Alfred Russel Wallace : Alfred Wallace : A. R. Wallace :
Russel Wallace : Alfred Russell Wallace (sic)

 
 
Discussion of the Brightness of Color of Beetles in the Tropics
(S143a: 1869)

 
Editor Charles H. Smith's Note: An account of discussion Wallace provided at the 15 February 1869 meeting of the Entomological Society of London, in reply to Henry W. Bates, who was President of the ESL at the time. Reported in the Society's Proceedings series for 1869. Original pagination indicated within double brackets. To link directly to this page connect with: http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/wallace/S143A.htm


    [[p. 1607]] Mr. Druce exhibited a collection of butterflies from Nicaragua, brought to this country by Mr. Thomas Belt. Amongst them was a new Papilio, near to P. Sesostris; and a series of Heliconiidæ representing four genera, but which looked like one species, the whole of them being found flying together. Ten or twelve new species had been obtained by Mr. Hewitson out of Mr. Belt's collection.

    The President had obtained some handsome new species of Coleoptera, also from Mr. Belt, the scene of whose operations was the neighbourhood of the Chontales mines. Nicaragua was divided in the middle, the Atlantic side being forest, the Pacific side savannah and open grass-land; Chontales lay on the edge of the Atlantic belt of forest, and in consequence of the development of the mines there had been considerable felling of timber, and most of Mr. Belt's Coleoptera were brought to him by the wood-cutters: there were some very fine forms of Stenaspis, Colobothea, Amphionyeha, Oneideres, Anisocerus, &c., &c., and it seemed as if the tropical types culminated in size and beauty in Nicaragua. So far as American Coleoptera were concerned (though he could not say that he had observed the same thing in other [[p. 1608]] orders), it seemed that at and near the Equator the species were comparatively dull in colour, but brighter hues were assumed both in the North and South tropics.

    Mr. A. R. Wallace thought this held good in the East also. The beetles of Borneo were generally dull in colour, whilst more brilliant forms were found both in Ceylon and China, in Java and Australia. The excessive uniformity in the character of the vegetation was perhaps the cause of the prevailing dullness of the beetles found within the equatorial belt.


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