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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Rudolf Albert von Kölliker   18 April [1870]1

Down. | Beckenham | Kent. S.E.

Apr 18th

My dear Profr. Kölliker

I sent off by Rail some specimen of Virgularia, on Saturday, but I fear they are in a very bad state.2 I cannot find my dried specimens. I now enclose my notes, which I fear will be of little use, but I think may be relied on.—3

I also enclose a memorandum for Prof. Semper; but pray tell him they are only such notes as a school-boy might make.— The specimen may not be worth his examination.—4

I think it possible that Alcide d’Orbigny may have given name of Virgularia patagonicaQQQQ.—5

It was very good of you to take the trouble to pay me a visit, & I enjoyed much making your acquaintance.—6

Pray believe me | Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin

In my old notes I have inter-polated only one new remark between (        )


The year is established by the reference to Kölliker’s visit to Down (see n. 6, below).
Virgularia is a member of the order Pennatulacea, sea pens.
CD may refer to his zoological notes from the Beagle voyage; see DAR 30: 106–11 (R. D. Keynes ed. 2000, pp. 96–100).
CD refers to Karl Gottfried Semper. The notes and specimen have not been identified.
CD discussed Virgularia patagonica (now considered a ‘nomen nudem’, that is, invalid because the name is based on lost or inadequate specimens) in Journal of researches 2d ed., pp. 99–100. He refers to Alcide Charles Victor Dessalines d’Orbigny.
Kölliker visited Down on 15 April 1870 (see letters from Albert Günther, [c. 9 April 1870] and 12 April 1870).


Journal of researches 2d ed.: Journal of researches into the natural history and geology of the countries visited during the voyage of HMS Beagle round the world, under the command of Capt. FitzRoy RN. 2d edition, corrected, with additions. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1845.


Has sent off specimens of Virgularia but fears they are in bad state. He could not find his dried specimens. Encloses notes that can be relied upon but may be of little use.

Also encloses a memorandum for Prof. K. G. Semper.

CD thinks Alcide d’Orbigny may have given name of Virgularia pectagonica.

CD enjoyed RAvK’s recent visit [see 7164].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Rudolf Albert von Kölliker
Sent from
Source of text
John Gittleman (private collection)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7166A,” accessed on 24 February 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 18