Alfred Russel Wallace : Alfred Wallace : A. R. Wallace :
Russel Wallace : Alfred Russell Wallace (sic)
Discussion of Fungus Found on an Australian Beetle
Editor Charles H. Smith's Note: An account of discussion Wallace provided at the 15
November 1869 meeting of the Entomological Society of London, in reply to materials
exhibited by Francis Pascoe. Reported in the Society's Proceedings series for 1869.
Original pagination indicated within double brackets. To link directly to this page connect
[[p. 1990]] Mr. Pascoe exhibited some Australian Heteromera, including new species of
Helæus, Byrsax, Seirotrana, &c., and two new genera. One species of Saragus (undescribed, and
for which the name S. floccosus was proposed), was remarkable from being covered with a
peculiar fungoid growth, which was said by the captor to occur on the living insect, and also (or a
similar growth) on the trees which the beetle frequented. This growth had been examined by Mr.
Currey, and was pronounced to be truly fungous, in fact an Isaria, the early stage of a Sphæria.
Several [[p. 1991]] specimens of the Saragus had been seen, all with the Isaria in the same stage
Mr. Wallace enquired whether the supposed fungus had been microscopically examined, as it
seemed highly improbable that a living animal should habitually have a living vegetable growing on
it. More probably, if it really existed during the life of the beetle, it was a natural animal growth:
an allied species has a hairy covering, and it was but one step further for a hairy covering to
assume a fungoid appearance, a protective resemblance to the fungi or lichens growing on the
trees upon which the beetle was found.
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