelidae, Tineidae, Psychidae, Ochsenheimeriidae, Lyonetiidae, Gracillariidae, and Epipyropidae." in Immature Insects vol. 2, 1–38.
  • Davis, Donald R. 1987. "Epipyropidae." in Immature insects, edited by Stehr, Frederick W., 456–460. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publ. Co.
  • Davis, Donald R. 1987. "Gracillariidae." in Immature insects, Vol. 1, edited by Stehr, Frederick W., 372–374. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publ. Co.
  • Davis, Donald R. 1987. "Lyonetiidae." in Immature insects, Vol. 1, edited by Stehr, Frederick W., 370–372. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publ. Co.
  • Davis, Donald R. 1987. "Ochsenheimeriidae." in Immature insects, Vol. 1, edited by Stehr, Frederick W., 367–368. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publ. Co.
  • Davis, Donald R. 1987. "Psychidae." in Immature insects, edited by Stehr, Frederick W., 366–369. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publ. Co.
  • Davis, Donald R. 1987. "Tineidae." in Immature insects, edited by Stehr, Frederick W., 362–365. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publ. Co.
  • Davis, Donald R. 1987. "Prodoxidae." in Immature insects, edited by Stehr, Frederick W., 359–362. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publ. Co.
  • Davis, Donald R. 1987. "Incurvariidae." in Immature insects, edited by Stehr, Frederick W., 358–361. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publ. Co..
  • Davis, Donald R. 1987. "Adelidae." in Immature insects, edited by Stehr, Frederick W., 358–360. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publ. Co.
  • Davis, Donald R. 1987. "Heliozelidae." in Immature insects, edited by Stehr, Frederick W., 354–357. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publ. Co.
  • Davis, Donald R. 1987. "Tischeriidae." in Immature insects, edited by Stehr, Frederick W., 354–357. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publ. Co.
  • Davis, Donald R. 1987. "Opostegidae." in Immature insects, edited by Stehr, Frederick W., 351–353. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publ. Co..
  • Davis, Donald R. 1987. "Nepticulidae." in Immature insects, edited by Stehr, Frederick W., 350–353. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publ. Co.
  • Davis, Donald R. 1987. "Eriocraniidae." in Immature insects, Vol. 1., edited by Stehr, Frederick W., 344–348. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publ. Co.
  • Davis, Donald R. 1987. "Micropterigidae, Eriocraniidae." in Immature insects, edited by Stehr, Frederick W., 341–343. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publ. Co.
  • Davis, Donald R. and Frack, D. C. 1987. "Acanthopteroctetidae." in Immature Insects vol. 2, 1–2.
  • Davis, Donald R. 1984. "Neopseustidae, Nepticulidae, Opostgidae, Tischeriidae, Incurvariidae, Cecidosidae, Adelidae, Prodoxidae, Tineidae, Psychidae, and Arrhenophanidae." in Atlas of Neotropical Lepidoptera, Checklist: Part 1, Micropterigoidea - Immoidea, 3–6.
  • Davis, Donald R. and Miller, Scott E. 1984. "Gracillariidae." in Atlas of Neotropical Lepidoptera. Checklist: Part 1, edited by Heppner, John B., 25–27. The Hague: Dr. W. Junk Publishers.
  • Davis, Donald R. and Miller, Scott E. 1984. "Lyonetiidae." in Atlas of Neotropical Lepidoptera. Checklist: Part 1, edited by Heppner, John B., 25. The Hague: Dr. W. Junk Publishers.
  • Davis, Donald R. 1983. "Acanthopteroctetidae, Dalceridae, Epipyropidae, Eriocraniidae, Gracillariidae, Heliozelidae, Hepialidae, Incurvariidae, Limacodidae, Lyonetiidae, Megalopygidae, Micropterigidae, Ochsenheimeriidae, Opostegidae, Psychidae, Tineidae, Tischeriidae, and Zygaen." in Check List of the Lepidoptera of America North of MexicoLondon, 65–67.
  • Davis, Donald R. and Wilkinsen, C. 1983. "Nepticulidae." in Check List of the Lepidoptera of America North of MexicoLondon, 2–3.

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Book
  • Davis, Donald R. and Rohendorf, B. B. . , eds. 1991. Fundamentals of Paleontology. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Libraries and the National Science Foundation.
  • Hodges, Ronald and Davis, Donald R. , eds. 1989. Keys to the Insects of the European USSR. New Delhi: Amerind Publishing Co.
  • Davis, Donald R. , ed. 1989. Clothes Moths (Tineidae) Subfamily Myrmecozelinae. Washingthon, DC: National Science Foundation.
  • Hodges, Ronald and Davis, Donald R. , eds. 1987. Keys to the Insects of the European part of the USSR. New Delhi: Amerind Publishing Co..
  • Hodges, Ronald, Dominick, T., Davis, Donald R., Ferguson, Douglas, Franclemont, John, Munroe, Gene, and Powell, Jerry. , eds. 1983. Check list of the Lepidoptera of America north of Mexico. London: E.W. Classey Ltd. and the Wedge Entomological Research Foundation.
  • Davis, Donald R. and Zagulyaev, A. K. , eds. 1975. Tineidae. New Delhi: Indian National Scientific Documentation Centre.