RECORD: Rookmaaker, Kees & John van Wyhe eds. Wallace, A. R. 10.1858. 'Direction for Collecting in the Tropics by A.R. Wallace'. CUL-DAR270.1.2. Edited by John van Wyhe (Wallace Online,

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by Kees Rookmaaker and John van Wyhe 8.2011. RN1

NOTE: Reproduced with the permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library and the Wallace Family.


Notes for Mr. Foxcroft from AR. Wallace

To collect Insects successfully in the Tropics you must get close to or in the true virgin forest. — If possible get a patch of forest cleared & a hut put up to live in — you will then get double the collections in the same time. On the trees cut down & drying near your house you will get hosts of Longicorns & Curculios. — As the bark rots, it will swarm with Carabi & Stephalinidae — On the bark of fallen trees in the sunshine Buprestidae, at night good things will come to a lamp, beat dead leaves assiduously, they produce good things especially when thick & damp — Rare Butterflires & variety of species can only be found in the forest paths — The very finest ground is where new roads or extensive clearings are being made through lofty forest — Seek out for such if possible & you will be well rewarded. — If none such can be found, at all events have few large trees cut down near your house — they will produce good things morning & evening & at spare times when you cannot go far, palm tree flowers & the sap of the toddy pal, attract Celonias & Lucani. — Living trees produce nothing except larvae, it is useless to search on them. — Under stones & on sandy places & on bare ground, little or nothing, the forest is the place for every thing fine & swampy forest is generally the best especially on the slopes of mountains. — From 9 am to 2 pm I find the best general collecting time — you would much oblige me by registering your captures daily & would find it interesting thus

June 1



Other orders


35 species

18 species

44 species

and at the end of each month make a summary of the No of species collected in each family & order — Insects are seldom so abundant in the tropics as in England except just about & after the wet season. Four or five hours a day must be spent in diligent search & you will then be astonished at the new & fine things constantly turning up.

Hoping these notes the result of 8 years tropical collecting may be of use — yours truly, Alfred R. Wallace

Ternate Moluccas. Oct 5th 1858


Direct all cases if sent by mail steamer

Mr. S. Stevens.
24 Bloomsbury Street.

Care of
Mr. J. Deal Jun.
Custom House Agent
High Street
with great care

Direction for Collecting in the Tropics by A.R.Wallace
for Mr H. Squires

This document has been accessed 2525 times

Return to homepage

Citation: John van Wyhe, ed. 2012-. Wallace Online. (

File last updated 28 August, 2023