skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

From Louis Fraser   23 July 1845

Zool. Soc. Gardens

July 23, 1845

My dear Sir

Judging from single specimens I should say than Larus hæmatorhynchus was one eighth smaller than fuliginosus1

The 3 Galapagos species of Orpheus are much duskier colored than those from the continent— The continental species vary considerably in size, some running much larger & some much smaller than those from the Archipelago. Zenaida Galapagoensis is about 15 smaller than aurita

The Totanus fuliginosus is much more dusky than any other species we have in our collection— it is much the same size as other species of the genus2

The Breeding list is in progress3 Do you require the particulars of the Hybrids

I have the honor to be | My dear Sir | Your obedient Servant | Louis Fraser


The bird specimens referred to had been presented to the Zoological Society by CD on 4 January 1837 (see Correspondence vol. 2, letter from Emily Catherine Darwin, 15 [January 1837], n. 7). Larus haematorhynchus is a synonym of Chroicocephalus scopulinus, the red-billed gull. Larus fuliginosus is a synonym of Leucophaeus fuliginosus, the lava gull.
For CD’s use of this information see Journal of researches 2d ed., pp. 378–81. Sulloway 1982 discusses CD’s collection of Galápagos birds. The genus name Orpheus is a synonym of Mimus (mockingbirds). Zenaida galapagoensis is the Galapagos dove. Totanus fuliginosus is a synonym of Tringa incana, the wandering tattler
Possibly a list of animals that had bred successfully in captivity in the Zoological Society’s gardens, see Correspondence vol. 3, Appendix IV.


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

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.

Sulloway, F. J. 1982. Darwin and his finches: the evolution of a legend. Journal of the History of Biology 15: 1–53.


Informs CD about characteristics of certain species of Galapagos birds.

Letter details

Letter no.
Louis Fraser
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Zoological Society Gardens
Source of text
DAR 164: 213
Physical description
ALS 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 893,” accessed on 1 June 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 3