Fertilisation of Flowers by Insects


DR. ALFRED RUSSEL WALLACE, in an article entitled “Creation by Law,” contributed to the Quarterly Journal of Science in October, 1867, alluded to a Madagascar orchis (Angraecum sesquipedale) with a nectary varying length from 10 inches to 14 inches, and prophesied that a hawk-moth will be discovered with a tongue of equal length to fertilise it. “That such a moth exists in Madagascar may be safely predicted, and naturalists who visit that island should search for it with as much confidence as astronomers searched for the planet Neptune—and they will be equally successful!” Will someone kindly tell me if this prophecy was fulfilled; if so, when, and the name of the moth?

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SWANTON, E. Fertilisation of Flowers by Insects. Nature 75, 320 (1907) doi:10.1038/075320b0

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