skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. J. Weir   1 May 1875

Down, | Beckenham, Kent. | Railway Station | Orpington. S.E.R.

May 1st 1875

My dear Sir

I have had a letter from Prof. Weismann who is much interested in your experiments on birds not eating gaudy caterpillars.—1 He wishes much to know whether you have tried any other experiments since those published in the Ent. Transactions? Will you kindly inform me soon, & whether you know of similar ones performed by other observers.2 Those by Riley of U. States seemed to me the best.—3

Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin

Footnotes

August Weismann’s letter to CD has not been found, but for Weismann’s interest in Weir’s observations on caterpillars, see CD’s comments in his letter to August Weismann, 1 and 4 May 1875.
Weir’s reply to CD’s query has not been found, but a part of it was copied out by CD in his letter to August Weismann, 1 and 4 May 1875. Weir had published two papers in the Transactions of the Entomological Society of London on the colour and edibility (to birds) of Lepidoptera and their larvae (Weir 1869 and Weir 1870).
Charles Valentine Riley, state entomologist of Missouri, had noted that birds avoided eating brightly coloured caterpillars (Riley 1869–77, 3: 134).

Bibliography

Riley, Charles Valentine. 1869–77. Annual reports on the noxious, beneficial, and other, insects of the State of Missouri. Jefferson City, Mo.: Regan & Edwards, public printer [and others].

Weir, John Jenner. 1869. On insects and insectivorous birds; and especially on the relation between the colour and the edibility of Lepidoptera and their larvae. [Read 1 March 1869.] Transactions of the Entomological Society of London (1869): 21–6.

Weir, John Jenner. 1870. Further observations on the relation between the colour and the edibility of Lepidoptera and their larvae. [Read 4 July 1870.] Transactions of the Entomological Society of London (1870): 337–9.

Summary

August Weismann is interested in JJW’s experiments on birds and the caterpillars they eat.

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-9962
From
Charles Robert Darwin
To
John Jenner Weir
Sent from
Down
Source of text
American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.468)
Physical description
1p

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9962,” accessed on 5 April 2020, https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/DCP-LETT-9962.xml

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 23

letter