From H. W. Bates 17 January 1
10 Hollis place | Prince of Wales’ road | N.W.
My Dear Mr Darwin
Your last has been sent to me here where I have fixed myself for a few weeks to see my book through the press.2 I hope you will put yourself to no further trouble about the article in Linnean trans. your writing a notice for Nat. Hist. rev. consuming time which is required for your great work, is an act of kindness which I feel most keenly.3 I send today a copy to Prof. Asa Gray.4
With regard to insects frequenting flowers of Melastomads: this order of plants is certainly less visited by bees & Lepidoptera (& all orders) than any other order having flowers.5 With regard to the general fact of neglect of Melastomad flowers there cannot be any doubt as the bushes are excessively numerous in the woods where I collected daily.
Butterflies beetles & bees prefer flowers of Myrtaceæ— there is a sweet-smelling blossom of a tree I supposed to be a myrtle which always swarms with insects when the flowers of adjoining Melastoma bushes have not a single visitor.
Bees Euglossa, Melipona, Cenchris, Megachile, Augochlora in the real virgin forests of the Amazons are more frequently seen at sap exuding from trees,6 at excrement of birds on leaves & on moist sand at edge of water than at flowers. The larger butterflies accompany them; some of these latter crowd on fine flowers of some creeping plant (I think a kind of Combretaceæ). Blossoms of Inga are the favourite resort of some floral beetles (antichira).7
Not having my note books here I cannot give you more details on this subject.
—Mr Murray has ordered so many fine illustrations for my book & these have been (by my residing away from London) so slow in executing that the printing of my book has been much hindered.8
Yours sincerely | H W Bates
Has sent copy of his paper to Asa Gray.
Melastomad flowers are strikingly neglected by pollinators.
Murray has ordered many illustrations for HWB’s Naturalist on the river Amazons.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3925,” accessed on 26 February 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-3925