There are many plants and animals named for the naturalist Charles Darwin, such as Darwin's Frog (Rhinoderma darwinii), but which were named by him? I'm finding it difficult to find such a list.

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    $\begingroup$ I haven't found a list of species named by him, but an article of species named after him. They list some 301 different animals in it. A few where probably named after him for findeing them (he collected vast numbers of them and sent them back to London) but others where named to honor him. You can find the list here. $\endgroup$
    – Chris
    Commented Aug 3, 2014 at 7:17
  • $\begingroup$ Darwin described adaptive radiation by describing small, dark birds in Australia. Those birds are known as Darwin's finches. $\endgroup$
    – Shamayeta
    Commented Aug 4, 2014 at 2:51
  • $\begingroup$ Lets not forget the Galapagos Finches and other species described in "Voyage of the Beagle". $\endgroup$
    – shigeta
    Commented Aug 4, 2014 at 14:43

2 Answers 2


I don't know if these are his earliest descriptions but Darwin did describe several species of Planaria, such as Planaria vaginuloides, P. oceania, plus a new genus, Diplanaria in 1844.

Darwin, C. R. 1844. Brief descriptions of several terrestrial planariæ, and of some remarkable marine species, with an account of their habits. Annals and Magazine of Natural History 14 (October): 241-251, 1 plate.

Perhaps his best known taxonomic work is on barnacles (Cirripedia). He described several species in his monograph first monograph on the group.

Darwin, C. R. 1851 [=1852]. A monograph of the sub-class Cirripedia, with figures of all the species. The Lepadidæ; or, pedunculated cirripedes.. London: The Ray Society. Volume 1

The first monograph was followed by three other monographs on living and fossil Cirripedia.

I believe that most of his writings after publication of On the Origin of Species focused on expanding his evolutionary ideas rather than on descriptions of new species.

You can read nearly all of Darwin's writings online at http://darwin-online.org.uk. With careful searching you can find all (or nearly all) species descriptions.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the reply. I'm surprised there isn't simply a list somewhere though. His publications after Origin weren't all expanding on the theory—His last scientific book was The Formation of Vegetable Mould through the Action of Worms, with Observations on their Habits, not really about natural selection. $\endgroup$
    – Qubei
    Commented Aug 4, 2014 at 1:38
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not aware of any lists. Perhaps something has been compiled in a biography. I suspect that his work on natural selection (and related) has overshadowed all of his other important contributions, at least for most science historians. Perhaps you'll pull together such a list! Please feel free to accept my answer it is, well, acceptable to you. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 4, 2014 at 3:04

I've discovered that searching for Darwin on the Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) appears to prioritise in its search results those species named by Darwin rather than for him. The first page of results includes many barnacle species (as noted by 3cat). The first five species are:

  • Amphibalanus amphitrite (Striped Barnacle)
  • Megabalanus coccopoma (Titan Acorn Barnacle)
  • Balanus glandula (Acorn Barnacle)
  • Elminius modestus (New Zealand Barnacle)
  • Balanus nubilus (Giant Barnacle)
  • ...

There are 370 results, but some of them are not species level (e.g. Chthamalidae), and some other entries are mixed in (e.g. S.C. Darwin and S.P.Darwin), and later results include, for example, Nemoria darwiniata, so it's hard to quantify the results.

I might try writing an SQL query for the downloaded Catalogue of Life, as its online interface doesn't seem to allow the relevant query.


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    $\begingroup$ Nice initiative. I followed your link and browsed through it. I clicked on one of the species (a bird, described in 1839) and discovered that it belonged to a collection called "Species described by Charles Darwin." (eol.org/collections/12085). It lists 81 species. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 4, 2014 at 11:06
  • $\begingroup$ @3cat Perfect! I feel like a fool for missing that. I wish I could award the "answered" tick to your comment. $\endgroup$
    – Qubei
    Commented Aug 4, 2014 at 12:33
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    $\begingroup$ A 'correctly' formatted scientific name will usually have an author citation and date, (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Author_citation_(zoology)), as you can see on the EOL page. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 4, 2014 at 12:46
  • $\begingroup$ @Qubei - it was your answer that sparked my comment. You set me on the right trail. If you want, add my comment to your answer and accept yours. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 4, 2014 at 14:27

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