To Albert Günther 21 September 1869
Down. | Beckenham | Kent. S.E.
Sep. 21 1869
My dear Dr Günther
I am going to beg, I hope for the last time, a great deal of assistance from you. I enclose a whole string of queries, but most of these may be answered by a few words written after them. My only excuse for troubling you so much is that four-fifths of the facts which I give, are quoted from you & your works.1 To save you as much trouble as possible, I enclose an envelope directed.
In the second place, you most kindly offered to help me about illustrations.2 I now enclose a list somewhat different from my original one.3 Will you look it over, as some of the drawings cannot be made, unless you can supply the specimens. Mr Ford4 wd do the drawings incomparably better than any one else; but if his time is taken up with more important & original work, could you find any other artist who wd make accurate & neatly finished drawings. If Mr Ford cd pledge himself to complete the drawings within 2 months, this wd do; otherwise I must search for some one else, but this wd be a grievous loss to me. I am not quite certain when I shall go to press, for it depends upon whether I shall add another subject, & this I cannot at present decide;5 but I shd so much regret being delayed by the want of the drawings, that I must get them done within the time specified. It will be a real kindness if you will assist me on this head.
Pray forgive me for asking so many favours & | believe me | yours sincerely obliged | Ch. Darwin
Queries for Dr Günther
(1) In my notes from yr conversation I speak of the dorsal fin of Mollienesia Petenensis as occellated with bright spots;; but you in the Zoolog. Trans. merely speak of a “row of large rounded spots” Which of these is correct?6
(2) Agassiz writes to me that certain chromids, as Pomotis, Hygrogonus &c sit on their nest; do you happen to know whether it is the male, or the female, or indifferently both sexes, which thus sit?7
(3) I understood you to say that the female of Solenostoma is brighter coloured than the male; is this the case, for you do not say so in the Fishes of Zanzibar?8 Do you believe Kaup’s statement that the males have marsupial sacks & carry the eggs?9 What must I say on this head?
(4) Is it known whether any Lizards utter any sound during their courtship?
(5) You gave me cases, with Lizards, of the dorsal crest being confined to the males; & other cases in which the crest was larger in the males than in the female;10 Now are there other cases in which the dorsal crest is equally developed in both sexes?
(6) Chamælio bifurcus.11 What is its native Country? Is it brightly coloured, especially the projections on the head of the male?
(7) Chamælio owenii.12 What is its native Country? Is it brightly coloured?
Has the female any rudiment of the triple horn? Is the horn in the male flexible or rigid?
Is the triple horn formed by the modification of one or more scales?
(8) Can you remember whether any amphibian or reptile is marked with true ocelli of bright colours; that is a spot of colour surrounded by a ring of another colour?
(9) With Lizards are the males generally or often or rarely larger than the females?
Sends a list of queries for AG.
Asks whether AG can supply specimens for illustrations [for Descent]. Hopes Mr Ford will do the drawings.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6903,” accessed on 12 February 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-6903