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Record number: WCP4268

Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
Samuel Stevens
15 November 1849

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Santarém, Pará, Brazil to Samuel Stevens [none given] on 15 November 1849.

Record created:
23 May 2012 by Szentgyorgyi, Katherine


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Stevens, Samuel. (1850). Journey to explore the natural history of the Amazon River. The Annals and Magazine of Natural History including Zoology, Botany and Geology, Series 2, 6: 494-495. [p. 494-495]

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[[1]]1 [p. 494]

Santarem, Nov. 15, 1849 (500 miles above Parà).

"I spent about three weeks at Montealegre and have now been back here nearly a month, so before I leave for the Rio Negro I send you a small lot of insects; they consist almost entirely of Lepidoptera, the Beetles not yet having made their appearance; in the wet season I hear there are plenty both at Montealegre and here, so I shall probably return here, unless I meet with something much better to keep me up above. Of the boxes sent, Nos. 1 and 2 only are for you to dispose of. Your lot, though a small one, I trust will be found a good one; there are a very considerable number of fresh species, one of which (No. 6051) is, I think, the most beautiful thing I have yet taken; it is very difficult to capture, settling almost invariably high up [[2]] [p. 495] in trees; two specimens I climbed up after and waited for; I then adopted a long pole which I left at a tree they frequented, and by means of persevering with it every day for near a month have got a good series: the sexes I have no doubt whatever about, though I have not taken them in copula; the female flies lower and is easier to take than the male. The allied species (6062) was rather abundant at Montealegre; the orange Heliconia-like insect occurred there plentifully. Of all new species and others which I know to be good, I have sent plenty; of old things I have sent a few only.

"In the Erycinidae there are a great many species fresh to me, and I hope some new to Europe: I have now made descriptions of all the species sent, so that should I be obliged again to send home my duplicates or lose any of them, I can still recognize the species. The handsome species I hope will sell well. In box No. 3 I have put a lot of miscellaneous insects, which please take out and dispose of. There is also a small stuffed alligator, a species I think they have not in the Museum; it is the Jacare tinga, of which the tail is eaten and is very good; they are an immense deal of trouble in skinning. I have sent also a larger one, which I think is the common species; also a tortoise-shell and a few vertebrae of the large alligator of the Amazon I have put in to fill up; perhaps they may be interesting to geologists to compare with those of fossil Sauria. Shells there are none here. There are two painted calabashes in paper with your name outside; please accept them as a specimen of the Indian girls work at Montealegre; the varnish, colours, &c., are all made by themselves from the leaves and bark of different trees and herbs; they paint them with bits of stick and feathers, and the patterns are all their own design; they are the usual drinking-vessels here, but less ornamented for common use. I am much in want of some work on the species of butterflies; I think the Encyclopédie Méthodique, vol. ix. by Godart, is the only thing that will do. The leaf in the box is a segment of Victoria regia; if any one wants it, you may sell it."

Notes Appearing in the Original Work

1. This beautiful species I find to be the rare Callithea Sapphira, Hub, of which hitherto only one example appears to have existed in the collections in this country. [on p. 494]

2. This is Callithea Leprieurii, Feisthamel, also very rare. --S.S. [on p. 495]


1. Editor Charles H. Smiths Note: Extracts from letters sent to Samuel Stevens, and printed in the December 1850 issue of the Annals and Magazine of Natural History.


This transcript originates from Charles H. Smiths The Alfred Russel Wallace Page website (http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/index1.htm): See http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/wallace/S006.htm

Please note that work on this transcript is not yet complete. Users are advised to study electronic image(s) of this document, if available.