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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Edward A. Smith   [11–31 March 1868]1

Mr. Smith—

Woodcuts to serve merely to show general difference between sexes: must be neatly executed & finished.—2

Chiasognathus Grantii.— fig. of male, reduced to half or third nat. size   Head & thorax of female equally reduced.3

Bledius Taurus— male magnified twice or if necessary thrice: head & thorax of female equally magnified.— Viewed laterally & rather obliquely.—4

Please observe, that figures ought to be reduced (or magnified) as much as is compatible with perfect distinctly of Horns.

In each case male & female, in female the head, thorax & base of elytra sufficient.— Figures lateral, seen a little obliquely from above.—in following order.— about size of figure I must trust to your judgment. Please mark in each case how much reduced.— The Beetles must be neatly shaded; & the legs arranged naturally.

Chalcosoma atlas ♂ & ♀5

Dynastes Hercules do reduced6

Dipelicus Cantori do

Onthophagus rangifer do (magnified to match other figures)

Copris Isidis ♂ ♀

Phanæus hastifer ♂ ♀ {reduced}7

Attend particularly to degree of development of rudiments of Horns in the females of the latter species.


(Crabro cribrarius, male & front part of female.)8

(Taphroderes distortus   Male magnified & Head & thorax of female.)9

(Pneumora male & female)10

4 Chester Place | Regents Park. N.W.


The date range is established by the return address and by the relationship between this letter, the letter to H. W. Bates, 11 February [1868], and the letter from H. W. Bates, 26 February 1868 (Correspondence vol. 16). CD stayed at 4 Chester Place, London, the house of Sarah Elizabeth Wedgwood, Emma Darwin’s sister, from 11 to 31 March 1868. Sarah moved to Down later in 1868 (Emma Darwin (1915) 2: 189.
Smith made several drawings of Coleoptera for Descent. CD had asked the entomologist Henry Walter Bates for suggestions of good insect species to engrave (see Correspondence vol. 16, letter to H. W. Bates, 11 February [1868]).
Illustrations by Smith of Chiasognathus grantii appeared in Descent 1: 377. CD had collected specimens of this beetle from the island of Chiloe while on the Beagle voyage (see Transactions of the Entomological Society of London 2 (1837): xli).
For the illustrations of Bledius taurus (now B. furcatus), shown from the side, see Descent 1: 374.
For illustrations of Chalcosoma atlas (the atlas beetle), see Descent 1: 368.
Dynastes hercules (the Hercules beetle) is not illustrated in Descent.
Images of Dipelicus cantori and Onthophagus rangifer appear in Descent 1: 369. Copris isidis (now Heliocopris gigas) is also figured (ibid.). Phanaeus hastifer is now Sulcophanaeus leander; P. lancifer (which might be what CD meant; see CD annotations) is now Coprophanaeus lancifer. Phanaeus faunus (now Sulcophanaeus faunus) is illustrated (ibid.). CD noted that there was little difference in horn development in the sexes of P. lancifer (ibid., p. 370).
Illustrations of Crabro cribrarius (the slender-bodied digger wasp) appear in Descent 1: 343.
Images of Taphroderes distortus appear in Descent 1: 344. For more on the genus Taphroderes, see Correspondence vol. 16, letter from C. O. Waterhouse, 19 February 1868.
Illustrations of an unidentified species of Pneumora (bladder grasshoppers) appear in Descent 1: 358.


Instructions for woodcuts showing sexual differences in beetles, for Descent.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Edgar Albert Smith
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 81: 94–5
Physical description
AL 4pp †(by CD)

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7052,” accessed on 4 August 2020,

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