Last May, the Archives joined the Smithsonian Libraries and the Biodiversity Heritage Library to #DigIntoDyar, a campaign to help transcribe the historic field books of Smithsonian entomologist Harrison Dyar. A man with a scandalous personal life and a habit of digging underground tunnels beneath his house, his work was just as (figuratively) groundbreaking. As Honorary Custodian of Lepiodptera at what is now the National Museum of Natural History for more than 30 years, he was responsible for both describing and discovering new species of moths, butterflies, and mosquitoes.
His work in this area, specifically measuring the size of insects’ exoskeletons during the molting process, became known as Dyar’s Law. Today, Dyar’s Law is being re-examined, thanks to the digitization of the scientist’s original notes, taken more than 100 years ago.
During the #DigIntoDyar campaign, Smithsonian Transcription Center volunteers transcribed more than 270 pages of Dyar’s field notes. Now, National Museum of Natural History entomologist Dr. Jorge Santiago-Blay is using the transcriptions of Dyar’s original notes to help shed new light on Dyar’s Law.
Join us on Facebook Live tomorrow at 12 p.m., as we meet Dr. Santiago-Blay for a behind-the-scenes look at the Department of Entomology. He’ll share a new look at the National Museum of Natural History’s insect collection, and explain how the digitized Dyar blue books are helping shape his research. Then, you can explore and help transcribe more of Dyar’s original notes!
- Facebook Live: Dyar's Law Revisited at NMNH, Smithsonian Institution Archives
- Understanding growth in insects: Dyar’s Law revisited, The Bigger Picture, Smithsonian Institution Archives
- The Impossible Case of Harrison G. Dyar, The Bigger Picture, Smithsonian Institution Archives
- H.G. Dyar, Bluebook 197-212, 1890-1895, Smithsonian Transcription Center
- H.G. Dyar, Bluebook 212-270, 1890-1896, Smithsonian Transcription Center