RECORD: Darwin, C. R. 1873. [Note on nematodes 'from the stomach of an American Ostrich at Bahia Blanca, North Patagonia, in 1832']. In Cobbold, T. S. Notes on Entozoa—Part I. [Read 10 October] Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 47 (18 November): 737.

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


[page] 737

1. FILARIA HORRIDA (Diesing).

The first number and private reference on the list of a series of parasites which I received from Mr. Darwin in August 18691 refers to a set of worms obtained by him "from the stomach of an American Ostrich at Bahia Blanca, North Patagonia, in 1832." Having already identified a similar series of Nematodes that had long lain concealed in the Museum stores of the Hunterian Collection, I had no difficulty in recognizing the species. There were, in all, ten specimens—seven females and three males. The latter were in good condition, and varied in length from 5 to 5 1/2 inches. Five of the seven females were perfect, the shortest measuring 20 inches, and the longest 29 inches, this latter worm having a breadth of exactly 1/8 inch. I may mention that one of the Hunterian specimens measured 35 inches; but examples have been referred to us extending

1 In 1869 Darwin sent Cobbold specimens of parasitic worms collected in South America in 1832. Darwin's letter was later printed in Cobbold 1886 which gave further details about the specimens. See Calendar 6858 and 6876. Thomas Spencer Cobbold, (1828-1886), physician, zoologist, and botanist who specialised in parasitic diseases. In his notes from September 1832 Darwin recorded '400 E Intestinal worm taken out of the stomach of an Ostrich' (rhea), Zoology notes, 'Specimens in Spirits of Wine', p. 333. The entire article by Cobbold, together with his drawing of Darwin's specimens, can be seen in Cobbold 1873.

[page] 738

beyond 3 feet. I believe this entozoon was first described anatomically by Prof. Owen, from the College specimens above mentioned; but the only original remarks on the subject that I have seen from his pen are some few contained in the article "Entozoa" in Dr. Todd's 'Cyclopaedia of Anatomy,' and others given in his 'Lectures on Comparative Anatomy.' From the published dates of these contributions (1839 and 1843 respectively), I am led to conclude that the first discovery of this worm actually rests with Mr. Darwin, since the late M. Diesing's specific description and nomenclature was evidently based on an examination of specimens obtained by Natterer in Brazil, the date of which would probably be about 1833, or perhaps a year later. However, as Natterer was many years previously resident in Brazil, and no special date of his particular "find" is given by Diesing, it is impossible for me to speak with certainty on this point. It is perhaps of little moment; and under any circumstances the systematist's specific title must be allowed to stand.


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Citation: John van Wyhe, editor. 2002-. The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online. (http://darwin-online.org.uk/)

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