RECORD: Darwin, C. R. [1870-1871]. Draft of Descent, [Chap. 8] folio 92. SPL-C009-3330. Edited by John van Wyhe (Darwin Online,

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by Christine Chua and edited by John van Wyhe 11.2022. RN1

NOTE: See record in the Darwin Online manuscript catalogue, enter its Identifier here. Reproduced with permission of William Huxley Darwin.

The text of the draft corresponds to Descent 1: 309.



Charles Darwin ─ The Descent of Man


This fact seem is so well established that in stocking a pond with tenches, it is always advisable advised always to place males in it two males to in the proportion of two males to one female, or at least of three males to two females.* With the minnow, an excellent observer states that on the spawning beds the males are ten times as numerous as the females: when a female comes [came] amongst the males, "she was immediately pressed closely by a male on each side; & when they have been in that situation for a time, are superseded by other two males."* (S)


In this class, the Lepidoptera alone afford any means of judging of the proportional numbers of the sexes; for they have been largely collected with special care by many good observers & have been largely bred from the egg or caterpillar state. I had hoped that some breeders of silk-worms moths might have kept an exact record, but after writing to France &

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

File last updated 10 February, 2023