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Darwin Correspondence Project

DCP-LETT-7716

From F. T. Köppen1   25 April 1871

Hochgeehrter Herr,

In Ihrem so eben erschienenen Werke über die Abstammung des Menschen war ich angenehm überrascht mich citirt zu finden; zugleich sah ich, dass das Citat über meine Heuschrecken-Beobachtungen dem Zoological Record für 1867 entnommen, meine jenen Gegenstand behandelnde Schrift aber Ihnen, hochgeehrter Herr, unbekannt geblieben ist.2 Ich erlaube mir Sie zu bitten ein Exemplar dieser Schrift, das ich zugleich mit diesem absende, entgegennehmen zu wollen.3 Es ist freilich noch manches Unreife darin enthalten, doch dürften einige dort mitgetheilte, z. Th. eigene z. Th. fremde, Beobachtungen Ihnen, hochgeehrter Herr, nicht uninteressant sein. So z. B. die ganz zu Ende mitgetheilten Notizen über den Einfluss der Baumanpflanzungen in den Südrussischen Steppen auf die Vermehrung insektenfressender Vögel und auf die Veränderung der Insekten-Fauna.4

Seit jener Zeit habe ich die einschlagenden Fragen weiter studirt und habe im vergangenen Jahre eine Arbeit über die Wanderheuschrecke in russischer Sprache publicirt, worin ich besonderes Gewicht auf die meteorologischen und klimatischen Einflüsse lege, insofern jene das frühere oder spätere Erscheinen und die Massen-Entwickelung, diese die geographische Verbreitung der Heuschrecken bedingen.—5 Was letztere betrifft, so wird in allernächster Zeit ein kurzer Aufsatz von mir über diesen Gegenstand, nebst Karte, in Petermann’s Geographischen Mittheilungen erscheinen.6

Ich erlaube mir noch, aus der besagten russischen Schrift, folgende von Hrn Döngingk in Bessarabien gemachte Beobachtung mitzutheilen.—7 Im Jahre 1861, als die Wanderheuschrecke schon mehrere Jahre hinter einander in Südrussland hauste, vermehrten sich in enormer Anzahl die Feldmäuse und die Spitzmäuse, die sich hauptsächlich von den Eiern der Heuschrecken nährten. Als aber die Wanderheuschrecke, wol in Folge von meteorologischen Einflüssen, im Herbste 1861 nur wenig Eier deponirte, warfen sich die Feldmäuse auf die Getreidehaufen, wogegen die Spitzmäuse in Massen starben. Interessant ist es, dass die Unzahl der Mäuse ihrerseits eine starke Vermehrung der Wiesel hervorrief, welche die ersteren in Menge vertilgten.

Ich bin, hochgeehrter Herr, sehr bereit auf Wunsch fernere Notizen über die Lebensweise etc. der Heuschrecken mitzutheilen und zeichne | mit der grössten Hochachtung | ganz ergebenst | Fr. Th. Köppen

Leipzig,

d. 25 April 1871.

CD annotations

1.1 In Ihrem … sein. 1.9] crossed ink
1.2 zugleich sah … Insekten-Fauna 1.11] ‘Increase of Forest in S Russia causing increase of insects & Birds see his Book’ added ink
1.9 So z. B.... Insekten-Fauna. 1.11] scored red crayon
2.1 Seit … erscheinen. 2.8] crossed ink
2.3 worin … erscheinen. 2.8] crossed pencil
3.1 Ich … vertilgten 3.10] scored red crayon; ‘The swarm of migratory Locusts in Bessarabia caused mice & [rats] to increase enormously as they fed on eggs—& consequently weasels?’ ink

Footnotes

1
For a translation of this letter, see Appendix I.
2
In Descent 1: 352, CD referred to Köppen’s ‘Ueber die Heuschrecken in Südrussland’ (On locusts in southern Russia; Köppen 1865), as summarised in the Record of Zoological Literature 4 (1867): 459–61. CD’s lightly annotated copy of the Record is in the Darwin Library–CUL.
3
There is an annotated copy of Köppen 1865 in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL. In Descent 2d ed., p. 283, CD refers directly to Köppen 1865, rather than to the Record of Zoological Literature.
4
Köppen 1865, pp. 211–14. CD annotated these pages.
5
Köppen refers to his article on locusts and related insects in Russia (Köppen 1870).
6
There is a copy of Köppen 1871 in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL.
7
In Köppen 1870, Köppen frequently refers to Döngingk as the source of his information on locusts in Bessarabia, but Döngingk has not been identified. Bessarabia, at the time a district (oblast) in Russia, is now largely in Moldova and Ukraine (Columbia gazetteer of the world).

Translation

From F. T. Köppen1   25 April 1871

Dear Sir,

I was pleasantly surprised to find myself cited in your latest work on the descent of man, which has just come out; at the same time I noticed that the reference to my observations on locusts was taken from the Zoological Record of 1867, but that my publication on that subject has remained unknown to you, dear sir.2 I venture to ask you to accept a copy of this publication, which I will post at the same time as this letter.3 Admittedly, it contains much that is undeveloped, but quite a few observations conveyed there, partly my own, partly by others, might prove to be not without interest to you, dear Sir, e.g. the notes right at the end, on the impact of the tree planting in the steppes of southern Russia on the reproduction of insectivorous birds and on the alteration of the insect fauna.4

Since then I have continued to study the crucial problems of this topic and last year I published a piece of research on migratory locusts in Russian in which I paid particular attention to meteorological and climatic influences, insofar as the former determine the earlier or later appearance and the mass-development of locusts, and the latter their geographical distribution.—5 Very soon a short essay of mine on the latter topic will come out, complete with a map, in Petermanns Geographischen Mittheilungen.6

Lastly I permit myself to quote from the Russian publication which I already mentioned the following observation by Mr Döngingk in Bessarabia.—7 In 1861, when migratory locusts had stayed in southern Russia for a number of consecutive years already, the number of field voles and shrews, both of which chiefly feed on locust eggs, increased enormously. But when the locusts, very likely due to meteorological conditions, deposited only few eggs in the autumn of 1861, the field voles threw themselves on the stacks of grain, while the shrews died in masses. Interesting enough, the immense number of mice in turn brought about a marked increase in the population of weasels, which devoured the former in large quantities.

I am, dear Sir, most willing to communicate further notes on the habits etc of locusts, if desired, and remain with the greatest respect | most devoted | Fr. Th. Köppen

Leipzig,

25 April 1871.

Footnotes

1
For a transcription of this letter in its original German, see p. QQQQ.
2
In Descent 1: 352, CD referred to Köppen’s ‘Ueber die Heuschrecken in Südrussland’ (On locusts in southern Russia; Köppen 1865), as summarised in the Record of Zoological Literature 4 (1867): 459–61. CD’s lightly annotated copy of the Record is in the Darwin Library–CUL.
3
There is an annotated copy of Köppen 1865 in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL. In Descent 2d ed., p. 283, CD refers directly to Köppen 1865, rather than to the Record of Zoological Literature.
4
Köppen 1865, pp. 211–14. CD annotated these pages.
5
Köppen refers to his article on locusts and related insects in Russia (Köppen 1870).
6
There is a copy of Köppen 1871 in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL.
7
In Köppen 1870, Köppen frequently refers to Döngingk as the source of his information on locusts in Bessarabia, but Döngingk has not been identified. Bessarabia, at the time a district (oblast) in Russia, is now largely in Moldova and Ukraine (Columbia gazetteer of the world).

Summary

Sends his paper on locusts ["Die geographische Verbreitung der Wanderheuschrecke", Petermann’s Geogr. Mittheil. (1871)]. The effect of the growth of forest land on their increase; meteorological and climatic effects.

Also observations made on increase in mice as a result of increase of locusts, on whose eggs they fed, and of increase of weasels that fed on mice.

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-7716
From
Köppen, F. T.
To
Darwin, C. R.
Sent from
Leipzig
Source of text
DAR 46.1: 102
Physical description
2pp (German) † & AdraftS 4pp (German)

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7716,” accessed on 27 July 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-7716

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