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Letter 4390

Wallace, A. R. to Darwin, C. R.

[23 Jan 1863?]

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    Now recalls a Melastoma visited by some small Cetoniadae and bees (Xylocopa) in Malay Archipelago.

Transcription

5. Westbourne Grove Terrace, W.

Friday evening

My dear Mr Darwin

It has just occurred to me, that I have seen insects on Melastomas. A small shrubby species is abundant in all the cleared waste grounds in the Malay Islands, & I now distinctly recollect having frequently taken small Cetoniadæ of the genus Valgus from the flowers. The large wood boring bees (Xylocopa) also visit the flowers, & the whole plants often swarm with small black ants.

I remember also distinctly having seen the flowers much eaten by insects.

The Plant however is so common close to Singapore that I will write to one of my friends there to observe & make a list of all the insects, that visit it.

Hoping these few facts may be useful | I remain | My dear Mr Darwin | Yours very faithfully | Alfred R. Wallace

Charles Darwin Esq

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 4390.f1
    The date is conjectured from the relationship between this letter and the following letter (see n. 2, below). In 1863, 23 January was a Friday.
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    f2 4390.f2
    CD had recently sent inquiries to a number of correspondents regarding dimorphism and insect pollination of Melastomataceae (see, for example, letter to Hugh Falconer, 5 [and 6] January [1863], and letter to H. W. Bates, 12 January [1863]). He may have asked Wallace for information on this subject in a letter written between 9 and 13 January 1863 that has not been found. See also letter from A. R. Wallace, 14 January [1863], the following letter and n. 1, and letter to H. W. Bates, 26 January [1863].
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    f3 4390.f3
    See letter from A. R. Wallace, 26 September 1863.
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