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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Frederick Smith   12 March 1878

Down, | Beckenham, Kent. | Railway Station | Orpington. S.E.R.

March 12 1878

My dear Mr Smith,

I have thought that the enclosed specimens might interest you. As far as my ignorance permits me to judge, the great difference in the casts of workers seems very curious; & some of Mrs Treats observations on their habits.1 She has done some good work with plants.2 I do not want either the specimens or note returned. Should the facts be sufficiently new, I do not doubt that she would be much gratified by your mentioning the fact before the Entomological Society.3

Yours sincerely | Charles Darwin


No letter from Mary Treat about the ant specimens has been found. Treat later wrote on the anatomy and behaviour of harvesting ants (Treat 1879).
CD had corresponded with Treat about insectivorous plants (see Correspondence vols. 19–24); he cited her published work on Drosera filiformis (thread-leaved sundew) and Utricularia (bladderwort) in Insectivorous plants, pp. 281 and 408.
Smith was a member of the Entomological Society of London.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Insectivorous plants. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1875.

Treat, Mary. 1879. Chapters on ants. New York: Harper & Brothers.


Sends FS some specimens of harvesting ants along with the observations of their habits made by Mary Treat. If the facts are new, he believes that Mrs Treat would be gratified by their being mentioned before the Entomological Society. [See 11422.]

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Frederick Smith
Sent from
Source of text
Viscount Boyd of Merton (private collection)
Physical description
LS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 11418A,” accessed on 16 June 2024,