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Published in the American National Biography, v. 5, p. 123-124. Copyright 1999, the American Council of Learned Societies and Oxford University Press. Used by permission.


Theodore Dru Alison Cockerell, entomologist and systematic biologist, published nearly 4,000 papers, some of them only a few lines long. Cockerell’s special interest in bees led him to describe and name specimens from the United States, the West Indies, Honduras, the Philippines, Africa, and Asia. He published at least 5,500 names for species and varieties of bees and almost 150 names for genera and subgenera. It has been estimated that this represented over a quarter of all known species of bees during his lifetime. Above all, however, Cockerell was a general systematist. In addition to extensive studies of bees and scale insects, he published papers on slugs, moths, fish scales, fungi, roses and other flowers, mollusks, and a wide variety of other plants and animals. His publications on nontaxonomic topics in biology included papers on insect coloration, plant and animal distribution, and evolution. He was also a naturalist, composing works, for example, on the general entomology of Colorado and a list of reptiles in part of New Mexico, among many others. Cockerell was also interested in religion, politics, and poetry and published several works in those fields, many as a book reviewer for Dial (Chicago). He wrote poems and contributed to the debate regarding education in New Mexico around the turn of the century.