I fear that you will find it difficult to experiment on diurnal lepidoptera in confinement, for I have never heard of any of these breeding in this state. (461/2. We are indebted to Mr. Bateson for the following note: "This belief does not seem to be well founded, for since Darwin's time several species of Rhopalocera (e.g. Pieris, Pararge, Caenonympha) have been successfully bred in confinement without any special difficulty; and by the use of large cages members even of strong-flying genera, such as Vanessa, have been induced to breed.") I was extremely pleased at hearing from Fritz Muller that he liked my chapter on lepidoptera in the "Descent of Man" more than any other part, excepting the chapter on morals.
LETTER 462. TO H. MULLER. Down [May, 1872].
I have now read with the greatest interest your essay, which contains a vast amount of matter quite new to me. (462/1. "Anwendung der Darwin'schen Lehre auf Bienen," "Verhandl. d. naturhist. Vereins fur preuss. Rheinld. u. Westf." 1872. References to Muller's paper occur in the second edition of the "Descent of Man.") I really have no criticisms or suggestions to offer. The perfection of the gradation in the character of bees, especially in such important parts as the mouth-organs, was altogether unknown to me. You bring out all such facts very clearly by your comparison with the corresponding organs in the allied hymenoptera. How very curious is the case of bees and wasps having acquired, independently of inheritance from a common source, the habit of building hexagonal cells and of producing sterile workers! But I have been most interested by your discussion on secondary sexual differences; I do not suppose so full an account of such differences in any other group of animals has ever been published. It delights me to find that we have independently arrived at almost exactly the same conclusion with respect to the more important points deserving investigation in relation to sexual selection. For instance, the relative number of the two sexes, the earlier emergence of the males, the laws of inheritance, etc. What an admirable illustration you give of the transference of characters acquired by one sex--namely, that of the male of Bombus possessing the pollen-collecting apparatus. Many of your facts about the differences between male and female bees are surprisingly parallel with those which occur with birds. The reading your essay has given me great confidence in the efficacy of sexual selection, and I wanted some encouragement, as extremely few naturalists in England seem inclined to believe in it. I am, however, glad to find that Prof. Weismann has some faith in this principle.
The males of Bombus follow one remarkable habit, which I think it would interest you to investigate this coming summer, and no one could do it better than you. (462/2. Mr. Darwin's observations on this curious subject were sent to Hermann Muller, and after his death were translated and published in Krause's "Gesammelte kleinere Schriften von Charles Darwin," 1887, page 84. The male bees had certain regular lines of flight at Down, as from the end of the kitchen garden to the corner of the "sand- walk," and certain regular "buzzing places" where they stopped on the wing for a moment or two. Mr. Darwin's children remember vividly the pleasure of helping in the investigation of this habit.) I have therefore enclosed a briefly and roughly drawn-up account of this habit. Should you succeed in making any observations on this subject, and if you would like to use in any way my MS. you are perfectly welcome. I could, should you hereafter wish to make any use of the facts, give them in rather fuller detail; but I think that I have given enough.
I hope that you may long have health, leisure, and inclination to do much more work as excellent as your recent essay.
2.VIII.III. EXPRESSION, 1868-1874.
LETTER 463. TO F. MULLER. Down, January 30th .
I am very much obliged for your answers, though few in number (October 5th), about expression.