From A. R. Wallace 11 March 1
9, St. Mark’s Crescent | N.W
I return your queries but can not answer them with any certainty. For the Malays I should say Yes. to 1. 3. 8. 9. 10. & 17. and No. to 12. 13. and 16.2 but I cannot be certain in any one. But do you think these things are of much importance? I am inclined to think that if you could get good direct observations you would find some of them often differ from tribe to tribe, from island to island and sometimes from village to village. Some no doubt may be deep-seated, and would imply organic differences but can you tell beforehand which these are. I presume the Frenchman shrugs his shoulders whether he is of the Norman Breton or Gaulish stock. Would it not be a good thing to send your List of queries to some of the Bombay & Calcutta papers as there must be numbers of Indian judges & other officers who would be interested & would send you hosts of replies.
The Australian papers & N. Zealand might also publish them & then you would have a fine basis to go on.
Is your essay on Variation in Man to be a supplement to your volume on Domesticated Animals & cultivated Plants?3 I would rather see your second volume on “The Struggle for Existence &c.” for I doubt if we have a sufficiency of fair & accurate facts to do any thing with Man.4 Huxley I believe is at work upon it.5
I have been reading Murray’s volume on Geog. Dist. of Mammals. He has some good ideas here and there but is quite unable to understand Natural Selection, and makes a most absurd mess of his criticism of your views on Oceanic Islands.6
By the bye what an interesting volume the whole of your materials on that subject would I am sure make.
Yours very sincerely | Alfred R. Wallace—
P.S. I mentioned the Catterpillar question at the Ent. Soc. on Monday & think we shall have observations made this summer. Many members seemed to think that known facts favoured my view.7
Larvæ of Cucullia verbasci &c. often swarm for sp. of verbascum are very showy and conspicuous and never seem to be eaten by birds. The larvæ of Callimorpha jacobeæ, are a similar case.8
I may say when thinking of Beauty of Butterflies—beauty of Caterpillar occurred to me that anyone might say—I applied to Mr Wallace & [‘suggested’ del] gave me the following very curious suggestions, which he will investigate a peck from a bird wd be as injurious as to be eaten—have paramount importance, for caterpillar to be recognized.9—on your principle that classical writers recommended shepherds to keep white sheep-dog not to be killed for wolves.—10
The striping or banding wd follow from previously coloured marks or from differences in the tissues.
It is indisputable that very many imitate leaves &c &c— Bates in cases.— Species of acacia &c11
ARW responds to CD’s list of queries about expression. Suggests acquiring informants through publishing the queries in newspapers. His doubts about their importance.
Has submitted caterpillar question to Entomological Society.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5437,” accessed on 25 March 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-5437