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AUSTRALIAN BEETLES

Tilomas Sloane Collection

Presentation to Commonwealth

"The late Mr. Thomas G. Sloane, of Morilla station, Young, New South Wales, was well known throughout the scientific world as an expert on certain kinds of Australian beetles," writes Ml'. R. J. Tillyard, of the Council for Scien- tific and Industrial Research. "In the 'Poet at the Breakfast Table' there Is a passage in which an entomologist ex- claims: T am often spoken of as a cole opterlst, but I have no right to so com- prehensive a name. The genus Bcara baeus Is what I iiave chiefly confined myself to-cull me a scarabeeist.'

1'The late Mr. Sloane, on this principle, fully merited the title of carabldist, for he was an expert on the great group of ground beetles, or caratddae, and on the smaller families related to this group. If the man in the street wants to com- prehend what the study of beetles means, let him contemplate the follow- ing figures: There aro more species of Insects In the world than there are of all other species of animals and plants combined. About half a million species of Insects have been scientifically des- cribed, and many more remain to be dealt with. Of these, about 42 per cent, are beetles. Australia alone possesses about 17,000 described species of beetles, and only one man, the late Mr. A. M. Lea, ever got within no'ddlng acquaint- ance of most of them.

"The great group of caraboid beetles on which the late Mr. Sloane was an authority numbered some 2,000 Aus- tralian species; for the whole world, the number in this group is about 30,000. To understand thoroughly, to be able to re- cognise, classify, and name Individual species in a great group of closely relat- ed forms like these, calls for scientific knowledge and discrimination of a high order, and the man who gives his spare time to a hobby of this type deserves well of his country and must be possess- ed, besides, of an intellect of high order.

A GENEROUS GIFT.

"Mr. Sloane, in the course of his long life, gathered together an enormous collection of caraboid bettles. While his own collecting was limited to the Australian continent, he was also in- terested in caraboid beetles from all over the world. Some years ago he purchased for £000 the Van der Poll collection of about 300 boxes of these beetles from all parts of the world, and this fine collection now forms part of the Thomas Sloane collection..

"At his death Mr. Sloane willed all his possessions to his wife. Ho had, however, intended. If his health permit- ted, to retire to Canberra to live, and to pursue his entomological studies there, and It was his Intention that his fine collection should rest finally in the Museum of the Division of Economic Entomology of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research In the Com- monwealth capital city. Mrs. Sloane has now generously presented the col- lection to the council, and It has re- cently been moved to Canberra, where It will be kept as a separate entity alongside the Froggatt and Ferguson collections. The scientific world will applaud Mrs. Sloane's generous act, which is in full keeping with her hus-

band's known wishes.

"The climate of Canberra is particu- larly good for the (┬╗reservation of In- sect specimens, and the absence of those cabinet and museum pests which are such. a source of annoyance and damage In warmer and damper climates marks the capital city out as an ideal place for the preservation of valuable insect collections."

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