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Darwin Correspondence Project

To M. A. T. Whitby   14 October [1847]

Down Farnborough | Kent

Oct 14th

Dear Madam

I am extremely much obliged by your kindness in sending me so capital a suite of male & female specimens. I am surprised at their not being a marked difference in the size of their wings:1 what you tell me of the wings of the female being smaller than those of the male, in their early growth is quite new to me.2 I hope to get a friend to enquire how these facts are with the species in India.3

I am sincerely grateful for your kind promise to make further observations, on the points which interest me next summer.

Pray believe me, dear Madam | Yours truly obliged | C. Darwin


See letter to M. A. T. Whitby, 2 September [1847], for CD’s interest in variation in the moths raised from silkworms.
Cited in Variation 1: 303. Mrs Whitby’s letter has not been found.


Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.


Thanks for a suite of male and female specimens of Lepidoptera. Lack of difference in size of wings surprises CD; the female’s being smaller than male’s in early growth is new to him. Will ask a friend in India for comparable facts.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Mary Anne Theresa Whitby
Sent from
Source of text
Lehigh University Libraries Special Collections (Honeyman Collection)
Physical description
ALS 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1128,” accessed on 18 May 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 4