Wallace Letters Online

Share this:

Record number: WCP4842

Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
[not recorded]
[not recorded]

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, [none given] to [addressee not recorded] [address not recorded] on  .

Record created:
13 November 2012 by Catchpole, Caroline


No summary available at this time.

Record contains:

  • publication (1)

View item:


"A". (1887). Living lights. Science, 10(248): 217-228. [p. 227]

Copyright owner:
Not in copyright

About publication

Transcription information



[[1]]1 [p. 227]

It chanced that we were able to ask the opinion of the eminent English naturalist, Mr. Alfred Russell Wallace, to whom this subject was familiar. He expressed readiness to believe the existence of luminosity in such birds, notwithstanding the literature on the subject is so meagre, and quoted the well-known case of the lantern-fly. Mr. Wallace was an explorer in South America, as is well known, and in answer to our question he said, "I did not observe the phenomenon of luminosity in the lantern-fly, but Madam Mérian, the distinguished entomologist, and the Marquis Spinola, did; the former giving detailed accounts of several which emitted such powerful luminosity, on opening the box in which they were confined, that she was alarmed. I am therefore not entitled to deny the statements."


1. Editor Charles H. Smith's Note: In a long letter to the Editor of Science, "A" discussed a review of a book on phosphorescence that had appeared in that journal. As part of the discussion "A" mentions he was able to get Wallace's opinion on a certain point; this is given below. This originally appeared on page 227 of the 4 November 1887 issue.


This transcript originates from Charles H. Smith’s The Alfred Russel Wallace Page website (http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/index1.htm): See http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/wallace/S405A.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.