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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Sven Lovén   12 November 1849

Down Farnborough Kent

Nov. 12. 1849


I hope that your kindness & well-known zeal for Natural History will induce you to forgive the liberty I take in writing to you.—

I have for some time been employed on a monograph, anatomical & systematic on the recent & fossil Cirripedia.— My materials are good, having the collection of the British Museum, Jardin des Plantes & many private collections including those of Cuming, Agassiz, & Aug. Gould of the United States &c.— I also collected many species in my Voyage round the world in H.M.S. Beagle. I am anxious to make my monograph, as perfect as I can by industry.

I have read a short, but most interesting paper by you on the Alepas squalicola.1 You would confer the greatest possible favour & kindness on me if you could spare me a specimen,2 in order that I might examine into some points not referred to by you.— I have dissected two species of Alepas, & it is certain that your A. squalicola must form a new genus; if you will give me a generic name, I will quote it as your suggestion.3 If you can so far oblige me, the specimen had better be sent thus directed.

C. Darwin Esq 7. Park St Grosvenor SquareLondon

You cannot imagine how grateful I should feel for a specimen.—

Not knowing certainly your address, I have enclosed this to Prof: Forchammer of Copenhagen, who is kindly going to send me specimens.—4

I beg to remain Sir, with feelings of the highest admiration for your labours in Natural History, | Your obedient servant | Charles Darwin

My address for a letter is given at the head of this note.


Lovén 1844, which had been translated for CD by Mary Elizabeth Lyell (see letters to M. E. Lyell, [24 October 1849], and to Charles Lyell, [1 November 1849]).
Apparently CD did not receive a specimen from Lovén, perhaps because Johannes Japetus Smith Steenstrup had already included an Alepas squalicola in the specimens he sent to CD (see letters to J. G. Forchhammer, 1 December [1849], and to J. J. S. Steenstrup, 30 December [1849]). After examining specimens of this cirripede, a parasite on sharks of the North Sea , CD revised his opinion of its classification (see letter to J. J. S. Steenstrup, 25 January [1850]). He instituted a new genus, Anelasma, for its reception. In Living Cirripedia (1851): 170, he explained his decision: According to the principles of classification which I have followed, this cirripede cannot possibly remain in Alepas, and must form a new genus; for some time, indeed, I thought that a new family or sub-family ought to have been instituted for its reception; but when I considered its highly peculiar characters are all negative … and that no new or greatly modified functional organ is present, I concluded that it might properly remain amongst the Lepadidae.
There is no evidence that the name CD used, Anelasma squalicola, came from Lovén.


Living Cirripedia (1851): A monograph of the sub-class Cirripedia, with figures of all the species. The Lepadidæ; or, pedunculated cirripedes. By Charles Darwin. London: Ray Society. 1851.

Lovén, Sven. 1844. Ny art af Cirripedia [Alepas squalicola]. Öfversigt af Kongelige VetenskapsAkademiens Foärhandlingar 1: 192–4.


To make his monograph on cirripedes complete, would appreciate a specimen of Alepas squalicola, which CD is sure is a new genus.

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1269,” accessed on 18 January 2022,

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