John Treadwell Nichols

John Treadwell Nichols (June 11, 1883 – November 10, 1958) was an American ichthyologist and ornithologist.

Not to be confused with John Nichols (writer) (b. 1940) who is sometimes credited as John Treadwell Nichols.
John Treadwell Nichols
Born(1883-06-11)June 11, 1883
DiedNovember 10, 1958(1958-11-10) (aged 75)
Alma materHarvard College
Spouse(s)Cornelia DuBois Floyd
Scientific career
FieldsIchthyology, ornithology
InstitutionsAmerican Museum of Natural History

Life and career

Nichols was born in Jamaica Plain, Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Mary Blake (Slocum) and John White Treadwell Nichols.[1] In 1906 he studied vertebrate zoology at Harvard College, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (AB). In 1907 he joined the American Museum of Natural History as assistant in the department of mammalogy. In 1913 he founded Copeia, the official journal of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists.[2] In 1916 he described the long lost Bermuda petrel together with Louis Leon Arthur Mowbray who first sighted this bird within a flock of other petrels in 1906 on Castle Island, Bermuda 45 years before it was officially rediscovered by Mowbray's son Louis.[3] He also described the fish genus Bajacalifornia. He also worked with a team of scientists from the American Museum of Natural History during the Jersey Shore shark attacks of 1916. From 1913 to 1952 he was first assistant curator, then associate curator in charge, and finally curator in the Department of Ichthyology at the American Museum of Natural History.

Nichols wrote 1,000 articles and several books (mostly about fish but also about birds), and he made many expeditions around the world.

He was married to Cornelia DuBois Floyd (October 24, 1882 – December 1977), granddaughter of U.S. Representative from New York John G. Floyd.

Nichols died in Garden City, New York.[4] His grandchildren are novelist John Nichols and politician William Weld.[5][6]


Nichols is honored in the scientific names of two species of reptiles: Dipsas nicholsi and Sphaerodactylus nicholsi.[7]

Works (selected)

  • Fishes in the Vicinity of New York City (1918)
  • The Freshwater Fishes of China (1943)
  • Field book of Fresh-water Fishes of North America North of Mexico
  • Marine Fishes of New York and Southern New England
  • Fishes and Shells of the Pacific World (1945)
  • Representative North American Fresh-water Fishes (1942)


  1. Batchelder, Charles Foster (1937). An account of the Nuttall Ornithological Club, 1873 to 1919. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Nuttall Ornithological Club. p. 99.
  2. American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists – Beginnings Archived 2009-11-24 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. Louis Leon Arthur Mowbray Archived 2011-07-06 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. Amadon, Dean (1971). "John Treadwell Nichols". The Auk 88 (2): 477–480.
  5. Biography John Nichols.
  6. Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore, Maryland: Johns Hopkins University Press. iii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. ("Nichols", p. 190).

Further reading

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