RECORD: Darwin, C. R. 1855. Shell rain in the Isle of Wight. Gardeners' Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette no. 44 (3 November): 726-727.

REVISION HISTORY: Scanned, OCRed, corrected and edited by John van Wyhe 2002-8, textual corrections by Sue Asscher 12.2006. RN3

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Shell Rain in the Isle of Wight (see p. 710).—I earnestly hope that "C." of Winchester1 will give some more particulars regarding the fall of shells at Osborne: Were any of the shells living? Over how wide an area did they fall? During how long a time are they believed to have fallen? At what hour and on what day? Did only one kind of shell fall? I hope "C." will forgive me for suggesting to him how very desirable it is that so extraordinary and very interesting a fact should be authenticated by the narrator's name. It is really almost a duty towards the science of natural history to do so. Were the Zua identified by any good conchologist?—this seems to me an important point. C. D., Down. [The Zua was very obligingly identified by Dr. Baird2

1 C. Winchester, foreman in the Royal Gardens at Osborne, Isle of Wight asked for the identity of shells that fell during a thunderstorm in Gardeners' Chronicle, no. 43, 27 October 1855, p. 710. The editor identified them as Zua lubrica (snails then known as Common Varnished Shells) common in northern Europe, and asked whether any correspondent could suggest where 'the Zua can have been found by the storm in sufficient quantity?' See Correspondence vol. 5, pp. 491-2.

2 William Baird (1803-1872), Scottish physician and assistant in the zoological department of the British Museum, 1841-1872.

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of the British Museum. Our correspondent's name is C. Winchester; he is the intelligent foreman in the Royal Gardens at Osborne, and will, we hope, furnish the additional information asked for.]1

1 Winchester replied in Gardeners' Chronicle, no. 45, 10 November 1855, p. 743. He stated that many were still alive, the area covered was at least 400 square yards and all were of the same type. See Correspondence vol. 5, p. 492, note 2.

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