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Record number: WCP2918

Sent by:
Charles Owen Waterhouse
Sent to:
Alfred Russel Wallace
25 November 1908

Sent by Charles Owen Waterhouse, British Museum (Natural History), Cromwell Road, London, S.W. to Alfred Russel Wallace, [Old Orchard, Broadstone, Wimborne, Dorset] on 25 November 1908.

Record created:
30 November 2011 by Mayer, Anna


No summary available at this time.

Record contains:

  • letter (1)

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LETTER (WCP2918.2808)

A typical letter handwritten by author in English and signed by author.

Held by:
British Library, The
Finding number:
BL Add. 46437 f. 306
Copyright owner:
Copyright of the Charles Owen Waterhouse Literary Estate.

Physical description

Transcription information







Nov[ember] 25th 1908

Dear Dr. Wallace,

I can only give you very rough figures of the number of described insects

Hymenoptera 45,000 (estimated from De la Torre’s2 catalogue)

Diptera 28,000

Lepidoptera 60,000

Neuroptera 5,000

Orthoptera 8,000

Coleoptera 120,000

Rhymchota 18,000


[[2]] These numbers differ a little from those given by Kirby3 in his 2nd Edition of his text book4, but I think the numbers given above are about right --

Yours faithfully | Cha[rle]s. O. Waterhouse5 [signature]


1. Page numbered 306 in pencil in top RH corner. The Royal Coat of Arms (in the letterhead of a National Institution) appears in the top LH corner. ?

2. de la Torre-Bueno, Jose Rollin (1871-?)

3. de la Torre-Bueno J. R. (1937) A Glossary of Entomology. New York Entomological Society, N.Y., is an expanded and modified version of John B. Smith (1906) An Explanation of Terms Used in Entomology, Brooklyn Entomological Society, N.Y. However, the published work is not the catalogue referred to in the letter dated 1908. An earlier unpublished catalogue available at the date of the letter has not been traced.

3. Kirby, William (1759-1850) English entomologist and country priest; an eminent parson-naturalist. He is considered the "founder of entomology".

4. Kirby, William & Spence, William (1816) An introduction to entomology: or, Elements of the natural history of insects. 4 vols., 2nd Edition. Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, London.

5. Waterhouse, Charles Owen (1843-1917) English entomologist and Assistant Keeper at the British Museum (Natural History), London. He wrote on Buprestidae (jewel or metallic wood-boring beetles) in DuCane Godman and Salvin’s Biologia Centrali-Americana (1889) and papers on the worldwide beetle collections of the museum, describing hundreds of new species.

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