Of the Wallace Line, the company of friends

Lombok island sits on the Wallace Line; a ‘black and white’ boundary where there is an abrupt and complete change from one type of animal and fauna type to another type.

It was discovered by Darwin’s contemporary, Alfred Wallace who drew it in 1859 and I quote:

‘[to show] the ecozonesof Asia and Wallacea, a transitional zone between Asia and Australia. West of the line are found organisms related to Asiatic species; to the east, a mixture of species of Asian and Australian origin is present. The line is named after Alfred Russel Wallace, who noticed this clear division during his travels through the East Indies in the 19th century. The line runs through Indonesia, betweenBorneo and Sulawesi (Celebes), and through the Lombok Strait between Bali and LombokAntonio Pigafetta had also recorded the biological contrasts between the Philippines and the Maluku Islands(Spice Islands) (on opposite sides of the line) in 1521 during the continuation of the voyage ofFerdinand Magellan, after Magellan had been killed on Mactan.

The distance between Bali and Lombok is small, about 35 kilometres (22 mi). The distributions of many bird species observe the line, since many birds do not cross even the smallest stretches of open ocean water. Some bats have distributions that cross the line, but other mammals are generally limited to one side or the other; an exception is the Crab-eating Macaque. Other groups of plants and animals show differing patterns, but the overall pattern is striking and reasonably consistent.

Flora do not follow the Wallace Line to the same extent as fauna.



The company of friends brings magic.  I was reminded of this last night when I was with some, and mentioned a guide some of us may choose when choosing friends.  It’s spoken by someone who has both money and power to a close friend who is poor and powerless by comparison, and the powerful, wealthy one is glad to see his friend return; he says why and this is part of what he says:

“Nay, do not think I flatter.
For what advancement may I hope from thee
That no revenue hast but thy good spirits,
To feed and clothe thee? Why should the poor be flattered?
No, let the candied tongue lick absurd pomp,
And crook the pregnant hinges of the knee
Where thrift may follow fawning. Dost thou hear?
Since my dear soul was mistress of her choice
And could of men distinguish, her election
Hath sealed thee for herself, for thou hast been—
As one in suffering all that suffers nothing—
A man that Fortune’s buffets and rewards
Hast ta’en with equal thanks. And blessed are those
Whose blood and judgment are so well commingled,
That they are not a pipe for Fortune’s finger
To sound what stop she please. Give me that man
That is not passion’s slave, and I will wear him
In my heart’s core, ay, in my heart of heart,
As I do thee.”
Don’t you just love Shakespeare?  The way he makes words shine . . . ‘. . . pregnant hinges of the knee . . . ‘, and, “Give me that man . . .”:  More here:
 The outside and the inside worlds are about boundaries, seeing them, discovering and honouring them and respecting them.
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  • Michael Mobbs

    Michael is a former Environmental Lawyer who is uniquely placed to consult in four main areas:

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