From A. R. Wallace [23 January 1863?]1
5. Westbourne Grove Terrace, W.
My dear Mr Darwin
It has just occurred to me, that I have seen insects on Melastomas.2 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.3
Hoping these few facts may be useful | I remain | My dear Mr Darwin | Yours very faithfully | Alfred R. Wallace
Charles Darwin Esq
Now recalls a Melastoma visited by some small Cetoniadae and bees (Xylocopa) in Malay Archipelago.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4390,” accessed on 30 May 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-4390