A Mouthful of Beetle

This cartoon of Charles Darwin riding a giant beetle was drawn by one of his friends and fellow beetle enthusiasts, Albert Way, in Cambridge in 1832.

While a student at Cambridge University, Darwin became a fanatical collector of beetles. In a letter to his friend Leonard Jenyns of 1846 he recalls the following episode:

I must tell you what happened to me on the banks of the Cam in my early entomological days; under a piece of bark I found two carabi (I forget which) & caught one in each hand, when lo & behold I saw a sacred Panagæus crux major; I could not bear to give up either of my Carabi, & to lose Panagæus was out of the question, so that in despair I gently seized one of the carabi between my teeth, when to my unspeakable disgust & pain the little inconsiderate beast squirted his acid down my throat & I lost both Carabi & Panagus!

See the Darwin Correspondence Project.

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