RECORD: Darwin, C. R. 1880. [Letter on purportedly carnivorous bees]. In Packard, A. S. Jr. Moths entrapped by an Asclepiad plant (Physianthus) and killed by honey bees. The American Naturalist 14 (1) (January): 48-51.

REVISION HISTORY: OCRed, corrected and edited by John van Wyhe 7.2007. RN1

[page] 48

[Only Darwin's letter to Alpheus Spring Packard (1839-1905), American zoologist, entomologist and founder of the American Naturalist, 1867, is transcribed below (p. 50). The complete article is available in the image view.]

[page] 49

[page] 50

We have also received the following letter from Mr. Darwin, dated Down, Beckenham, Kent, Nov. 23d. [1879] "I never heard of bees being in any way carnivorous, and the fact is to me incredible. Is it possible that the bees opened the bodies of the Plusia to suck the nectar contained in their stomachs? Such a degree of reason would require repeated confirmation and would be very wonderful. I hope that you or some one will attend to the subject."1

1 Calendar 12333. Reprinted in Botanical Gazette 5, no. 2 (February): 17-20.

[page] 51

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Citation: John van Wyhe, editor. 2002-. The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online. (

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