From Frederick Smith 3 April 1860
3rd. April 1860
My dear Sir
I have carefully examined your Hive-bees from Jamaica1 and can detect not the slighest difference between them & A mollifica dont accept this as my final determination because I intend to have another investigation— You mentioned when here last that y〈ou〉 had a piece of honey-comb—〈or〉 had seen one—in which a beautiful gradation of enlargement in the hexagonal cells was shown—i.e. between worker cells & drone cells— I said that I had seen the same in wasp combs— at that time I was not aware that I had preserved a piece— which I will show you in which by a repeated widening of the cells laterally
in about four rows they became large enough for the Queens or females Qy—are the small Queens—alias large workers—reared in these transition cells?—
I am bothering you with my queries &c— —but exc〈use〉 me I pray.— There was a very animated discussion here 〈yes〉terday speakers— Dr. Gray. Mr W〈ollaston〉 & Mr. P〈as〉coe2—or rather outpouring of opinion respecting the apterous or subapterous 〈Bruchoi〉ds— this brought to my mind that the same thing occurs in different genera of Insects—I dont think I have pointed it out & dont know whether you have noted it in any way— I will only mention one genus in which it occurs—Pompilus I believe every gradation of abbrevation may be found between the ample winged genus Macroceris & Brachypterus brevissimis—instances also occur in Coleoptera in which the same species is sometimes winged sometimes apterous or subapterous—Example—Calathus melanocephalus—
excuse my troubling you if all this is a twice told tale | and believe me | Yours very truly | Fredk Smith
Chas. Darwin Esqre
Has studied CD’s Jamaican hive-bees and finds them identical to Apis mellifica.
Discusses the structure of wasps’ and bees’ nests
and the occurrence of winged and apterous individuals within some insect genera and species.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2744,” accessed on 23 February 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-2744