1932

Abstract

Charles Darwin first became interested in entomology during his childhood, and this interest grew into a beetle-collecting obsession during his college days. Following the voyage of the , his focus on insects shifted from collecting specimens to searching for insect observations that supported his theory of natural selection as proposed in . Initially, Darwin believed that entomologists were opposed to his views. Using Darwin's correspondence, I show that his perception was based, in part, on three reviews, including one that he erroneously attributed to an entomological critic, and that not all entomologists were opposed to his ideas. Henry Walter Bates, discoverer of Batesian mimicry, voiced his support of Darwin in his papers and during meetings of the (now Royal) Entomological Society. In America, entomologist Benjamin D. Walsh wrote to Darwin in 1864, expressing his support and promising to counter any anti-Darwinian attack, and by 1868, Darwin was enjoying significant entomological support on both sides of the Atlantic. After his death in 1882, Darwin's supporters gained influence in Britain and the United States, completing entomology's shift to a Darwinian perspective.

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/content/journals/10.1146/annurev.ento.53.103106.093436
2008-01-07
2024-06-23
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  • Article Type: Review Article
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