skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

From Osbert Salvin   30 October 1871

32, Grove, Boltons. S.W.

30 Oct. 1871

My dear Mr Darwin,

The Prion has reached me safely and I am glad to hear it has been of use to you.1

I have sent you today to Orpington Station a skin of Merganetta and one of Aix sponsa2   The latter appears to have the tongue still in & you will observe that soft lamellæ stand out on each side. These may serve to clean the maxillary lamellæ instead of the lower mandibular series which are very feebly developed. I should like to have the specimens you mention in your last letter if of no further service to yourself. They will doubtless help someday to a better classification of the Anatidæ.

If the beaks of the two specimens I now send are moderately soaked in warm water you will be better able to see into the mouth & no harm will come to the skins.—

Should the beak of Aix indicate any peculiar habits, there are plenty of living specimens in the Zoological Gardens which Mr Bartlett might examine.3

Very truly yours | Osbert Salvin.


See letter to Osbert Salvin, 25 October [1871]. The genus Prion is now Pachyptila.
See letter to Osbert Salvin, 25 October [1871] and n. 3. Aix sponsa is the wood duck; CD mentioned it in Origin 6th ed., p. 185.
Abraham Dee Bartlett was the superintendent of the Zoological Gardens, Regent’s Park, London.


Origin 6th ed.: The origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. 6th edition, with additions and corrections. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1872.


Sends CD some more ducks’ skins so that he can examine the lamellae.

Letter details

Letter no.
Osbert Salvin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 177: 25
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8035,” accessed on 24 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 19