skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To Nature   11 February [1874]1

The accompanying letter, just received from Fritz Müller, in Southern Brazil, is so interesting that it appears to me well worth publishing in Nature.2 His discovery of the two sexually mature forms of Termites, and of their habits, is now published in Germany;3 nevertheless few Englishmen will have as yet seen the account.

In the German paper he justly compares, as far as function is concerned, the winged males and females of the one form, and the wingless males and females of the second form, with those plants which produce flowers of two forms, serving different ends, of which so excellent an account has lately appeared in Nature by his brother, Hermann Müller.4

The facts, also, given by Fritz Müller with respect to the stingless bees of Brazil will surprise and interest entomologists.

Charles Darwin

Feb. 11


The year is established by the date of publication of this letter in Nature.
See letter from Fritz Müller, [c. January 1874].
CD refers to the first three parts of F. Müller 1873–5, published in Jenaische Zeitschrift für Naturwissenschaft.
Hermann Müller had published five articles in a long-running series, ‘Fertilisation of flowers by insects’, in Nature (H. Müller 1873–7).


Müller, Fritz. 1873–5. Beiträge zur Kenntniss der Termiten. I. Die Geschlechtstheile der Soldaten von Calotermes. II. Die Wohnungen unserer Termiten. III. Die ‘Nymphen mit kurzen Flügelscheiden’ (Hagen), ‘nymphes de la deuxième forme’ (Lespès). Ein Sultan in seinem Harem. IV. Die Larven von Calotermes rugosus Hag. Jenaische Zeitschrift für Naturwissenschaft 7 (1871–3): 333–58, 451–63; 9 (1875): 241–64.

Müller, Hermann. 1873–7. On the fertilisation of flowers by insects and on the reciprocal adaptations of both. Nature, 3 July 1873, pp. 187–9; 10 July 1873, pp. 205–6; 25 September 1873, pp. 433–5; 20 November 1873, pp. 44–6; 1 January 1874, pp. 164–6; 18 June 1874, pp. 129–30; 12 November 1874, pp. 32–3; 10 December 1874, pp. 110–12; 31 December 1874, pp. 169–71; 20 May 1875, pp. 50–1; 8 July 1875, pp. 190–1; 13 January 1876, pp. 210–12; 10 February 1876, pp. 289–92; 22 June 1876, pp. 173–5; 8 February 1877, pp. 317–19; 29 March 1877, pp. 473–5; 11 October 1877, pp. 507–9.


Prefaces Fritz Müller’s observations on termites and stingless bees [see 9281].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
Nature, 19 February 1874, pp. 308–9
Physical description
Printed & draftS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9283,” accessed on 25 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 22