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Darwin Correspondence Project

From P. P. C. Hoek to C. W. Thomson   25 June 1877


In your letter to Dr. Martin Duncan (Nature June 14) I find the list of naturalists, whose aid has been obtained for the different groups of animals, collected in the Expedition of the Challenger.1

In your “general sketch of the arrangements, as they now stand” a small group of Arthropoda, the Pycnogonida or Pantoproda (Crustacea or Arachnida?) has been omitted.2 Yet I think to be sure they will be abundantly represented in your collections: Prof. Sars got up large numbers of these curious animals, during the norwegian north-sea expedition of 76.3

I don’t know, if there is one of your country-men zoologists, who nowadays can be considered an authority on this group (Since {Hodge} 1864 as far as I know nothing has been published in England on Pycnogonida);4 nor can I call myself an authority only having published on Pycnogonida the small memoir, of which I have the honour to send you a copy.5

Therefore it would be rather arrogant, when I did ask you to be joined to the list of English and foreign celebrities, who all got parts of the collections; yet it would make me so very happy, (1) when you would like to trust me with part of the collected Pycnogonida (duplicates) and (2) when you would be so kind to communicate to me the name of the naturalist, who will be selected in this small but interesting department.6

Believe me Sir! most respectfully | your obedient Servant | P. P. C. Hoek

Flushing. Zoological Station of the Netherlands Zoological Society. June 25 1877.

To Sir C. Wyville Thompson. F.R.S. etc.


Thomson’s letter to Peter Martin Duncan was published in Nature, 14 June 1877, pp. 118–19. Thomson had been criticised by Duncan for assigning some of the Challenger specimens to foreign zoologists (see letter from P. L. Sclater, 2 June 1877).
Pycnogonida is a class of marine arthropods (sea spiders, also called Pantopoda or pycnogonids). In modern systematics, Pycnogonida is the class and Pantopoda is an order within it (Waloszek and Dunlop 2002).
Georg Ossian Sars, professor of zoology at Oslo, published descriptions of the Pycnogonida that had been collected on the Norwegian North-Atlantic Expedition in 1876 (Sars 1877; see Christiansen 1993, p. 146).
George Hodge had described the British species of Pycnogonida in Hodge 1864.
Hoek sent a copy of this letter to CD, who wrote to Thomson supporting Hoek’s request for duplicate specimens (see letter from Francis Darwin to P. P. C. Hoek [c. 24 June 1877], and letter from C. W. Thomson, 30 June 1877).


Christiansen, Merit E. 1993. Georg Ossian Sars (1837–1927), the great carcinologist of Norway. In History of carcinology, edited by Frank Truesdale. Rotterdam: A. A. Balkema.

Hodge, George. 1864. List of the British Pycnogonoidea, with descriptions of several new species. Transactions of the Tyneside Naturalists’ Field Club 6: 195–9.

Hoek, Paulus Peronius Cato. 1877. Ueber Pycnogoniden. Niederländisches Archiv für Zoologie 3 (1876–7): 235–54.

Sars, Georg Ossian. 1877. Prodromus descriptionis crustaceorum et pycnogonidarum, quæ in expeditione norvegica anno 1876, observavit. Archiv for Mathematik og Naturvidenskab 2: 337–71.


Requests duplicates of [H. M. S.] Challenger Pycnogonidae.

Letter details

Letter no.
Paulus Peronius Cato Hoek
Charles Wyville Thomson
Sent from
Netherlands Zoological Society Station
Source of text
DAR 166: 228
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 11016,” accessed on 15 June 2021,