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Darwin Correspondence Project

From C. W. Thomson   30 June 1877

Bonsyde | Linlithgow, N.B.

June 30th. 1877—

My dear Sir,

I heard from M. Hoek about the Pycnogonida and your note has of course decided me to send them to him—1 He will be rather surprised when he sees them for some are about 2 feet across!—

Might I ask you to take the trouble to write me a line whether you think I might also offer him the Cirripeds?—2 Or perhaps you might suggest someone else for them—

I have a difficulty about the Crustacea— there are many very normal new species, and a good many abnormal and very interesting deep-sea things—but on the whole the description of them will be a dry and lengthy task. Prof: Claus will not undertake the drudgery of the ordinary Decapods and will restrict himself to the Schizopods and such closely allied things as Nebalia—and to larval forms. I wished of course to get G. O. Sars but he is too much engaged at home.3 The British Museum people urge me to send the whole to Mr. Miers but I fear I should only get something in the style of a Brit: Mus: catalogue

The catalogue of the Crustacea of New Zealand seems to me to be excessively meagre and bald—4 Perhaps you would kindly give me your advice— It is possible that A. Milne Edwards might undertake them or Buchholz who did the German arctic forms but I would rather not send them abroad if I could help it.5

Thank you and my other friends very heartily for your kind defence in ‘Nature’.6

Believe me | yours very truly | C. Wyville Thomson


See letter from P. P. C. Hoek to C. W. Thomson, 25 June 1877. CD’s letter to Thomson has not been found. Pycnogonida is a class of marine arthropods (sea spiders).
Hoek wrote reports on the Pycnogonida and the Cirripedia collected by the Challenger expedition (Hoek 1881, 1883, and 1884).
Carl Friedrich Claus did not produce a report on the Challenger Crustacea. The Schizopoda were described by Georg Ossian Sars, professor of zoology at Oslo (Sars 1885). Species of Nebalia, a large genus in the order Leptostraca, were described in the report on Phyllocarida, also by Sars (Sars 1887). Decapods, an order in the class Malacostraca, were described in the report on Amphipoda by Thomas Roscoe Rede Stebbing (Stebbing 1888).
Edward John Miers, assistant in the zoological department of the British Museum, produced Catalogue of the stalk- and sessile-eyed Crustacea of New Zealand (Miers 1876). He wrote the Challenger report on Brachyura (Miers 1886).
Reinhold Wilhelm Buchholz had described the Crustacea collected by the German Arctic expedition of 1869–70 (Buchholz 1874); he had died in 1876.
CD had signed a memorial printed in Nature, 14 June 1877, pp. 117–19, supporting Thomson’s decision to assign some of the Challenger specimens to foreign zoologists (see letter from P. L. Sclater, 2 June 1877).


Wants CD’s advice on who would undertake describing the Crustacea from the Challenger expedition [1872–6].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Wyville Thomson
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 178: 115
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 11026,” accessed on 18 June 2018,