Theodore Dru Alison Cockerell

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Theodore Dru Alison Cockerell
Profile portrait of Cockerell
Born(1866-08-22)22 August 1866
Norwood, Greater London
Died26 January 1948(1948-01-26) (aged 81)[1]
San Diego, California
Resting placeColumbia Cemetery, Boulder, Colorado
CitizenshipUnited States
Alma materMiddlesex Hospital Medical School
Spouse(s)Annie Fenn Cockerell, Wilmatte Porter Cockerell
Scientific career
FieldsZoology, botany
InstitutionsNew Mexico Agricultural Experiment Station, New Mexico Normal University, University of Colorado, University of Colorado Museum of Natural History
Notable studentsCharlotte Cortlandt Ellis
Author abbrev. (botany)Cockerell
Author abbrev. (zoology)Ckll.[2]

Theodore Dru Alison Cockerell (1866–1948) was an American zoologist, born at Norwood, England, and brother of Sydney Cockerell. He was educated at the Middlesex Hospital Medical School, and then studied botany in the field in Colorado in 1887–90. Subsequently, he became a taxonomist and published numerous papers on the Hymenoptera, Hemiptera, and Mollusca, as well as publications on paleontology and evolution.

Personal life[edit]

Cockerell with his wife Wilmatte Porter Cockerell, 1935

Cockerell was born in Norwood, Greater London and died in San Diego, California.

He married Annie Penn in 1891 (she died in 1893) and Wilmatte A. Porter in 1900. In 1901, he named the ultramarine blue chromodorid Mexichromis porterae in her honor. Before and after their marriage in 1900, they frequently went on collecting expeditions together and assembled a large private library of natural history films, which they showed to schoolchildren and public audiences to promote the cause of environmental conservation.

After his death he was buried in Columbia Cemetery, Boulder, Colorado.[3]

Professional life[edit]

Between 1891 and 1901 Cockerell was curator of the public museum of Kingston, Jamaica, professor of entomology of the New Mexico Agricultural Experiment Station. In 1900–03 he was instructor in biology at the New Mexico Normal University. While there he taught and mentored the botanist Charlotte Cortlandt Ellis.[4] In 1903–04 Cockerell was the curator of the Colorado College Museum; and in 1904 he became lecturer on entomology and in 1906 professor of systematic zoology, at the University of Colorado, where he worked with Junius Henderson in establishing the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History. During World War II he operated the Desert Museum in Palm Springs, California.[5]


Cockerell was author of more than 2,200 articles in scientific publications, especially on the Hymenoptera, Hemiptera, and Mollusca, and on paleontology and various phases of evolution, plus some 1700 additional authored works, including treatises on social reform and education. He was one of the most prolific taxonomists in history, publishing descriptions of over 9,000 species and genera of insects alone, some 6,400 of which were bees, and some 1,000 mollusks, arachnids, fungi, mammals, fish and plants.[6] This includes descriptions of numerous fossil taxa, such as the landmark study, Some Fossil Insects from Florissant, Colorado (1913). The standard author abbreviation Cockerell is used to indicate this person as the author when citing a botanical name.[7]


A dorm in the Engineering Quad at the University of Colorado at Boulder and the moth Givira theodori are named in his honor.


Taxa named by Cockerell include:

Name Year Unit Location Notes Images

Anthidium exhumatum


Florissant Formation

United States

A mason bee

Anthidium scudderi


Florissant Formation

United States

A mason bee

Archimyrmex rostratus


Green River Formation

United States

A myrmeciine ant




a land slug genus

Dinopanorpa megarche


Khutsin Formation


A scorpion fly

Hydriomena? protrita


Florissant Formation

United States

A butterfly

Protostephanus ashmeadi


Florissant Formation

A crown wasp



Baltic amber & Florissant Formation, Colorado

United States

An Eocene wasp genus

Tortrix? destructus


Florissant Formation

United States

A moth

Tortrix? florissantana


Florissant Formation

United States

A moth

Trigona corvina 1913 Central America & South America A stingless bee
Trigona corvina.JPG


Wikisource-logo.svg This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainGilman, D. C.; Peck, H. T.; Colby, F. M., eds. (1905). "article name needed". New International Encyclopedia (1st ed.). New York: Dodd, Mead. The Nautilus 1902 16:19-21.

  1. ^ Gardner, Sue Ann, "Theodore Dru Alison Cockerell". Retrieved 5 November 2017.
  2. ^ Cockerell, T. D. A. (July 1897) "Contributions to Coccidology.-II." The American Naturalist. Vol. 31, No. 367, pp. 588-592
  3. ^ The Valley of the Second Sons
  4. ^ Eugene Jercinovic (21 February 2008). "Charlotte Ellis of the Sandia Mountains" (PDF). The New Mexico Botanist.
  5. ^ Young, Patricia Mastick (1983). Desert Dream Fulfilled: The History of the Palm Springs Desert Museum. Palm Springs, California: Palm Springs Desert Museum, Inc. pp. 24–25. LCCN 83080384. OCLC 19266381. LCC QH541.5.D4 Y68 1983
  6. ^ "?". Archived from the original on 13 June 2007.
  7. ^ IPNI.  Cockerell.

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