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Darwin Correspondence Project

From C. S. Bate   3 March 1868

My dear Sir

Many thanks to you for your kindness in sending to me a copy of your new work on—The variation of animals under domestic treatment1 After reading the chapter on Dog’s I thought that you might like to know that Dr Leach2 at one time had a tame wolf that followed him about & once in Paris waited for three hours for him at the entrance of the Jardin des Plantes, where dogs were not admitted— I stated this in a short memoir of Dr Leach’s life in Knight Biographical dictionary,3 on the authority of Mr Prideaux4 of Plymouth an old & intimate friend of Leach’s

Since writing to you last I had a letter from Dr Power who has collected crustacea largely in the Mauritius & in reply to my enquiry he says that he endeavoured to determine sexes by color but failed except in the instance of one species of Squilla—5

Again thanking you for your kindness | Believe me | Yours very sincerely | C. Spence Bate

Plymouth | March 3— 1868

CD annotations

1.1 Many thanks … Leach’s 1.7] crossed pencil
2.1 Since] opening square bracket pencil
Top of letter: ‘Crustacea’ pencil in square brackets pencil ‘Sexual | Dr Power’ pencil
Verso of last page: ‘The following case, however, relating to *a species of G [above del ‘a sp’] G. & account to [‘to’ del] me by F. M. seems clear.6 [‘This genus’ del] The’ ink


Bate was on CD’s presentation list for the second printing of Variation (see Correspondence vol. 16, Appendix IV).
William Elford Leach.
Charles Knight was the principal publisher for the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. The ‘Biographical dictionary’ was started under the society’s auspices, but after producing seven volumes on the letter ‘A’ and suffering heavy financial loss, the society was dissolved in 1846 (DNB s.v. Knight, Charles). Bate’s memoir of Leach was therefore never published.
Wilmot Horton Trevor Power was an assistant surgeon in the army, serving in Mauritius (Army list). Squilla is a genus of the order Stomatopoda. In Descent 1: 335, CD cited Power’s description of colour dimorphism in a species which was identified as probably S. stylifera (now Hemisquilla californiensis or H. ensigera). The locality (Mauritius) and colour of the species discussed, however, suggest that it was Odontodactylus scyllarus, a species which superficially resembles S. stylifera, has red appendages, and is sexually dimorphic, with males bright green and females mottled brownish (Shane Ahyong (Australian Museum, Sydney), personal communication).
CD’s annotation refers to Fritz Müller’s account of colour differences in male and female Gelasimus (fiddler crabs, now Uca) in Brazil (see Correspondence vol. 15, letter from Fritz Müller 1 April 1867, and Descent 1: 336). The species Müller described was probably U. leptodactyla (see Crane 1975, pp. 304–7 for a detailed description and synonymy).


Army list: The army list. London: printed for the compiler of the annual official army list; Her Majesty’s Stationery Office. 1815–1900.

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

Crane, Jocelyn. 1975. Fiddler crabs of the world (Ocypodidae: genus Uca). Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.

Descent: The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1871.

DNB: Dictionary of national biography. Edited by Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee. 63 vols. and 2 supplements (6 vols.). London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1912. Dictionary of national biography 1912–90. Edited by H. W. C. Davis et al. 9 vols. London: Oxford University Press. 1927–96.

Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.


Quotes information from Dr Power on colour of sexes of Crustacea in Mauritius [see Descent 1: 335].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Spence Bate
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 82: A65–6
Physical description
3pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5973,” accessed on 27 October 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 16