Alfred Russel Wallace : Alfred Wallace : A. R. Wallace :
Russel Wallace : Alfred Russell Wallace (sic)
Fertilisation of Flowers by Insects (S633: 1907)
Editor Charles H. Smith's Note: A letter responding to an inquiry, and printed on page 320 of
the 31 January 1907 issue of Nature. A Mr. Swanton had asked whether the prediction made by
both Darwin and Wallace that a hawk-moth with a very long proboscis would be discovered that
would account for the surprisingly long nectary found in a species of Madagascan orchid had
ever been borne out (it eventually was). To link directly to this page, connect with:
In reply to Mr. Swanton's letter, I have not heard of any moth from Madagascar with an
exceptionally long proboscis. I think, however, I did hear of one from East Africa with a
proboscis nearly the length required; but as entomologists do not usually open out and measure
the length of proboscis of all the large Sphingidæ they receive, some of the required length may
exist unnoticed in our public or private collections. An inquiry at the insect departments of the
Natural History Museum, and also of that of the Jardin des Plantes, would perhaps afford Mr.
Swanton the required information.
Alfred R. Wallace.
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