From Frederick Smith 30 April 1859
30th April. 1859.
My dear Sir
In answer to your queries I may first observe that I have watched the colonies of F. sanguinea carefully in the beginning of May—about the middle of June & in the middle of August—the greatest number of slaves I have found 〈(〉more than once) at the latter 〈per〉iod—but I never observed any Slave-Ant either issue from or enter the nest—1 I have seen them repeatedly carried in in their perfect condition—and once in the larvæ & pupæ state— I have frequently watched them in the morning—ie before 10 oclock—as at that hour the sun got round and shone on the South when the ants disappeared—and again came forth in the afternoon about 〈 〉 o-clock
I have been induced from my own observations to consider them—Household-Slaves—which perform some drudgery in the nest—2 You are at perfect liberty 〈to〉 quote the results of my imperfect observations—but I know that it only at intervals when certain observations can be made.—3
〈I〉 only discovered Stylops in 〈An〉drena 〈nigro〉-œneae —this bee is plentiful about London and elsewhere— I have examined hundreds in the hope of seeing it Stylopized—but until the present month on Good Friday—I never took that species infested—4 I think our F. sanguinea is Hu〈ber’s〉 surely Nylander— Foerster Myer or Schenck—who have so industriously collected the European Sps must have taken the allied Sps if any existed—5
Yours sincerely | Fredk Smith C. Darwin Esq
Reports his observations on the habits of slave-making ants (Formica sanguinea).
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2456,” accessed on 5 December 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-2456