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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Innes   [after 16 February 1857]1



Dear Innes

I strongly recommend you to read enclosed beginning at p. 38 to 91.—2 Von Siebold is about the most careful & profound naturalist in Europe.3 I have found in this Book some facts, such as I was enquiring from you in regard to Bees.—4

Ever yours | C. Darwin


Dated from the reference to Karl Theodor Ernst von Siebold’s work on parthenogenesis (Siebold 1856), an English translation of which (Siebold 1857) was published between 31 January and 16 February 1857 (Publishers’ Circular, 16 February 1857, p. 94). CD’s copy of Siebold 1857 is in the Darwin Library–CUL.
The page numbers refer to the chapter in Siebold 1857 entitled ‘True parthenogenesis in the honey bee’.
Siebold had been appointed Ordinarius professor of zoology and comparative anatomy at the University of Munich in 1853. He was noted for his detailed microscopical researches on invertebrates.
CD cited Siebold 1857 in his discussion of the two varieties of the common hive-bee in Natural selection, p. 372 n. 5.


Natural selection: Charles Darwin’s Natural selection: being the second part of his big species book written from 1856 to 1858. Edited by R. C. Stauffer. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1975.

Siebold, Karl Theodor Ernst von. 1856. Wahre Parthenogenesis bei Schmetterlingen und Bienen. Ein Beitrag zur Fortpflanzungsgeschichte der Thiere. Leipzig. [Vols. 7,8]

Siebold, Karl Theodor Ernst von. 1857. On a true parthenogenesis in moths and bees; a contribution to the history of reproduction in animals. Translated by William S. Dallas. London: John van Voorst.


Recommends he read passages on bees by C. T. E. von Siebold [in On the true parthenogenesis in moths and bees (1857)].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Brodie Innes
Sent from
Source of text
American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.149)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2025,” accessed on 8 August 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 6