Letter icon
Letter 5320

Darwin, C. R. to Walsh, B. D.

24 Dec [1866]

    Summary Add

  • +

    Balbiani's puzzling observations on Aphis.

Transcription

Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.

Dec 24.

My dear Sir

A copy of the Origin for you was sent on Aug 6 through Sampson Low to Scribner & Co New York; but as this copy is lost I have now ordered a new one to be sent to Messrs Bailliére New York for you. I am sorry that the first copy failed.

I have recd 2 numbers of the Practical Entomol.; the first about naturalized insects interested me greatly, & seemed very well done.

I am rather sorry that you are Editor, as I have always heard that an Editor's life is one of ceasless trouble & anxiety.

I believe the reproduction of the Ornithorhyncus is not yet thoroughly known, & recently one little bit of evidence rather favours its being oviparous.

I will send your proposal from Dr Velie to Dr Sclater Sec. Zoolog. Soc., as he is our greatest ornithologist.

With respect to Aphis you must not trust my recollection, but Balbiani has shewn that the so-called pseudo-ovum contains a peculiar cell, & this so far is certain. Lubbock finds the same in Coccus. Now this cell according to B. contains spermatic matter & fertilises the other part of the pseudo-ovum.— I have asked 2 or 3 good judges & no one knows what to think, but all agree that B. is an excellent observer. According to this view the viviparous Aphides are all hermaphrodites with the 2 sexual elements in close union, & the oviparous Aphides unisexual.

I shall be glad to receive your paper on galls—

I am tired & not well today—so no more—

Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin

    Footnotes Add

  • +
    f1 5320.f1
    The reference is to the fourth edition of Origin. CD's publisher, John Murray, had sent a copy through the publishers Sampson Low, Son & Marston to Charles Scribner & Co., New York (see letter from John Murray, 22 December [1866] and n. 2).
  • +
    f2 5320.f2
    Walsh had earlier asked CD to send the book to Baillière Bros, New York (see letter from John Murray, 22 December [1866] and n. 2).
  • +
    f3 5320.f3
    The 29 September 1866 issue of the Practical Entomologist contained Walsh's article on the naturalised gooseberry saw-fly (Walsh 1866a); CD's heavily annotated copy is in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection--CUL. The other issue has not been found.
  • +
    f4 5320.f4
    Walsh was associate editor of the Practical Entomologist. See letter from B. D. Walsh, [28 November 1866] and n. 4.
  • +
    f5 5320.f5
    Walsh had told CD of a report that the platypus (Ornithorhynchus) was not oviparous (see letter from B. D. Walsh, [28 November 1866] and n. 6). It is not known to what evidence CD refers.
  • +
    f6 5320.f6
    The references are to Jacob W. Velie and to Philip Lutley Sclater. See letter to P. L. Sclater, 24 December [1866].
  • +
    f7 5320.f7
    The section of Walsh's letter of [28 November 1866] discussing the genus Aphis is now missing, but see the letter from B. D. Walsh, 17 July 1866, and the letter to B. D. Walsh, 20 August [1866]. CD refers to Edouard-Gérard Balbiani and his study `On the reproduction and embryogeny of the Aphides' (Balbiani 1866). CD's annotated copy of the article is in his collection of unbound journals in the Darwin Library--CUL.
  • +
    f8 5320.f8
    John Lubbock had discussed two species of Coccus in a paper `On the ova and pseudova of insects' and had observed a `vitelligenous cell' containing green granules, which he did not further identify (Lubbock 1858, pp. 363--4). CD's copy of the article, in his collection of unbound journals, is uncut.
  • +
    f9 5320.f9
    See Balbiani 1866, p. 64.
  • +
    f10 5320.f10
    The reference is to Walsh 1866b (see letter from B. D. Walsh, [28 November 1866] and n. 8).
Maximized view Print letter