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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Raphael Meldola   17 April 1878

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

April 17/78

My dear Sir

I shd. be very much obliged if you could get some one to name the photographs of the enclosed insect & read the enclosed letter.1 It seems a pretty, but I think not new case of protective resemblance. One might fancy that the large ocelli on the under wings were a sexual ornament.— Perhaps these photographs might be worth exhibiting at the Entomolog. Soc.—2 I do not want them returned (unless indeed Dr Zacharias wants them back, which is not probable) or the enclosed letter. A single word with the name of the genus & if possible of the species, would suffice.—

Pray forgive my troubling you & believe me yours faithfully | Ch. Darwin

I am glad that F. Müllers letter interested you.3 He has published a paper with plates on the shape of the hairs or scales on the odoriferous glands of many Butterflies, which I cd. send you, but I doubt whether you wd. care for it.—4


The photographs and enclosed letter have not been found.
Meldola exhibited the photographs at a meeting of the Entomological Society of London held on 5 June 1878. The photographs had been sent to CD by Otto Zacharias. The wings of the insects resembled leaves. (Transactions of the Entomological Society of London (Proceedings) (1878): xxiv.)
CD had sent the letter from Fritz Müller, 20 February 1878, to Meldola (see letter to Raphael Meldola, 27 March [1878]). Meldola’s letter on the subject has not been found.
Müller described the glands in his article ‘Ueber Haarpinsel, Filzflecke und ähnliche Gebilde auf den Flügeln männlicher Schmetterlinge’ (On hair-tufts, felted spots and similar structures on the wings of male butterflies; F. Müller 1877b). CD’s lightly annotated copy is in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL.


Would like to have some insect photographs identified; they seem to show pretty and new case of protective resemblance.

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 11478,” accessed on 24 March 2023,