Naomi Pierce

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Naomi E. Pierce (born 1954) is the Hessel Professor of Biology[1] at Harvard University and the world authority on butterflies.[2] Pierce is the university's Curator of Lepidoptera, a position once held by Vladimir Nabokov.[3]

Pierce studies the relationship between butterfly larvae and ants, as well as the genetic trends within the species, in order to understand the process of evolution.[4]

Pierce and collaborators Corrie Moreau and Charles D. Bell were the first to establish the origin of ants at 140 to 168 million years ago using molecular sequence data, 40 million years older than previous estimates.[5]


Pierce earned her BSc in Biology at Yale (1972–76) and her Ph.D. in Biology at Harvard (1977–83).

From 1984-86 she was Research Lecturer at Christ Church, Oxford and a NATO Research Fellow at Oxford's Department of Zoology.

In 1986 she moved to Princeton as Assistant (86-89) and Associate (89-90) Professor of Biology, and in 1991 was appointed Hessel Professor and Curator of Lepidoptera.[6]


  1. ^ Yoon, Carol Kaesuk (June 17, 2007). "Charles Lee Remington, Butterfly Expert, Dies at 85". The New York Times. 
  2. ^ De Cuevas, John (July–August 2001). "A Life with Lycaenids". Harvard Magazine. Retrieved 2013-11-25. 
  3. ^ Stevens, William K. (August 6, 1991). "Seduced by Siren Song of Science". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-11-25. 
  4. ^ Pierce Laboratory and the history of the two species.
  5. ^ "Ancient Ants Arose 140-168 Million Years Ago; Insects Needed Flowering Plants To Flourish". Science Daily. April 7, 2006. Retrieved 2013-11-25. 
  6. ^ "Naomi Pierce". Pierce Lab. Harvard Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology. Retrieved 2013-11-25. 

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