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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: http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/wallace/S633.htm

     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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