The A. Earl Pritchard Acari Collection

Arthur Earl Pritchard (1915-1965) was a member of the University of California, Berkeley faculty from 1946 through 1961. During his career he served the state, the university and the entomological community in many ways. Pritchard grew up in Oklahoma, and attended Oklahoma State University. He transferred to the University of Minnesota where he earned his B.S. in 1936. He continued in the graduate program at U.M. under the guidance of Clarence E. Mickel and was awarded his doctorate degree in 1942.

Upon graduation, WWII—and its attendant need for malaria control—carried Dr. Pritchard off to various locations in the Caribbean. In 1946, he took a position at the University of California, where he organized a course and research program centered on the insects associated with ornamental plants. This interest combined nicely with his interest in Acarology and he published several works on the mites of fruit trees, and eventually organized the first course in Acarology taught at the University of California. He was very successful as a teacher, and credit is due him for his role in launching the careers of many successful entomologists around the world.

Pritchard’s systematic work focused primarily on the Acari, in particular the Tetranychoidea, and he published many important papers on the classification of this group both in California and worldwide. At the time of his death, Dr. Pritchard had partially completed a monumental work on the Tetranychoidea of the world. Dr. Pritchard was also interested in the taxonomy of several groups of Diptera, publishing numerous papers on Asilidae, Culicidae, and Cecidomyiidae.

The Collection

The Pritchard Acari Collection is integrated but accessible in the general Acari collection in the Essig Museum. The collection is made up primarily of Tetranychoidea, his principal research interest, and is worldwide in scope, with particular emphasis on California and the rest of North America. It numbers approximately 6000 slide-mounted specimens, including numerous paratypes, the majority of his holotypes having been deposited in the Smithsonian Institution.

Selected bibliography

Pritchard, A.E. and E.W. Baker, 1951. The false spider mites of California (Acari: Phytopalpidae). University of California Publications in Entomology 9(1): 1-94.
Pritchard, A.E. and E.W. Baker, 1955. A revision of the spider mite family Tetranychidae. Memoirs of the Pacific Coast Entomological Society 2: 1-472.

Biographical information adapted from

Denning, D.G. and W.W. Allen, 1965. Arthur Earl Pritchard (1915-1965). Journal of Economic Entomology 58(4): 807-808.
Mickel, C.E., 1965. A bibliography of A.E. Pritchard. Unpublished – on file in the Essig Museum.