skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To Japetus Steenstrup   16 October [1851]

Down Farnborough Kent

Oct. 16th.

My dear Sir

I beg to thank you most sincerely for your magnificent group of your Xenobalanus globicipitis. It so happens that I received a year ago some specimens taken from off a Porpoise north of Madeira,1 & was particularly interested in making out the same affinity to Coronula, as you specify.— From its affinity, also, to Tubicinella, I had called it in M.S. Siphonicella, & unfortunately have so referred to it in my volume going through the press, & in Lyells anniversary address to the Geolog. Soc. of London published last year.2 But as my name was not accompanied with a description, (only its affinities being mentioned) it has no authority. Will you kindly inform me soon where your name Xenobalanus is published,3 that I may put this name in the Corrigenda to my volume?—4

I am, also, much obliged for Reinhardts Paper on the Lithotrya;5 unfortunately I cannot read it, but the Plate is so good that it tells its own story, & first led me to understand the process of boring in Lithotrya.—6

You will, I hope, before this have received back all your valuable fossil specimens. Believe, I shall always feel grateful for the kind confidence you have reposed in me. As soon as my volume is published I will send you a Copy.—7

With sincere respect | Yours faithfully & obliged | Charles Darwin

May I present some of the specimens of the XenoBalanus to the British Museum?


These specimens were sent to CD by Richard Thomas Lowe, chaplain on Madeira (Living Cirripedia (1854): 439).
Living Cirripedia (1851): 156 n. Charles Lyell referred to CD’s new genus of Siphonicella in C. Lyell 1851b, p. lxvii.
Steenstrup’s first published description of Xenobalanus globicipitis was given at the end of a paper on another topic (Steenstrup 1851, p. 62) and included a plate. He evidently sent this to CD for it is cited in Living Cirripedia (1854): 440. Steenstrup gave a full description of the new species in Steenstrup 1852.
In the corrigenda and addenda in Living Cirripedia (1851): xii, CD stated: ‘I now find that this species has been called, by Professor Steenstrup, Xenobalanus globicipitis.’ In Living Cirripedia (1854): 438, CD used Steenstrup’s name for the genus, giving his own name, Siphonicella, as a synonym.
Reinhardt 1850, published in Danish in the same journal as Steenstrup 1851 (see n. 3, above).
CD had previously corresponded with Albany Hancock concerning the boring powers of Lithotrya (see Correspondence vol. 4, letters to A. Hancock, 29 September [1849], [29–30 October 1849], 25 December [1849], and [26 January – March 1850]). CD believed that the basal scales in the peduncle of this genus were adapted for mechanical burrowing. See Living Cirripedia (1851): 336–8, 344–8. CD referred at length to Reinhardt 1850 on p. 346 n., pointing out that his and Johannes Theodor Reinhardt’s view of the means of burrowing were essentially the same.
CD here refers to Living Cirripedia (1851), not Fossil Cirripedia (1851), which he had already sent to Steenstrup (letter to J. J. S. Steenstrup, 9 September [1851]).


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

Fossil Cirripedia (1851): A monograph on the fossil Lepadidæ, or, pedunculated cirripedes of Great Britain. By Charles Darwin. London: Palaeontographical Society. 1851.

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.

Living Cirripedia (1854): A monograph of the sub-class Cirripedia, with figures of all the species. The Balanidæ (or sessile cirripedes); the Verrucidæ, etc. By Charles Darwin. London: Ray Society. 1854.

Reinhardt, Johannes Theodor. 1850. Om slægten Lithotryas Evne til at bore sig ind i Steenblokke. Videnskabelige Meddelelser fra den naturhistoriske Forening i Kjae9nbenhavn, pp. 1–8.

Steenstrup, Johannes Japetus Smith. 1852. Om Xenobalanus globicipitis, en ny Cirriped- Slægt af Coronulafamilien. Videnskabelige Meddelelser fra den naturhistoriske Forening i Kjae9nbenhavn, pp. 62–4.


Thanks him for specimens of Xenobalanus. Discusses systematic relations of the genus.

Comments on paper by J. T. Reinhardt ["Om slaegten Lithotryas", Vidensk. Medd. Naturhist. Foren. Kjobenhavn 2 (1850): 1–8].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Johannes Japetus Smith (Japetus) Steenstrup
Sent from
Source of text
Det Kongelige Bibliotek, Copenhagen (NKS 3460 4to)
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1459,” accessed on 9 August 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 5