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Distant's "Rhopalocera Malayana" (S351: 1882)

Editor Charles H. Smith's Note: A brief book review printed in the 4 May 1882 issue of Nature. Original pagination indicated within double brackets. To link directly to this page connect with: http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/wallace/S351.htm

[[p. 6]] Rhopalocera Malayana: a Description of the Butterflies of the Malay Peninsula. By W. L. Distant. (London: W. L. Distant, care of West, Newman and Co., 54, Hatton Garden, E.C.)

     We have received the first part of this handsome work, in which it is proposed to describe and figure all the species of butterflies which inhabit the Malay Peninsula and the islands of Penang and Singapore. Forty-four coloured figures of butterflies are given in this part, occupying four plates of large quarto size: and they are most admirably executed in chromo-lithography. Some of the figures, indeed, are hardly to be distinguished from good hand-colouring. The descriptions are full and careful, and much judgment is shown in using, as far as possible, old and well-established names, and in rejecting needless sub-divisions of the genera. It is expected that the work will be completed in six or seven parts, forming a handsome quarto volume; and we trust that the author may obtain numerous subscribers in our wealthy colonies of Singapore and Penang, as well as at home, to encourage him to complete the work in the same full and careful manner as he has commenced it.

     As most of the butterflies of the larger Malay Islands [[p. 7]] must be studied in comparison with those of the Malay Peninsula for the purposes of his work, we would suggest to Mr. Distant that he would add greatly to its value to all European collectors if he would give, in a supplementary part, a complete synopsis of the known species of butterflies inhabiting the Indo-Malayan region. Having figured all the continental Malayan species, the descriptions of those of the islands might be, in most cases, by comparative characters, aided occasionally, perhaps, by outline woodcuts. We believe that such an extension of the scope of the work would double its value, and add largely to the list of subscribers; while the increased expenditure would be comparatively unimportant.

A. R. W.

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