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Exchanging insect lists with Bates and keeping a journal

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                                    Neath April 11th 1846
 
Dear Sir

I shall be most happy to exchange lists of captures with you each month as you propose. Your "Theseus" is a nice acquisition as it belongs to an interesting family - I find the common species here different in many respects from those of Leicester, and expect to make a great many good captures during the summer.

I have recommended a plan which I began 2-3 years ago but discontinued. That of keeping a Natural History Journal. A sort of day Book in which I insert all my captures in every branch of Natural Hist[ory].with the day of the Month, locality &c. and add any remarks I have to make on specific characters, habits, &c. &c… I am convinced it is a most excellent plan, & after a few years becomes most interesting, as it enables you to compare without trusting to memory alone, the curious facts concerning the periodical appearance of insects &c. their plenty or scarcity in different years, the times & duration of their appearance, as affected by meteorological considerations &c. &c..

The following are the principal coleoptera I have taken this season.1846
March.
x Rhagium inquisitor - common under bark
x Helops striatus - plentiful do [ditto]. (oak)
x Tricodermia pubescens. plentiful
x Proscaraloeus vulgaris - grassy banks
x Steropus Ethiops? I am doubtful about this species - it is plentiful here
x Platyrus angusticollis - verycommon under bark moss, & stones.
x Pogomus chalceus - common under stones on salt marshes.
Calathus fuscus - under stones, Crymlin Burrows
Gyrinus tricolour (1) under stone side of pool nr. sea
xPhylan gibbus - plentiful under stones on Crymlin Burrows
x Amara convexior - with do.
x Auchomenius albifes - under stones
Cassida? - under bark rather redder than Helops striatus - throughout.
Otiorynchus sulcatus(1) under stone
Adelosia picea(1)
Abax striola - (3) most probably common

april -
Leistus spinibarbis(1) under stone in wood
Opatrum tibiale - Crymlin Burrows
Orthophagus Dilwynii - (3) Burrows
x Carabus granulatus - plentiful.


Those marked with a X I have spare specimens of - I think with this beginning I have a good prospect of an interesting & successful season. I have taken besides Peryphus nitidulus,oiceoptoma thoracica and numerous Brachyelytra for naming which latter in particular I find Spry's figures of the greatest service - they are so beautifully accurate in the general form & and particulars.

I was much pleased to find you so well appreciated "Lyell" - I first read "Darwin's Journal" 3 or 4 years back & have lately reread it - As the Journal of a scientific traveller it is second only to "Humbolts [sic] personal Narrative" as a work of general interest perhaps superior to it - He is an ardent admirer & most able supporter of Mr Lyell's views - His style of writing I very much admire, so free from all labour, affectation, or egotism & yet so full of interest & original thought - I am now reading, & with shame as an Entomologist I confess it, for the first time, Kirby & Species' Entomology which I find a most talented & interesting work -When I have got through the whole of it I may have a remark or two to make on it.    

I quite envy you who have friends near you attached to the same pursuits. I know not a single person in this little town who studies any one branch of natural history so that I am all alone in my glory in this respect. We have a pretty good Library but they will have no works but those of general interest; and there is a Philosophical Society with a very nice little museum but they have very little money to spare for books - In the library of the Phil. Soc. at Swansea they have some very good works on Natural History but unfortunately scarcely one in Entomology -How is it you get so many good works in the library at Leicester? - Be so kind as to tell me in your next the title of their catalogue with which you label your Coleoptera. - I had intended to make a few remarks or representation & analogy but finding I am out of paper must leave

[written vertically at the right hand side of the page,
overwriting text]

them for another time & hoping to hear from you soon. Believe me
Yours sincerely
[signed]               Alfred R Wallace



[to]         Mr. Bates Leicester

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