WCP340

Letter (WCP340.340)

[1]

Neath

April 11th 1846

D[ea]r. Sir

I shall be most happy to exchange lists of captures with you each month as you propose. Your "Throscus"1 is a nice capture acquisition as it belongs to an interesting family — I find the common species here different in many respects from those of Leicester, and expect to make a great many good captures during the summer. I have recommenced a plan2 which I began 2-3 years ago but discontinued. That of keeping a Natural History Journal. A sort of day Book in which I insert all my captures in every branch of Natural Hist[ory]. with the day of the month, locality &c. and insert add any remarks I have to make on specific characters, habits, &c &c. I am convinced it is a most excellent plan, & after a few years becomes most interesting, as it enables you to compare without trusting to memory alone, the curious facts concerning the periodical appearance of insects &c. their plenty or scarcity in different years, the times & duration of their appearances, as [2] affected by meteorological considerations &c. &c. The following are my the principal coleoptera I have taken this season.

1846

March.

x Rhagium Inquisitor common under bark
x Helops striatus plentiful d[itt]o. (oak).
x Tricoderma [Trichoderma] pubescens3 plentiful —
x Meloe Proscarabaeus vulgaris grassy banks
x Steropus Ethiops? I am doubtful about this species it is plentiful here
x Platynus angusticollis very common under bark moss, & stones
x Pogonus chalceus common under stones or salt marshes
x Calathus fuscus under stones, Crymlin [sic] Burrows4
Gyrinus bicolor (1) under stone side of pool nr sea[?]
x Phylan gibbus plentiful under stones on Crymlin [sic] Burrows.
x Amara convexior with d[itt]o.
x Anchomenus albipes under stones
Cassida? under bark rather redder than Helops striatus — throughout
Otiorhynchus sulcatus (1) under stone
April4 Adelosia picea (1)
["] Abax striola — (3) most probably common
["] Leistus spinibarbis (1) under stone in wood
Opatrum tibiale Crymlin [sic] Burrows.4
Onthophagus Dilwynii — (3) Burrows
Carabus granulatus plentiful

[3] Those marked with a x I have spare specimens of — I think with this beginning I have a good prospect of an interesting & successful season. I have taken besides Peryphus nitidulus, oiceoptoma thoracica and numerous Brachyelytra for naming which latter in particular I find Spry’s5 figures of the greatest service — they are so beautifully accurate in the general form & proportions as well as in the more minute particulars.

I was much pleased6 to find you so well appreciated "Lyell"7 — I first read "Darwin’s Journal" 3 or 4 years back8 & have lately reread it — as the Journal of a scientific traveller it is second only to "Humbolts [sic] personal narrative"9 as a work of general interest perhaps superior to it — He is an ardent admirer & most able supporter of Mr Lyell’s10 views — His style of writing I very much admire, so free from all labour, affectation, or egotism & yet so full of interest & original thought — I am now reading, & with shame as an Entomologist I [4] confess it, for the first time, Kirby & Spence's Entomology11 which I find a most talented & interesting work — When I have got through the whole of it I may have a remark or two to make on it.

I quite envy you who have friends near you attached to the same pursuits. I know not a single person in this little town who studies any one branch of natural History so that I am all alone in my glory in this respect. We have a pretty good Library but they will have no works but those of general interest; and there is a Philosophical Society with a very nice little Museum but they have very little money to spare for books — In the library of the Phil. Soc. at Swansea they have some very good works on Natural History but unfortunately scarcely one on Entomology — How is it you get so many good works in the Library at Leicester? — Be so kind as to tell me in your next the title of the catalogue with which you label your Coleoptera — I had intended to make a few remarks on representation & analogy but finding I am out of paper must leave [5] them for another time & hoping to hear from you soon remain

Yours Sincerely | Alfred R Wallace [signature]

Mr H Bates

Leicester

Throscidae, a family in the order Coleoptera. Common names include "Small False Click-beetles".
From "a plan" to "duration of their appearances" at the foot of the page is marked by a vertical blue pencil line in the left margin.
There is a long upwardly curved dash after "Tricoderma pubescens — plentiful" possibly indicating that the location "(oak)" of Helops striatus also applies to T. pubescens.
Crymlyn Burrows is an area of sand-dunes at the mouth of the River Neath.
Shuckard, W.E. (Ed.). 1840. The British Coleoptera Delineated, Consisting of Figures of all the Genera of British Beetles. Drawn in Outline by W. Spry. M.E.S. Edited by W.E. Shuckard, Librarian, R. S. London: W. Crofts.
The section from "I was much pleased" to "I am now reading" is marked by a vertical blue pencil line in the left margin.
Lyell, Charles. 1830-1833. Principles of Geology: Being an Attempt to Explain the Former Changes of the Earth's Surface, by Reference to Causes Now in Operation. 3 vols. London: John Murray.
Darwin, C. R. 1839. Journal of Researches into the Geology and Natural History of the Various Countries visited by H.M.S. Beagle. London: Henry Colburn.
Humboldt, Alexander von. 1814-1829. Personal Narrative of Travels to the Equinoctial Regions of the New Continent, During the Years 1799-1804. By Alexander de Humboldt, and Aimé Bonpland; with maps, plans, &c. Written in French by Alexander de Humboldt, and translated into English by Helen Maria Williams. 7 vols. London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown.
Lyell, Charles (1797-1875). British lawyer and geologist.
Kirby, William and Spence, William. 1815- 1826. An Introduction to Entomology : Or Elements of the Natural History of Insects. 4 vols. London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown.

Please cite as “WCP340,” in Beccaloni, G. W. (ed.), Ɛpsilon: The Alfred Russel Wallace Collection accessed on 26 February 2024, https://epsilon.ac.uk/view/wallace/letters/WCP340