An entomologist who has been staying with CD [T. V. Wollaston] says the pupa she sent would turn into a lackey moth.
Adds that the great destruction of birds in the winter preceding the last is probable cause of survival of caterpillars and resulting numerous cocoons.
My dear Miss Holland
Fortunately for my entomological credit, a first-rate Entomologist has been staying with me, to whom I showed the pupa which you sent me, & he says it would turn into one of the Lackey moths, probably the Eriogaster lanestris.— Last summer moths & butterflies abounded in an unprecedented degree, & entomologists attribute this abundance, I believe rightly, to the great destruction of birds during the winter previous to that just passed; & the scarcity of birds saved many caterpillars which otherwise would have been devoured, & hence the numerous cocoons on your Hawthorn Hedges.—
Emma demands the rest of this note, so pray believe me, dear Miss Holland, yours very sincerely | Charles Darwin
- f1 1861.f1Miss Holland has not been identified. The Darwins and Wedgwoods were related to the Holland family.
- f2 1861.f2Dated by the reference to Thomas Vernon Wollaston, who visited the Darwins from 25 to 28 April 1856 (Emma Darwin's diary).
- f3 1861.f3See n. 2, above. In the manuscript, ‘Mr Wollaston’ was interlined in a different hand, possibly Emma Darwin's, after ‘first-rate Entomologist’ and, in the same hand, ‘Eriogaster lanestris’ was written above CD's text.
- f4 1861.f4The weather in January and February 1855 had been particularly severe (see Correspondence vol. 5, letter to W. D. Fox, 19 March  and n. 7). CD refers to the large-scale destruction of birds in his garden during that winter in Origin, p. 68.
- f5 1861.f5Emma Darwin's note has been excised.