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Darwin Correspondence Project

From H. W. Bates   28 May 1868

Royal Geographical Society | 15, Whitehall Place, S.W.

May 28 1868

My Dear Mr Darwin

Being our Anniversary week I have been very much occupied, even my leisure hours taken up by foreign Visitors & medallists; otherwise I should have written before to tell you that I went to Janson on Saturday afternoon & looked out a few beetles for you.1 He wrote the tickets specifying name & sex, whilst I was there & I hope has fixed them to the right specimens. In Geotrupes there is scarcely any external difference between ♂ & ♀ other than a row of denticulations along the under surface of the anterior tibiæ; these tibiæ have the usual row of teeth on the outer edge in both sexes but ♂ ♂ have in addition this row of small irregular sized teeth quite underneath. I picked you two females & one ♂ of one Geotrupes; a ♂ & ♀ Geotr. Typhœus, & ♂ & ♀ Lethrus, a most extraordinary being closely allied to Geotrupes, its habits described (I think) in Kirby & Spence’s “Introduction”. Luckily I found at Janson’s both sexes of Onitis furcifer.2 He promised to try to get Chiasognathus for you.3

The Dynastidæ are remarkable for stridulating organs, their classification being founded to some extent on these organs: as an example I send you ♂ & ♀ Oryctes.4 Janson is a very good Coleopterist & a very fair dealing man; he will supply you with anything in his power.

Yours sincerely | H W Bates


The Royal Geographical Society of London had its inaugural meeting on 24 May 1830 (Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London 1 (1831): vii–xii). Bates refers to Edward Westey Janson; see letter from H. W. Bates, 20 May 1868, and letter from E. W. Janson, 25 May 1868.
For the list of beetles sent by to CD by Janson, see the letter from E. W. Janson, 25 May 1868 and nn. 5, 7, 9, and 11. Bates also probably refers to Kirby and Spence 1815–26 (An introduction to entomology: there were later editions).
See letter from E. W. Janson, 25 May 1868 and nn. 2 and 8.


He has been occupied with Royal Geographical Society anniversary meeting, but did go to Janson and selected various specimens for CD, some of which have remarkable stridulating organs.

The habits of Lethrus are found in Kirby and Spence’s Introduction [to entomology, 7th ed. (1856)].

Letter details

Letter no.
Henry Walter Bates
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
R. Geogr. Soc.
Source of text
DAR 160: 84
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6214,” accessed on 18 June 2018,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 16