You are on page 1of 6




Henry Walter Bates was an English naturalist and

explorer born in 1825. HENRY is best know for his
ADVENTURE into the Amazon and his well known book,
WAS the Naturalist on the River Amazons. His journey
began in 1848 when he travelled along with Alfred Russell
Wallace to the Amazon to collect animals and study them.
For their first year they lived in a villa near the city of
Belem collecting birds and insects. After a year of working
together, the pair split up to focus on different areas of
the Amazon. Some 11 years later, Bates finally returned
to England and by this time he had gathered a sufficient
quantity of animals that would occupy his time. It is
reported that he sent back some 14,712 new species of
animals (mainly insects) of which around 8,000 were
completely new to science. After returning to London,
Bates was appointed as Assistant Secretary to the Royal
Geographical Survey and instead of returning to the
Amazon, he was stuck in an office for the rest of his life.
The stress caused by the job is a possible linking factor to
his death by bronchitis in 1892. Much of his work can now
be seen in the Natural History Museum in London.
Interestingly, Bates mentioned that his worst experience
in the Amazon was not with a dangerous animal or

fighting a tropical disease but from the lack of news and

information from the outside world. Although an animal
lover and true rainforest enthusiast, he stated in his book
The Naturalist on the River Amazons that [he] was
obliged, at last, to come to the conclusion that the
contemplation of Nature alone is not sufficient to fill the
human heart and mind.
In 1847 Wallace and Bates discussed the idea of an
expedition to the Amazon Rainforest, the plan being to
cover expenses by sending specimens back to London.
There an agent would sell them for a commission. The
main purpose was for the travellers to "gather facts
towards solving the problem of the origin of species", as
Wallace put it in a letter to Bates. The two friends, who
were both by now experienced amateur entomologists,
met in London to prepare themselves. This they did by
viewing South American plants and animals in the main
collections.[5] Also they collected 'wants lists' of the desires
of museums and collectors. All known letters exchanged
between Wallace and Bates are available in Wallace
Letters Online.

Bates in Amazonia: "Adventure withCurl-Crested Toucans"

Bates and Wallace sailed from Liverpool in April 1848,

arriving in Par (now Belm) at the end of May. For the
first year they settled in a villa near the city, collecting
birds and insects. After that they agreed to collect
independently, Bates travelling to Camet on theTocantins
River. He then moved up the Amazon,
to bidos, Manaus and finally to the Upper Amazon
(Solimes). Tef was his base-camp for four and a half
years. His health eventually deteriorated and he returned
to Britain, sending his collection by three different ships
to avoid the same fate as Wallace. He spent the next three
years writing his account of the trip, The Naturalist on the

River Amazons, widely regarded as one of the finest

reports of natural history travels.
In 1863 he married Sarah Ann Mason.[6] From 1864
onwards, he worked as Assistant Secretary of the Royal
Geographical Society(effectively, he was the Secretary,
since the senior post was occupied by a noble figurehead).
He sold his personal Lepidopteracollection
to Godman and Salvin and began to work mostly on
beetles (cerambycids, carabids, and cicindelids). From
186869 and 1878 he was President of the Entomological
Society of London. In 1871 he was elected a Fellow of
the Linnaean Society, and in 1881 he was elected a Fellow
of the Royal Society.
He died of bronchitis in 1892 (in modern terms, that may
mean emphysema). A large part of his collections are in
the Natural History Museum (see The Field, London, 20
February 1892). Specimens he collected went to the
Natural History Museum [then called the B.M. (NH)] and to
private collectors; yet Bates still retained a huge
reference collection and was often consulted on difficult
identifications. This, and the disposal of the collection
after his death, are mentioned in Edward Clodd Memories.

Wallace wrote an obituary of Bates in Nature. He

describes Bates's 1861 paper on mimicry
in Heliconiidae butterflies as "remarkable and epochmaking", with "a clear and intelligible explanation", briefly
attacking its attackers as "persons who are more or less
ignorant of the facts". He then praises Bates's
contributions to entomology, before regretting, in
remarkably bitter words for an official obituary, that the
"confinement and constant strain" of "mere drudgery of
office work" for the Royal Geographical Society had with
"little doubt" "weakened his constitution and shortened a
valuable life".[8]

Henry Bates was one of a group of outstanding naturalist-explorers

who were supporters of the theory of evolution by natural
selection (Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace 1858).[9] Other
members of this group included J.D. Hooker, Fritz Mller,Richard
Spruce and Thomas Henry Huxley.
Bates' work on Amazonian butterflies led him to develop the first
scientific account of mimicry, especially the kind of mimicry which
bears his name: Batesian mimicry.[10] This is the mimicry by a
palatable species of an unpalatable or noxious species. A common
example seen in temperate gardens is the hover-fly, many of which
though bearing no sting mimic the warning
colouration ofhymenoptera (wasps and bees). Such mimicry does
not need to be perfect to improve the survival of the palatable
Bates' grave in East Finchley Cemetery

Bates noted of the Heliconids (long-wings) that they were forestdwellers which were:
1. abundant 2. conspicuous and slow-flying. 3. gregarious; and
also 4. the adults frequented flowers. 5. the larvae fed
And yet, said Bates "I never saw the flocks of slow-flying
Heliconidae in the woods persecuted by birds or dragonflies...
nor when at rest did they appear to be molested by lizards, or
predacious flies of the family Asilidae [robber-flies] which were
very often seen pouncing on butterflies of other families... In
contrast, the Pieridae (sulfur butterflies), to
which Leptalis belongs [now called Dismorphia] are much

Bates observed that many Heliconid species are

accompanied by other species (Pierids), which mimic
them, and often cannot be distinguished from them in

flight. They fly in the same parts of the forest as the

model (Heliconid) and often in company with them.
Local races of the model are accompanied by
corresponding races or species of the mimic. So a
scarce, edible species takes on the appearance of an
abundant, noxious species. Predators, Bates supposed,
learn to avoid the noxious species, and a degree of
protection covers the edible species, no doubt
proportional to its degree of likeness to the model.
These testable hypotheses about warning signals and
mimicry helped to create the field of evolutionary
Bates, Wallace and Mller believed that Batesian
and Mllerian mimicry provided evidence for the action
of natural selection, a view which is now standard
amongst biologists.[13] Field and experimental work on
these ideas continues to this day; the topic connects
strongly tospeciation, genetics and development.[14]


Henry walter bates when he was younger

I choose Henry Walter Bates because he was the first to

search the whole amazon a week .Henry Walter Bates
made a book talking about his trip.