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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Albany Hancock   25 February [1853]

Down Farnborough, Kent,

Feb. 25th.

My dear Sir,

Whenever you have a few minutes leisure I should be very much obliged for answers to two questions, if you can answer them. (1) At what depth is Alcippe found?1 (2) At about what date was the shell taken which you sent me in spirits with all the specimens of Alcippe. I want to know, because most of the males were well filled with spermatozoa.2 I fear I wrote to you at too great length in my former letter.3

Pray believe me, | Yours very truly obliged, | Charles Darwin.

The dried specimens you sent me by post lately, swarmed with males, but all too dry and shrivelled to do much good with.


According to CD’s description in Living Cirripedia (1854): 530, Alcippe specimens were taken by Hancock at depths of 15 to 20 fathoms.
CD apparently sought to establish how the short-lived complemental males could detect the proper period when the female ova are ready for impregnation (Living Cirripedia (1854): 561).


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.


Asks at what depth Alcippe is found and on what date the shell with Alcippe specimens that AH sent was taken.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Albany Hancock
Sent from
Source of text
J. Hancock 1886, p. 275

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1504,” accessed on 20 April 2024,

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