RECORD: Darwin, C. R. 1862. Findet bei den Bienen in den verschiedenen Theilen Deutschlands ein Unterschied statt? Bienen Zeitung 18 (20 August): 145.

REVISION HISTORY: Scanned, OCRed, corrected and edited by John van Wyhe 2004-8. RN3


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Findet bei den Bienen in den verschiedenen Theilen Deutschlands ein Unterschied statt?1

Es sollte mir sehr angenehm sein, wenn Herr Pfarrer Dzierzon,2 oder ein anderer erfahrener Correspondent der Bienenzeitung, die Güte haben würde, zu erklären, ob bei den ordinären Bienen (apis mellifica), welche in den verschiedenen Gegenden Deutschlands gehalten werden, ein merklicher Unterschied stattfindet oder nicht. Ein aufmerksamer Naturforscher und Geistlicher sowohl als Gärtner behauptete vor einigen Jahren, daß gewisse Brut der Bienen kleiner sei als andere und daß in der Gemüthsart der Bienen ein Unterschied stattfinde. Dieser Geistliche erklärte ferner, daß die wilden Bienen in gewissen Wäldern Englands kleiner als die gewöhnlichen zahmen Bienen seien. Mons. Godson,3 ein gelehrter französischer Naturforscher, sagt ebenfalls, daß im Süden Frankreichs die Bienen größer als anderswo seien und daß beim Vergleich gewisser Stöcke ein geringer Unterschied in der Farbe des Haars entdeckt werden Kann.

Ich hoffe, daß einige erfahrene Beobachter, welche die Bienen in den verschiedenen Orten Deutschlands gesehen haben, darthun werden, inwieweit die vorstehenden Bemerkungen begründet sind.

Bromley, Kent, England 18/6/62.
Charles Darwin.4

1 This letter was forwarded to the Bienen Zeitung by Thomas White Woodbury, an editor of the bee section of the Journal of Horticulture, where it was first published as Darwin 1862. See Correspondence vol. 10, pp. 257-8.

English translation of this letter:

Is there a difference between the bees in different parts of Germany?

I would be most gratified, if the Reverend Dzierzon, or another experienced correspondent of Bee Newspaper, would be so good as to clarify whether or not there is a marked difference between the ordinary bees (apis mellifica) which are kept in the various regions of Germany. Several years ago an observant naturalist and clergyman, as well as a gardener, who kept bees, asserted positively that there were certain breeds of bees which were smaller than others, and differed in their tempers. The clergyman also said that the wild bees of certain forests in Nottinghamshire were smaller than the common tame bees. M. Godson, a learned French naturalist, also says that in the south of France the bees are larger than elsewhere, and that in comparing different stocks slight differences in the colour of their hairs may be detected. I have also seen it stated that the bees in Normandy are smaller than in other parts of France. I hope that some experienced observers who have seen the bees in different parts of Britain will state how far there is any truth in the foregoing remarks. In the Number of your Journal published May 15, 1860, Mr. Lowe gives a curious account of a new grey or light-coloured bee which he procured from a cottager. If this note should meet his eye I hope he will be so good as to report whether his new variety is still propagated by him.

Bromley, Kent, England 18/6/62.
Charles Darwin.

2 Jan Dzierzon (1811-1906), Polish Catholic priest in Karlsmarkt and noted beekeeper.

3 Misprint of 'Godron': Dominique Alexandre Godron (1807-1880), French botanist, zoologist and ethnologist.

4 Dzierzon's response, pp. 145-6, has not been transcribed here but is available in the image view. Darwin's query was also answered by Georg Kleine, Bienen Zeitung 18 (1862): 206-7. Both were published in English in the Journal of Horticulture n.s. 3 (1862): 463-4 and 642-3. Darwin referred to Dzierzon's response in Variation 1: 298 and to Dzierzon's remarks on bees in Darwin 1882, pp. 166, 186.

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