Has been interested in copy of HD's letter to H. T. Stainton on numerical proportions of the sexes of insects. Do they vary during different years?
Does he have opinions about the courtships of butterflies?
Will send a copy of his paper on Primula when it is published. [See 5997.]
Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.
My dear Sir
Have you ever observed any marked difference in the numbers of the sexes during different years,—the males one season being in excess & the females during another, or conversely.—
Can you throw any light on the courtship of Butterflies: I think I
have seen several males pursuing one female; now does the female
favour one, or does the strongest male drive away the others; or is
it, as D
Perhaps you will remember having kindly sent me living specimens of Primula elatior; at last I have found time to draw up for Linn. Soc. an account of some observations on their powers of reproduction. It is as good a species as any in the world.— I will send you a copy of my paper whenever it is published.—
Pray believe me | My Dear Sir | Yours very faithfully | Charles Darwin
My address for next 10 days will be 6. Queen Anne St. | Cavendish
- f1 5966a.f1The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from H. T. Stainton, 29 February 1868.
- f2 5966a.f2Henry Tibbats Stainton had enclosed a copy of a letter from Doubleday with his letter of 29 February 1868.
- f3 5966a.f3See letter from H. T. Stainton, 29 February 1868.
- f4 5966a.f4Alexander Wallace had written two letters to CD discussing sex ratios in silk moths, but he had not argued that a collector would be more likely to choose female caterpillars (see letters from Alexander Wallace, 25 February 1868 and 28 February 1868). In a letter of 14 March 1868, Wallace corrected CD on this point.
- f5 5966a.f5In his letter of 25 February 1868, Wallace had described female moths of Bombyx cynthia (now Samia cynthia) as passive and receptive to the first male that appeared.
- f6 5966a.f6Doubleday had first called CD's attention to the existence of a form of oxlip (Primula elatior, the Bardfield oxlip) distinct from the common oxlip in 1860, and had supplied him with seedlings (see Correspondence vol. 8, letter from Henry Doubleday, 3 May 1860, and `Specific difference in Primula', p. 449). CD's crossing experiments established that P. elatior was a distinct species and not a hybrid form. CD's paper, `Specific difference in Primula', was read on 19 March 1868, and published in the 23 June 1868 issue of the Journal of the Linnean Society (Botany).
- f7 5966a.f7CD arrived at the house of his brother, Erasmus Alvey Darwin, on 3 March 1868, then stayed at Sarah Elizabeth Wedgwood's house at 4 Chester Place, London, from 11 March, returning home on 1 April (see `Journal' (Correspondence vol. 16, Appendix II)).