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Letter 1330

Darwin, C. R. to Steenstrup, J. J. S.

20 May [1850]

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    Describes progress in illustration of fossil cirripede specimens. Thanks for answers to questions. Comments on hermaphroditism. Describes his discovery of parasitic male cirripedes.

Transcription

Down Farnborough Kent

May 20th

My dear Sir

I thank you very sincerely for your last letter which answered all my long list of questions quite fully & satisfactorily. Mr J. Sowerby (the author of Min: Conch:) is now drawing your specimens; but from having his hands very full of work he is, I am sorry to say, much delayed: for my own sake I do all I can to urge on his progress. I wait with eargerness to receive your northern Cirripedes & remarks: I am now at work on the Genus Balanus & very difficult I find it, as many species are quite undistinguishable by any one external character. I thank you much for the drawing of Lithotrya: I think I may have the same species from Timor: but the manner of boring here indicated is quite new to me.

I have heard of your work on Hermaphroditism, but have not seen it, though I have long wished to do so; for on merely hypothetical grounds I have always thought Hermaphroditism improbable. Alas I cannot read Danish at all, & German with extreme difficulty. How much shame does your perfect English cause me!— You will perhaps be interested by hearing that I once found a Balanus which had had its probosciform organ cut off & healed absolutely imperforate, & yet the ova had been impregnated & contained larvæ; some of the neighbouring individuals in the cluster having certainly impregnated these ova. I have two cases of bisexual cirripedes, the male differing considerably from the female & being parasitic within the sack of the female.

Pray believe me With feelings of much respect & gratitude, | Your's sincerely | C. Darwin

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 1330.f1
    See letter to J. J. S. Steenstrup, 3 April [1850].
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    f2 1330.f2
    See letter to Robert Fitch, [28 January 1850], n. 4.
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    f3 1330.f3
    Lithotrya nicobarica. For its manner of boring, see Living Cirripedia (1851): 336–47.
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    f4 1330.f4
    Steenstrup 1845a. In Living Cirripedia (1851): 55 n., CD referred to Steenstrup 1846 and thanked George Busk for providing him with an English translation from the German. He recorded having read this work on 28 November 1850 (DAR 119; Correspondence vol. 4, Appendix IV).
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    f5 1330.f5
    Living Cirripedia (1854): 271. CD doubted that animal hermaphrodites fertilised themselves; he believed cross-fertilisation was necessary between two such organisms (see Natural selection, pp. 42–6). His work on the sexual relationships of cirripedes was critical in establishing this belief (ibid., pp. 44–5).
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    f6 1330.f6
    See the description of specimens of Balanus balanoides from Tenby, South Wales (Living Cirripedia (1854): 101–2).
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    f7 1330.f7
    Ibla cumingii and Scalpellum ornatum (Living Cirripedia (1851): 189–203, 248–53).
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