Alexander Garden to Carl Linnaeus,
20 June 1771 n.s.
L4515. Alexander GardenAlexander Garden (1730-1791).
Alexander GardenGarden, Alexander (1730-1791).
At last, Garden has been able to catch some of the Chigo fleas described by Mark CatesbyCatesby, Mark (1682-1749).
Garden had sent a black servant to the island of Providence, where he had collected and preserved fishes and other species. However, the servant had met with a storm on his return, and as he was afraid to be shipwrecked, he had neglected his specimens and had lost many of them. What could be saved is enclosed for Linnaeusís examination, with the vernacular names given.
In another phial, Linnaeus will find a few specimens of the potato louse, which could be an Acarus. The content of two more phials is briefly described, one of which contains fleas that produce phosphorescent light at night. Two specimens of insects are also enclosed.
Garden continues by describing an unknown animal, 37 inches long and rather like the Sirene. However, it is not at all like that anatomically; for example, it has four legs. Garden makes a character of the animal. A specimen is enclosed, contained in a glass vessel. - Garden has ascertained that the Sirene is oviparous and that it does not undergo a metamorphosis.
Garden has just received a previously unknown fish, and he gives its character. It is considered to be the tastiest of the fishes caught around there.
Garden has received from a friend in Surinam a fish which transforms into a frog. He is surprised at the metamorphosis and he sends a specimen to Linnaeus in a phial. - Garden has sent John EllisEllis, John (1711-1776).
The notice in the news that Thea grows in Carolina is unfounded.
Garden is surprised that Linnaeus is not satisfied over Hamamelis, so he sends a few specimens preserved in spirit. - Garden is pleased that Linnaeus has found a key to Cryptogamia. - An unpublished plant, maybe a Gynandria, is enclosed. It is a very beautiful plant, especially when it flowers in the forests. It is 1.5 feet tall. Garden makes a vivid description of it. Since he has only got one specimen, he sends it to Linnaeus without dissecting it.
The same box contains all the numerous specimens. It will be sent via Ellis, as usual.