Letter (WCP342.342)



June 26th. 1845.1

Dear Sir2

I send you with this a box of duplicates which I hope will contain some acceptable specimens —

They are as follows —

Left side.

Rhagium inquisitor 5. 2 r[ight] hand are males
Proscarabaeus vulg[aris]. 4 sorry in such bad order, sh[oul]d be stuff:
Steropus Aethiops? 4
Pogonus chalceus 3
Gyrinus bicolor? 6
Limonius cylindricus. 3
Leiophleus [Leiophlaeus] nubilus 2. I send these because they are so much finer than specimens I took at Leic[ester]. — also look almost like another species —
Donacia lacunae. 6 )
Haltica pseudacori. 8 )
H[altica]. Erucae 6 )
Malachius viridis. 5 ) I will get you more of these as they occur —
Philopedon geminatus. 2 )
Hydronomus alismatis. 5 )
Erirhinus nereis )
Baris T. Album 2 )
Apion frumentarium 3 cards3 )
Typhoeus vulgaris 2 ♂’s —

[2] R[igh]t. side. upper part

Calathus fuscus. 3
Phylan gibbus 4
Amara convexior. 4
Opatrum tibiale. 4
Aegialia globosa. 9
Onthophagi to be named, & please return me specimens of the male & fem[ale]. of each species —
Donacia negra [nigra]. 6.
O[nthophagus]. ovatus I though[t] you had plenty I so have none by me but will get them.

In the lower division are a number of specimens I shall be obliged to you to name for me & return me the Peryphi & other single specimens — of the Aphodius & the others you can keep ½ the number yourself if they are worth having & return me the rest with the name. The series of Aphodius is from the highest mountain in South Wales or S. Britain. The Brecknockshire Beacons 2860 feet above sea4

I took a little excursion there the other day — I did not take many [3] Insects but some good ones —

Carabus catenulatus on the summit. (1) Loricera pilicornis & Helobia brevicollis very abundant & another Helobia very like H. nivalis which appears to be H. Marshallanea [Marshallana] & is I think a novelty in this part of the country — I took also Atopa cervina & Luperus flavipes & rufipes on my way, but my best capture was on my return when I had the good fortune to meet with one of the most beautiful & local of the British Coleoptera Trichius fasciatus5 — it was on the flower of a thistle (Cnicus heterophyllus) —

I took a few rare plants such as Saxifraga hypnoides, the Butterfly orchis Orchis (Platanthera bifolia) — the yellow Welsh Poppy (Meconopsis cambrica) &c. — The Colymbetes I send to be named I took in a mountain pool with C[olymbetes]. bipustulatus[.]

Nebria complanata has now become [4] very abundant but I have no room to send any this time. I have also taken a pair of Anomala Frishii [frischii] — and Hylobius abietis (?new here not on Mr. Dilwyn’s list.6) Clythra 4punctata [4-punctata] (!) (rare here).

I have spare specimens of Strangalia elongata & Aedemera cerulea — & 2 of Ophonus pubescens — I have also taken Clytus arietis[,] Dyscherius [Dyschirius] gibbus — a Rhynchites ?R. alliariae[,] an Agonum I think A. simpsoni — if so new to this part — Situated as I am I cannot afford to multiply Cabinets indefinitely or I should be glad to adopt your suggestions for arrangement — on your plan my whole Cab[inet]. would not, or barely contain the Brit[ish]. Coleoptera & for many years it would have a most bare appearance & deprive me of the use of any part of it for any thing else — on my plan I can get the Coleoptera very well in a dozen drawers & shall have the rest for Lepidoptera, a selection perhaps of the other orders & any [5] foreign[?] insects I may obtain. —

When on that plan my Cab[inet]. becomes very full & crowded I shall probably be better able to afford an additional one and shall also have acquired experience as to the best methods of arranging it &c. —

Many insects vary so little that one or at most 2 pair illustrate them as well as a dozen — and of moderately sized speciesmen 6 well chosen specimens are as well as 20[.] Of course I am speaking of a beginner & of one who does not make Entomology the sole study of [1 illeg. word struck through] his life — The subject is so vast that it is impossible for a person who does not do so to make any real use of a perfect series of every insect — [6] I think it much better to attach yourself to some particular families first to investigate thoroughly — I shall leave more room for a perfect collection of the Lamellicorns, the Elateridae the Crioceridae, Galerucidae & Chrysomelidae. —

If you will mention any local species here such as Nebria complanata &c. which are wanted by any of your friends or correspondents, I will endeavour to obtain them & shall be much obliged to you if you will obtain for me in Exchange any good species they may have to spare, more especially in any of the above orders or in the Longicornes in wh[ich]. I am very deficient. — Those in your last list I wish for are.

Chrysomela rufipes — any Nedyi [Nedyus] or Sitonae [Sitona].

Strophosomus obesus, S[trophosomus]. limbatus

Rhinonchus pericarpius — Rhynchites germanicus.

Send the box back as I have with paper round the middle only to prevent its being broke [sic] by stamping as it is cork for lightness —

I remain | Yours sincerely | Alfred R Wallace [signature]

Mr H. Bates —

A later annotation by ARW in blue pencil beneath the date and alongside "Dear Sir" reads "Journey to Beacons".
Bates, Henry Walter (1825-1892). British entomologist and collector; Assistant Secretary to the Royal Geographical Society of London.
Beetles, especially small species, are often glued by entomologists to a small piece of card in order to preserve them.
The passage beginning "The series of Aphodius..." to the foot of the page has been marked in the margin with blue pencil.
ARW's capture of this beetle, commonly called the Bee Beetle, was the subject of his first 'scientific' publication: Wallace, A. R. 1847. Capture of Trichius fasciatus near Neath [excerpt from a letter sent from Neath, Wales]. Zoologist, 5: 1676. He stated that he collected it "…near the falls at the top of Neath Vale."
Dillwyn, L. W. [1829]. Memoranda Relating to Coleopterous Insects, Found in the Neighbourhood of Swansea. Not published. Swansea, UK: printed by W. C. Murray & D. Rees.

Please cite as “WCP342,” in Beccaloni, G. W. (ed.), Ɛpsilon: The Alfred Russel Wallace Collection accessed on 30 November 2023, https://epsilon.ac.uk/view/wallace/letters/WCP342