# To Albert Günther   25 February 1874

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

Feb 25 1874

My dear Dr Günther

I have given, in my Descent, vol. 2. p. 12, an account from you of the curious brushes on the sides of the 2 sexes of Monacanthus.1 Now you no doubt will have seen an acct in the American Naturalist (1871 p. 119) of the brush-like scales with which the males alone of Mallotus villosus are provided, by which apparently 2 males hold the female during the act of spawning.2

Now will you be so kind as to tell me to what families the Monacanthus & Mallotus belong; that is, whether they are allied? Am I right in supposing that the use of the brush-like males is the same in these 2 genera?

I shd be very much obliged for any information & remain | yours sincerely | Ch. Darwin

It seems that with many Cyprinidæ two males attend on one female; what an odd anomaly this seems to be.—3

## Footnotes

Monacanthus is the genus of file-fishes; CD had discussed the brushes in the context of sexual differences.
The unsigned note, ‘Spawning of the capelin’, appeared in American Naturalist 5 (1871): 119–20. It is scored in CD’s copy in the unbound journals collection in the Darwin Archive–CUL.
Cyprinidae is the family of carp and minnows. CD had mentioned this behaviour in Descent 1: 308–9.

## Bibliography

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

## Summary

Has given in Descent 2: 12, an account from AG of the brushes on the sides of Monacanthus; has now learned of brush-like scales on the males of Mallotus. Asks whether the two genera are related.

## Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-9315
From
Charles Robert Darwin
To
Albrecht Carl Ludwig Gotthilf (Albert) Günther
Sent from
Down
Source of text
Shrewsbury School, Taylor Library (38)
Physical description
3pp