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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Francis Trevelyan Buckland   9 March 1867

Salmon Fisheries Office, | 4, Old Palace Yard, Westminster, | S.W.

March 9 | 1867.

My Dear Mr Darwin.

I have been asking all over the country for an Otter hound for you1   I was last week in Tiverton Devonshire—& made enquiries— I send you the reply from my friend a sporting parson as good a fellow as ever walked. Please return his note as I wish to put it into Land & Water of which I trust you approve2

Yours ever | Frank Buckland

When the weather gets warmer I should be so much obliged if you would come & see my Museum at the Horticultural.3 I get no help—but I copy the Salmon & will not be beaten— Read my “Crow” article in todays-paper4


In his letter of 2 October 1866 (Correspondence vol. 14), CD had asked Buckland to publish an enquiry on the webbing between the toes of the otter-hound (see also letter to Land and Water, [2 October 1866]). For a more detailed enquiry regarding the feet of otter-hounds and their swimming abilities, see Correspondence vol. 12, letter to T. C. Eyton, 29 December [1864?]. For CD’s published comments on otter-hounds, see Variation 1: 39–40.
The enclosure has not been found. A short article, ‘Otter hunting’, signed Brown Willy, was published in Land and Water, 20 July 1867, p. 652. The article included only general information on otter hunting. ‘Brown Willy’ has not been identified.
Buckland had set up an exhibit on pisciculture at the Royal Horticultural Society’s London gardens south of Kensington Gore (now occupied by the Royal Albert Hall and Imperial College); the exhibit included casts of salmon and oysters, models of fisheries, stocked ponds, and eventually a salmon run. Most of the exhibit was later moved to the nearby South Kensington Museum. See Bompas 1885, pp. 149, 153, 198, and B. Elliott 2004.
In Land and Water, 9 March 1867, p. 153, Buckland replied to a query about specimens of ‘crow oysters’ or Anomia ephippium, also known as saddle-back oysters. Buckland noted that they were not true oysters, and that A. ephippium (family Anomiidae) appeared to be replacing true oysters in some environments. He added: ‘In fact there seems to be going on a continual “struggle for existence” between the oysters and the “crows,” a point in submarine economy to which I would much like to call the attention of Mr. Darwin.’


Bompas, George C. 1885. Life of Frank Buckland. London: Smith, Elder & Co.

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Elliott, Brent. 2004. The Royal Horticultural Society: a history 1804–2004. Chichester: Phillimore & Co.

Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.


Has been hunting for an otter-hound for CD.

Hopes CD will visit his museum at the Horticultural [Society].

Letter details

Letter no.
Francis Trevelyan (Frank) Buckland
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
salmon Fisheries Office
Source of text
DAR 160: 362
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5435,” accessed on 4 December 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 15