Russel Wallace : Alfred Russell Wallace (sic)
"Dobbo, Arru Islands, March 10, 1857.--Here I am, alive, well, and hard at work. I have been here just two months, and as I am going into the interior I leave this note to be sent by a vessel which returns to Macassar in April. The country is all forest, flat and lofty, very like the Amazonian forest. Insects, on the whole, are tolerably plentiful in specimens, but very scarce in species. There are, however, some fine things, and I am getting good series of several, including Ornithoptera sp., near Priamus, perhaps O. Poseidon, or close to it, a glorious thing but hard to get perfect; four or five other rare or new Papilios, but all are scarce; Cocytia d'Urvillei? rather scarce, a lovely creature; also Hestia d'Urvillei. For six weeks I have almost daily [[p. 92]] seen Papilio Ulysses? or a new closely-allied species, but never a chance of him; he flies high and strong, only swooping down now and then, and off again to the tree-tops: fancy my agony and disgust; I fear I shall never get him. There is a fine Drusilla or Hyades abundant, with numerous varieties; but the Lycænidæ and Erycinidæ are the gems; I only wish there were more of them; there are about half-a-dozen species equal to the very finest of the little Amazonians. The Coleoptera are far too few in species to please me: in two months' hard work I can only muster fifty Longicornes, a number I reached in ten days in Singapore; but Lamellicornes are the most extraordinarily scarce; I have only nine species, and four of them single specimens; there are, however, two fine Lomaptera among them, I hope new. All other groups are the same; Geodephaga, scarcely a dozen species, and nothing remarkable; not one Cicindela; only one Tricondyla (T. aptera?) and one Theretes (T. labiata), with not a single Colliuris; two or three fine Buprestes, however, and some remarkable Curculionidæ, with the beautiful Tmesisternus mirabilis, make a pretty good show.
"On my way here we stayed six days at Ké Island, and I got there some very fine beetles, two fine Cetonias, and a Buprestis the most beautiful I have seen. Of the few insects I got there the greater part were different from any I have seen here, though the distance is only sixty miles, the mountains of Ké being visible from Arru in fine weather. This makes me think I shall get different things at every island in this part of the Archipelago. Arru is zoologically a part of New Guinea. Of the birds here half are New Guinea species; in the small island where we live many of the birds of Arru never come, such as the two species of the birds of Paradise, the black cassowary, &c. I am going now to the mainland, or great Island of Arru, in search of these birds, but have had the usual difficulty about men and boats.
"I have learnt here all about New Guinea; parts are dangerous, parts not; and next year, if I live and have health, I am determined to go. I must go either to Banda or Ternate first, I have not yet decided which, and shall try and go to the large Island of Wargion,1 at the north-east of New Guinea, where are found the Epimachus magnificus, three rare species of the Paradise birds, and the glorious Ornithoptera d'Urvilliana? The weather here is very changeable; storm, wind and sunshine alternately. I think nine-tenths of the things I am getting will be new to the English collections; with which comfort for our entomological friends,
"I remain yours sincerely, Alfred R. Wallace."