To C. S. Bate 29 November 1
Down Bromley Kent
My dear Sir
Mr Lubbock2 told me yesterday of a fact, observed, I believe, by a friend of yours, which interests me particularly; & I shd. be extremely much obliged if you could get me a little more information on the subject, namely the act of cross impregnation in some Balanus.—3
The points on which I so much wish for more information, are.— Which was the species; if not known could I see a specimen of the kind. Was the probosciformed penis inserted into more than one individual? For about how long time was it inserted? Was it inserted deeply & at which end of valves? Especially did the recipient individual continue during the time exserting its cirri? Did it keep its opercular valves widely open for the reception of the organ? I am anxious to know whether the recipient was a willing agent or adulterer, or whether it was a case of rape by act.— If the recipient was in full vigour, I think it wd be impossible to insert anything without its consent. Were the specimens under water at time?4 Who was the observer that I might quote his authority.
I hope you will kindly forgive all this trouble, for I am really very anxious on this point— Perhaps the simplest plan wd. be to forward this note to your friend & back up my request.
I have been very glad to notice what famous progress you are making in your Researches.—5
Yours sincerely | C. Darwin
Asking for specific information about reproduction in barnacles.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2175F,” accessed on 30 April 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-2175F
Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 24 (Supplement)