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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Frederick Smith   4 April [1860]1

Down Bromley Kent

Ap. 4th

My dear Sir

I am much obliged for your note.— Whenever you have finally determined about the Bee, not that it is likely that you will find cause to change your opinion, I will carefully measure the diameter of the cells; & if, as I fully believe, they are sensibly larger, the fact will be curious. The more curious, as Reaumur thought the size so fixed, that he proposed this as a universal standard of measurements for mankind!2

Thanks for information about the genera allied to Pompilus, which I did not know.— I had heard of Calathus & wish I knew where I could obtain more special information,—viz whether all the gradations in size of wing occur in the same place, or whether the variations are local, &c &c.—

With sincere thanks for your never-failing kindness, believe me | My dear Sir | Yours sincerely | C. Darwin

P.S Waterhouse wants much to see the gradation between common & Drone cells.—3


Réaumur, René Antoine Ferchault de. 1734–42. Memoires pour servir à l’histoire des insectes. 6 vols. Paris: Imprimerie royale.


Variations in sizes of bees’ cells.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Frederick Smith
Sent from
Source of text
H. R. Glennie (private collection)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2746,” accessed on 24 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 8