Deucalion Desertarum

Thomas Vernon Wollaston published this drawing in his book ‘Insecta Maderensia’ in 1854. In the book he thanks Westwood for providing the illustrations, ‘Particularly, however, would I draw attention to the valuable help which I have received from J. O. Westwood, Esq., whose pencil has been so elaborately employed in the figures which I am thus enabled to attach, and by whom many of the minutest of the dissections were accomplished, — with a degree of delicacy, moreover, to which I did not myself at the commencement of this Work (though I have since succeeded in anatomizing the larger portion of them, likewise) lay claim.’

330. Deucalion Desertarum, Woll. (Tab. IX. fig. 2.). Wollaston wrote the following about this species:

‘Apparently of the utmost rarity, the only two specimens which I have seen having been captured on the respective summits of the Middle and Southern Dezertas. The one from the former was taken by myself, during a week's sojourn in that desolate spot, with the Rev. W. J. Armitage, in January 1849. I extracted it from out of a crevice of an exposed weather-beaten peak (where it had secreted itself, in company with the Scarites abbreviatus and several species of Helops) at the immediate point where the great central heights commence to narrow into an almost perpendicular ridge nearly 2000 feet above the sea. Although I searched with the greatest diligence, I could not obtain more ; nor indeed was I able to procure it during a subsequent encampment on the island, with the Rev. R.T. Lowe, at the end of May 1850,—even though I visited the identical crag and split open the fissures, both of it and of the hardened volcanic mud in all directions around it. The second example hitherto detected is from the still more perilous steeps of the Ilheo Bugio, or Southern Dezerta, and it is to the Rev. R. T. Lowe that we are indebted for this interesting contribution to the fauna of that almost unapproachable rock. Having, on the 3rd of July 1849, succeeded in reaching the summit, not without much difficulty and at the greatest peril (in the pursuit principally of land mollusca and plants), Mr. Lowe informs me that he met with it beneath a slab of stone, and that he was attracted (as already mentioned) by its remarkable, stridulating noise.’

Object Summary

Accession Loan No.
Collection Class
watercolour on card
Common Name
Deucalion Desertarum
Simple Name
Period Classification
Victorian (1837-1901)
Production Town

Production Date
Production Person Initials
John Obadiah
Production Person Surname
Production Year Low
Production Year High

View Full Details

Deucalion Desertarum Woll