RECORD: Darwin, C. R. 6.1833. 'Insecta June'. [Beagle insect notes]. CUL-DAR29.1.C1. Transcribed by Kees Rookmaaker. Edited by John van Wyhe (Darwin Online,

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed and edited by Kees Rookmaaker, checked by John van Wyhe 8.2009. RN1

NOTE: Page 1 was transcribed on pp. 41-43 in: Smith, Kenneth G. V. 1987. Darwin's insects: Charles Darwin's entomological notes, with an introduction and comments by Kenneth G. V. Smith. Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History) Historical Series. vol. 14(1): 1-143. Text

Reproduced with permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library and William Huxley Darwin.


1833. Insecta. June (iv)

The following facts I have noticed at Monte Video (610 or 328) and frequently in this place:— After a heavy thunder storm in a little pool in a court-yard which had only existed at most seven hours. — I observed the surface strewed over with black specks: these were collected in groups, and precisely resembled pinches of gunpowder dropped in different parts on the surface of the puddle. These specks are Insects of a dark leaden colour; the younger ones being red.— Viewed through a microscope, they were continually crawling over each other and the surface of the water; on the hand they possessed a slight jumping motion. — The numbers on each pool were immense: and every puddle possessed some of the pinches . . . What are they? and how produced in such countless myriads? We have seen their birth is effected in a short time, and their life, from the drying of the puddles can not be of a much longer duration.1

[continued in CUL-DAR29.1.C2]

1 This document is in Syms Covington's handwriting. Smith in Darwin's insects notes: "My colleague Peter Lawrence concurs with me that these are Collembola and points out that one of the common names for Collembola, other than springtails, is gunpowder mites!"

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