To Miss Holland1 [May 1856]2
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.—3 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;4 & 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,5 so pray believe me, dear Miss Holland, yours very sincerely | Charles Darwin
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.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1861,” accessed on 30 April 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-1861