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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. E. Gray   7 April 1871


My dear Darwin

I do not know if the following observations are new to you as an instance of great difference between ♂—♀ and great variation in the ♂ and statiblity in the female

Lemur Macaco Linn

female only lately brought to Europe as far as we know is always Brown with, white whiskers1

L Lecomystax Bartlett P.Z.S2

Males except when pure white all over always have the Head hands & feet. Tail underside of Body and limbs, Black, Nape and ring round base of tail white. The of the fur is Red Chesnut, Reddis Grey or pure white in all the intermediate shades. The White backed variety sometime has a black patch on each houlder and on the front of the thighs   The patches vary in size in different Specimens, sometimes very large, even so large as make the entire animal black L niger Geof3

Ever your sincerly | J E Gray

CD annotations

Top of letter: ‘Variability of colour in ♂ Lemur, & stability of colour in ♀’ pencil


CD had published observations of male and female Lemur macaco in Descent 2: 290. Lemur macaco is now Eulemur macaco.
The Lemur leucomystax described by Abraham Dee Bartlett in the Proceedings of the Zoological Society (A. D. Bartlett 1862), is now considered to be the female of Eulemur macaco.
Lemur niger is also a synonym for Eulemur macaco.


Bartlett, Abraham Dee. 1862. Description of a new species of lemur. [Read 9 December 1862.] Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London (1862): 347.

Descent: The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1871.


Sexual differences in coloration in Lemur macaco.

Letter details

Letter no.
John Edward Gray
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 88: 98
Physical description
ALS 2pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7663,” accessed on 21 July 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 19