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Darwin Correspondence Project

To C. S. Bate   18 August [1851]

Down, Farnborough. Kent.

Aug 18th.

My dear Sir.

On my return home after 10 days absence I found your last obliging present of the larvæ,1 & your note had been lying here, & I have since been unwell & much engaged, which must plead my excuse for not having sooner answered your note. I have this morning carefully looked with my 18 glass at the larvæ (& beautiful specimens they are) but I cannot see the transverse articulation referred to.2 I observe that the carapace is often ruptured at the two corners in the line in question, & hence there would probably be a tendency for a fold to be then formed— I certainly do not believe in an articulation3 I send the more important synonyms as far as I have made them out, but I am not a good person to apply to, for I think the number of synonyms often given in works of Nat. History a downright evil & to be avoided— In cirripedia it is impossible in most cases to know what species are referred to in the short published descriptions— I feel pretty certain of the few given. With respect to Chthamalus, I cannot help you for I have not yet worked out the genus—4 I believe the British Species has been named by Italian Naturalists— If you call it the B. punctatus of Montagu5 & not the B. balanoides—I should think would suffice.

Smith & Beck of 6 Colman St City, assure me that the Asphalte which they sell in 1s bottles is better than Gold size for the purpose, I mentioned to you,6 I have got a bottle but have not yet tried it. [DIAGRAM HERE]

I see in the probosciformed mouth of the larva, apparently within it small tubular (a) organ; this would be worth your looking after, if you can get a laterally crushed specimen so that the proboscis projects.

With respect to Ellis’ Paper as it is before Binomial system—I have not troubled myself about it, as I follow Rules of Brit Assoc:7

Pray believe me | My dear Sir. | Yours sincerely. | C. Darwin.


Bate had earlier sent CD drawings of the second leg of the larvae of Balanus balanoides (see letter to C. S. Bate, 13 June [1851]). He now provided him with actual specimens, possibly of Chthamalus stellatus, as described in Living Cirripedia (1854): 104.
CD refers to the large segment seen by Henry D. S. Goodsir in a later stage of larval development in Balanus balanoides and claimed by him to support the first pair of legs (Goodsir 1843, p. 98). CD had advised Bate to compare his own figures with those given by Goodsir, noting points of difference (see letter to Edward Forbes, [1 May – 5 June 1851]).
Bate agreed with CD that there was no separate segment for the first pair of legs, stating: ‘That a line across may sometimes be seen in the dead animals, I am aware; but the fact of its position being not always persistent has induced me to attribute the appearance to an accidental fold in the tunic of the animal, originating in the roughness of manipulation in mounting the specimens.’ (Bate 1851, p. 328). See also Living Cirripedia (1854): 104, where, in his description of the first-stage larva, CD stated: ‘the body exhibits no distinct articulations; those given by Goodsir being certainly erroneous.’
CD did not begin his systematic work on the sessile Cirripedia, including Chthamalus, until 1852 (‘Journal’; Correspondence vol. 5, Appendix I).
Bate followed CD’s advice: Chthamalus depressus (?) was identified as the Balanus punctatus of George Montagu (Bate 1851, p. 325). In Living Cirripedia (1854): 493, CD considered Balanus punctatus to be Chthamalus stellatus. The ‘Italian Naturalists’ were Giuseppi Saverio Poli and Camillo Ranzani.
In the letter to C. S. Bate, 13 June [1851], CD described his method of preserving specimens and recommended gold size as a cement for attaching the cover slip to the slide. Smith and Beck were dealers in microscopic equipment from whom CD had obtained both his compound and dissecting microscopes (see Correspondence vol. 4, letters to W. B. Carpenter, [January? 1847], and to Richard Owen, [26 March 1848]).
Ellis 1758 was published in the same year as the first volume (‘Animalia’) of the tenth edition of Linnaeus’s Systema naturæ in which the binomial system of nomenclature was first used (Linnaeus 1758–9). The Rules of the British Association for the Advancement of Science (Strickland et al 1842) stipulated that names of species used before the establishment of the binomial system were without authority. The published rules, however, specified the twelfth edition (1766–8), the last one edited by Linnaeus, as the reference text. CD consulted Hugh Strickland, a member of the committee on nomenclature on which CD had also served, about this point and was assured that the tenth edition was the correct one (Living Cirripedia (1851): x). The British Association Rules of Nomenclature, however, continued to specify the twelfth edition (see Strickland 1863).


Bate, Charles Spence. 1851. On the development of the Cirripedia. Annals and Magazine of Natural History 2d ser. 8: 324–32.

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Ellis, John. 1758. An account of several rare species of barnacles. In a letter to Mr Isaac Romilly, F.R.S. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London 50: 845–55.

Goodsir, Henry D. S. 1843. On the sexes, organs of reproduction, and mode of development, of the cirripeds. Account of the Maidre of the fishermen, and descriptions of some new species of crustaceans. Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal 35: 88–104.

Linnaeus, Carolus (Carl von Linné). 1758–9. Systema naturæ per regna tria naturæ, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. 10th edition. 2 vols. Stockholm: Laurentius Salvius.

Living Cirripedia (1851): A monograph of the sub-class Cirripedia, with figures of all the species. The Lepadidæ; or, pedunculated cirripedes. By Charles Darwin. London: Ray Society. 1851.

Living Cirripedia (1854): A monograph of the sub-class Cirripedia, with figures of all the species. The Balanidæ (or sessile cirripedes); the Verrucidæ, etc. By Charles Darwin. London: Ray Society. 1854.

Strickland, Hugh Edwin, et al. 1863. Rules for zoological nomenclature . . . authorised by section D of British Association at Manchester, 1842. Edinburgh: British Association for the Advancement of Science.


Thanks CSB for cirripede larvae.

Has been unwell.

Cannot see transverse articulation referred to and does not believe in it.

Sends species synonyms.

Discussion of Chthamalinae.

Suggests using asphalt to seal specimen containers.

Comments on mouth of larva.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Charles Spence Bate
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 143: 45
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1345,” accessed on 24 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 5