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Carriker Chronology

Carriker, Melbourne Armstrong, Jr. (1879-1965)

Born: Feb. 14, 1879 Sullivan, Illinois.

Died: July 27, 1965, Bucaramanga, Colombia


Melbourne Armstrong Carriker, Jr. (1879-1965), was born in Sullivan, Illinois.
By the time he graduated from high school, he was collecting bird skins and
studying the habits of birds extensively. His interest in bird lice (Mallophaga)
began during his freshman year at the University of Nebraska under the guidance
of Lawrence Bruner. Carriker became one of the world's authorities on the
neotropical genera of chewing lice. During his career Carriker described two
new families, four new subfamilies, fifty-three new genera and
subgenera, and eight hundred sixty-six new species and subspecies of lice. Carriker was
prolific in his writing as well. Between 1940 and 1959 he produced thirty-three
papers, most of them large ones. His papers were published in Spanish as well as
English. He corresponded with Mallophaga systematists all over the world.

Carriker collected specimens for some of the most important institutions in the
U.S., including the Carnegie Museum (1902 and 1907-1927); the American Museum
of Natural History (1909); the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia
(1929-1938); the United States National Museum (1940-1952); the Peabody Museum;
the Field Museum of Natural History; and the Los Angeles County Museum. He
traveled South America extensively on his collecting trips, covering Costa Rica,
Trinidad, Venezuela, and Curacao Island, and canvassing Peru, Bolivia, and
Colombia almost entirely. From 1907 to 1909, Carriker held the position of
assistant curator of birds at the Carnegie Museum. In 1953, he received the
honorary post of collaborator in the Department of Entomology, United States
National Museum, and he continued his collecting work until the month before his
death in 1965.


1879 February 14 Born in Sullivan, Illinois

1899 December

Presented first paper, on nesting habits of local raptors, at
first meeting of the Nebraska Ornithologists' Union of which he was a founding member.
1901 December Publication of first paper on Mallophaga
1902 Jan.- Feb. Six-week collecting trip in Costa Rica with Lawrence
Bruner of the University of Nebraska
1902 Collected birds in Costa Rica for the Carnegie Museum and small mammals for
the American Museum of Natural History. Collecting trips to the volcanoes
Irazu and Turialba and, accompanied by British ornithologist C. F. Underwood,
to Pozo Azul. Collected chewing lice from birds collected, and these became the
subject of a second paper
1903 Returned to Costa Rica with H. C. Crawford, Jr., and Max Zimmerer.
Contracted "Black-Water Fever," hospitalized. Upon recovery, took a job as an
engineer with the General Electric Company installing electric lights in
Puerto Limon
1904 Collected in Talamanca, on the Sixiola River in southeastern Costa Rica.
1905-1906 Returned to Puerto Limon, secured work as time-keeper and assistant
manager of a United Fruit farm in Gaupiles. Later became manager of an area
farm named El Hogar
1907 Began collecting in the Terraba region of southwestern Costa Rica. Returned
to the U.S. in December

Served under W. E. Clyde Todd as assistant curator of birds for the
Carnegie Museum. Sometime during this interval he made a three-month
collecting trip with Todd to northern Canada

1909-1911 Collected in Trinidad and Venezuela, securing birds for the Carnegie
Museum and mammals for Dr. J. A. Allen at the American Museum of Natural
1911 Collected for a month on Curacao Island, then went to Santa Marta, Colombia.
He used Santa Marta as a base of operations until 1927
1912 Married Myrtle Carmelite Flye
1914 Collected in the Sierra Nevada. Ascended by way of Rio Macotama to Lake Macotama
1915 Collected in region west of Baranquilla
1916 Traveled up the Rio Magdalena to Gamarra, into the eastern cordillera of the
Andes through Sanander Norte, then south through Santander Sur to
Bucaramanga. Crossed Santander to Cucui, worked down to the lowlands of the
Rio Cassanare. Recrossed the Andes, went south to Bogota, then returned to
Santa Marta. Collected all along
1918 Collected between the mouth of the Rio Atrato and Quibdo, then down the Rio
Condoto to the Rio San Juan, then went to Buenaventura by steamer, all with
his wife, baby daughter, and two servant girls. Collected at Cordoba, Caldas,
Bitaco, La Cumbre, Cali, Manizales, and La Dorada
1922 Collected in Venezuela for the Carnegie Museum with his wife and Robert


Sold residence in Santa Marta, moved to Beachwood, New Jersey
1929 Joined staff of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, and began
an ornithological survey of Peru for them, starting in the eastern lowlands
1930, May Returned to States
1931 Returned to Lima, began collecting at La Oroya. Worked up the western
cordillera, then south along the coast, then went eastward. Returned to
1932 Returned to Peru. Started collecting on the coast near Huacho, and worked
north. Conducted extensive collecting trip in the interior. Joined for the
latter part of the trip by Radcliffe Roberts. Returned to Philadelphia
1933 Went back to Peru, collected in the north
1934, June Sent to Bolivia by the Academy, accompanied by his eldest son
Melbourne Romaine Carriker
1935, February Returned to States

Worked on collected material, producing a large report on the
Mallophaga of the Tinamous

1936, April Returned to collecting in Bolivia
1936, December Went back to States
1937, May Returned to Bolivia
1938, May Returned to States. Resigned position at the Academy
1938-1939 Worked as a carpenter in Beachwood, New Jersey
1940 Collected for four months in Veracruz, Mexico, for the U.S. National Museum
1941 Accompanied Dr. Alexander Wetmore on a collecting trip in Colombia. Was
1941-1952 Covered most of Colombia on collecting trips. Finished work for the
U.S. National Museum and retired to Colombia at the end of 1952. Continued to
publish extensively


Collected for the Peabody Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum, the
Field Museum of Natural History, and others. Became a collaborator of the
Smithsonian and did some collecting for Dr. Alexander Wetmore. Made periodic
trips to the U.S. but continued to live in Colombia. Continued to publish
1963 Married Felisa Quintano Ropero a Colombian woman who he had employed since 1945 as his cook, housekeeper and assistant in preparing bird skins.
1965, July 27 Died in Bucaramanga, Colombia
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