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Darwin Correspondence Project

From John Gwyn Jeffreys   7 September 1851


7th. Septr. 1851

My dear Sir,

I have to return you my thanks for your obliging letter of the 31st ult.1 which I received on my return home.

It will give me much pleasure if the notes & specimens of Cirripedia, which I sent you are of any use to you in the preparation of your work2 which is not only much needed but will by all accounts be far superior to any which has yet been published on the subject both as respects the soft parts and metamorphoses of these interesting creatures as also their shells or calcareo-crustaceous coverings. The notes are entirely at your service as I shall not want them The specimens may be sent to Messrs. Holme & Co.3 No 10 New Inn when you have quite done with them—

I will now endeavour to answer your queries seriatim

1st. I send you a more readable & intelligible label as to what I consider the Balanus Balanoides of Risso.4 The specimens which I sent you form part of Mr. Wm. Clark’s collection,5 mixed with specimens of the Bal. crenatus6 and marked “Exmouth”. I never found the kind myself and I do not think it ought to be introduced as British on such meagre authority.

2nd. The B. Spongicola7 were dredged in the coralline zone at Exmouth on triassic sandstone I have it from the same place on Pecten opercularis as well as from Plymouth: you are welcome to one of my specimens.

3rd. The small Balanus which you name B. Improvisus8 on Rostellaria Pes Pelicani as well as those on Pecten Niveus were dredged by me in about 20 fathoms water in Loch Shieldaig—Rossshire—

5 I have taken B. Sulcatus9 at Exmouth & Plymouth, and believe it to be common to all our coasts.

I agree with you as to the inconvenience of burdening your work with synonymes & the extreme difficulty of making them out but as it will give a fresh starting point I think Naturalists might expect the Synonyms to be elucidated and given although not repeated ie. not to give every synonym in every hitherto published work but only those which are distinct. This however will be left to your better judgment.10

Believe me to remain dear Sir | Yours sincerely | J. G. J. Charles Darwin Esqe. | Down | Farnborough

P.S. I shall feel obliged by your labelling my specimens with the name you intend to adopt or use, if it does not give you too much trouble—


The letter has not been found.
In the preface to Living Cirripedia (1851): vii, CD wrote: ‘The well-known conchologist, Mr. J. G. Jeffreys, has sent for my examination a very fine collection of British specimens, together with a copious MS. list of synonyms, with the authorities quoted.’
The firm of Holme, Loftus, and Young, solicitors at 10 New Inn, Strand, London (Post Office London directory 1851).
Balanus balanoides Risso is listed as a synonym of B. amphitrite in Living Cirripedia (1854): 240.
William Clark of Exmouth. He contributed many articles to the Annals and Magazine of Natural History between 1830 and 1850, particularly on molluscs. CD also considered that B. amphitrite was not found in British waters (see Living Cirripedia (1854): 241).
Balanus crenatus is described in Living Cirripedia (1854): 261–8. In the section ‘Range, habits, &c.’, Jeffreys’s collection is cited as containing a specimen from ‘forty-five fathoms’.
Balanus spongicola is described in Living Cirripedia (1854): 225–6. Jeffreys’s specimen was the largest CD examined, ‘.6 of an inch in basal diameter.’
Balanus improvisus (Living Cirripedia (1854): 250–3). Jeffreys’s specimen is mentioned on p. 252.
Balanus sulcatus was given as a synonym for B. porcatus (Living Cirripedia (1854): 256). This cirripede is generally found on the coasts of Scotland and Ireland. CD recorded that: ‘Mr. Jeffreys, who knows this species well, has found it common on the extreme southern shores of England’ (ibid., p. 258).
In the introduction to Living Cirripedia (1854): 2, CD stated: ‘I have given much fewer synonyms than is usual in conchological works; for it is impossible to recognise with any approach to certainty, several even of the common European forms, in the short descriptions given by most authors’.


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.

Post Office London directory: Post-Office annual directory. … A list of the principal merchants, traders of eminence, &c. in the cities of London and Westminster, the borough of Southwark, and parts adjacent … general and special information relating to the Post Office. Post Office London directory. London: His Majesty’s Postmaster-General [and others]. 1802–1967.


Has sent CD some cirripedes and notes which he hopes will be of use. Gives details of occurrence and source of some of the specimens.

Letter details

Letter no.
John Gwyn Jeffreys
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
D. Gwyn Jeffreys (private collection)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1452,” accessed on 28 September 2021,

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