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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.


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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