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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Frederick Smith   28 June 1862

Brit Museum

June 28th. 1862.

My dear Sir

I have seen Mr. Walker this morng. and he gives me the names of the two species—⁠⟨⁠Tetr⁠⟩⁠astichus Diaphantus and the little fellow with dark fasciæ on ⁠⟨⁠the⁠⟩⁠ wings is Coleothrips fasciata1 Many thanks for the Volume on the Fertilization of Orchis which I have just received—2 what ⁠⟨⁠a⁠⟩⁠ most interesting subject. I ⁠⟨⁠    ⁠⟩⁠ just had from the ⁠⟨⁠Journal⁠⟩⁠

believe me | Yours very Sincerely | Fredk Smith

CD annotations

1.2 Diaphantus] ‘this is the common one’ interl ink
Top of page: ‘Hymenoptera caught on Musk Orchis’ ink 3 *S1 !alignleft!CD note:4 *S2 *Mr. Waterhouse [circled ink]5 This is minute Beetle with pollinia of Musk Orchis—


The reference is to the entomologist Francis Walker (see letter from Frederick Smith, 27 June [1862]). See also n. 3, below. Coleothrips fasciata is a synonym of Aeolothrips fasciatus, the banded-wing thrips. Tetrastichus diaphantus is a synonym of Baryscapus diaphantus.
The names of Frederick Smith and Francis Walker are both on CD’s presentation list for Orchids (see Correspondence vol. 10, Appendix IV).
George Howard Darwin had recently begun observing, on his father’s behalf, the insects that entered the flower of the green musk orchis, Herminium monorchis (see CD’s notes of these observations, dated 22–7 June 1862, in DAR 70: 32–6; see also DAR 70: 31, 37). CD reported George’s findings in the German translation of Orchids (Bronn trans. 1862, pp. 47–8 n.; see the second enclosure to the letter to H. G. Bronn, 30 June [1862]). He later published them in ‘Fertilization of orchids’, p. 145 (Collected papers 2: 142), stating that Tetrastichus diaphantus was the most common of the minute Hymenoptera that visited H. monorchis, and that the Hymenoptera identified in the paper had all been named for him ‘by our highest authority, Mr. Frederick Smith’ (‘Fertilization of orchids’, p. 142; Collected papers 2: 139).
CD’s note is on a scrap of paper that was pinned to the letter.
CD probably refers to the entomologist, George Robert Waterhouse, who was keeper of the geology department at the British Museum.


Collected papers: The collected papers of Charles Darwin. Edited by Paul H. Barrett. 2 vols. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press. 1977.

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

‘Fertilization of orchids’: Notes on the fertilization of orchids. By Charles Darwin. Annals and Magazine of Natural History 4th ser. 4 (1869): 141–59. [Collected papers 2: 138–56.]

Orchids: On the various contrivances by which British and foreign orchids are fertilised by insects, and on the good effects of intercrossing. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1862.


Has seen Francis Walker, who has identified CD’s two Hymenoptera species ["caught in Musk Orchis" – CD note].

Letter details

Letter no.
Frederick Smith
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
British Museum
Source of text
DAR 177: 195
Physical description
ALS 1p damaged †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3625,” accessed on 7 June 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 10