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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Lubbock   16 [March 1859]1



Dear Lubbock

Very many thanks for your most useful note: I was quite in error about aphis.—2

I shall be most truly glad to see you on Saturday if you are able to come.— If I shd. turn bad in time to let you know, I would send down, but I hope I may not.—

I have stumbled on one of my M.S. reference to paper of L. Dufour, in Annal des Sc. (3d series) Tom 3. p. 79, in which he says, (if I have not misunderstood him) that in certain degraded Diptera, the ovarian vesicle assumes the shape “ebauche”, in the ovary, of the pupa:—(p. 87) “at no time assumes the form of larva”.—3

Would you be so very kind as to look at this paper, & give me your opinion when we meet on Saturday.

Yours very truly | C. Darwin


Dated by the relationship to the letter from John Lubbock, 15 March 1859.
CD nevertheless remained doubtful about this point: see following letter and n. 5.
The ‘M.S. reference’ was a note CD had written for the chapter in his species book on laws of variation. It is transcribed in an appendix to Natural selection, pp. 573–4. In Dufour 1845, p. 79, Léon Jean Marie Dufour had stated: ‘Je répète donc que les Pupipares … ne produisent pas un véritable oeuf. Du moins la vésicule ovarienne prend dans l’ovaire même les traits ébauchés de la pupe. J’ai donc cru prudent, en parlant du premier produit de la conception, de préférer le nom d’embryon.’


Dufour, Léon. 1845. Études anatomiques et physiologiques sur les insectes diptères de la famille des Pupipares. Annales des Sciences Naturelles (Zoologie) 3d ser. 3: 49– 95.

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.


Wants JL’s opinion on paper by L. J. M. Dufour ["Études anatomiques sur les insectes diptères de la famille des pupipares", C. R. Hebd. Acad. Sci. 19 (1844): 1345–55].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Lubbock, 4th baronet and 1st Baron Avebury
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 263: 28 (EH 88206477)
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2434,” accessed on 12 September 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 7