The Geographical Distribution of Animals/Chapter 10
THE PALÆARCTIC REGION.
This region is of immense extent, comprising all the temperate portions of the great eastern continents. It thus extends from the Azores and Canary Islands on the west to Japan on the east, a distance not far short of half the circumference of the globe. Yet so great is the zoological unity of this vast tract, that the majority of the genera of animals in countries so far removed as Great Britain and Northern Japan are identical. Throughout its northern half the animal productions of the Palæarctic region are very uniform, except that the vast elevated desert-regions of Central Asia possess some characteristic forms; but in its southern portion, we find a warm district at each extremity with somewhat contrasted features. On the west we have the rich and luxuriant Mediterranean sub-region, possessing many peculiar forms of life, as well as a few which are more especially characteristic of the Ethiopian region. On the east we have the fertile plains of Northern China and the rich and varied islands of Japan, possessing a very distinct set of peculiar forms, with others belonging to the Oriental region, into which this part of the Palæarctic region merges gradually as we approach the Tropic of Cancer. Thus, the countries roughly indicated by the names—Northern Europe, the Mediterranean district, Central and Northern Asia, and China with Japan—have each well-marked minor characteristics which entitle them to the rank of sub-regions. Their boundaries are often indefinable; and those here adopted have been fixed upon to some extent by considerations of convenience, dependent on custom and on the more or less perfect knowledge we possess of some of the intervening countries.
Zoological Characteristics of the Palæarctic Region.—The Palæarctic region has representatives of thirty-five families of mammalia, fifty-five of birds, twenty-five of reptiles, nine of amphibia, and thirteen of freshwater fishes. Comparing it with the only other wholly temperate region, the Nearctic, we find a much greater variety of types of mammalia and birds. This may be due in part to its greater area, but more, probably, to its southern boundary being conterminous for an enormous distance with two tropical regions, the Ethiopean and Oriental; whereas the Nearctic has a comparatively short southern boundary conterminous with the Neotropical region only. This is so very important a difference, that it is rather a matter of surprise that the two north temperate regions should not be more unequal in the number of their higher vertebrate forms, than they actually are.
It is also to the interblending of the Palæarctic with the two adjacent tropical regions, that we must attribute its possession of so few peculiar family groups. These are only three; two of reptiles, Trogonophidæ and Ophiomoridæ, and one of fishes, Comephoridæ. The number of peculiar genera is, however, considerable, as the following enumeration will show.
Mammalia.—The monkey of Gibraltar and North Africa, and an allied species found in Japan, are now considered to belong to the extensive eastern genus Macacus. The former, however, is peculiar in the entire absence of the tail, and has by many naturalists, been held to form a distinct genus, Inuus, confined to the Palæarctic region.
Of bats there are one or two genera (Barbastellus, Plecotus) which seem to be mainly or wholly Palæarctic, but the classification of these animals is in such an unsettled state that the distribution of the genera is of little importance.
In the next order, Insectivora, we have almost the entire family of the Moles confined to the region. Talpa just enters Northern India; and Urotrichus is common to Japan and North-Western America, but the remaining genera, six in number, are all exclusively Palæarctic.
Among Carnivora we have Nyctereutes, the curious racoon-dog of Japan and North-Eastern Asia; Lutronectes, an otter peculiar to Japan; and the badger (Meles), which ranges over the whole region, and just enters the Oriental region as far as Hongkong; Æluropus, a curious form of the Himalayan panda, inhabiting the high mountains of Eastern Thibet; and Pelagius, a genus of seals, ranging from the shores of Madeira to the Black Sea.
The Ungulata, or hoofed animals, are still more productive of forms peculiar to this region. First we have the Camels, whose native home is the desert region of Central and Western Asia and Northern Africa, and which, even in their domesticated condition, are confined almost wholly within the limits of the Palæarctic region. Of Deer we have six peculiar genera, Dama and Capreolus found in Europe, with Elaphodus, Lophotragus, Hydropotes, and Moschus, confined to Northern China and Mongolia. The great family Bovidæ—comprising the oxen, sheep, goats and antelopes—furnishes no less than seven peculiar Palæarctic genera. These are Poephagus, the yak of Thibet; Addax, a well-known antelope of Northern Africa and Syria; Procapra, Pantholops and Budorcas, antelopine genera peculiar to Thibet and Mongolia; with Rupicapra (the chamois), and the extraordinary large-nosed antelope Saiga, confined to Europe and Western Asia. Besides these we have Capra (the wild sheep and goats), all the numerous species of which, except two, are exclusively Palæarctic.
Coming to the Rodents, we have again many peculiar forms. Of Muridæ (the mouse and rat tribe), we have six peculiar genera, the more important being Cricetus, Rhombomys Sminthus, and Myospalax. Of Spalacidæ (mole-rats) both the Palæarctic genera, Ellobius and Spalax, are peculiar. Ctenodactylus, a genus of the South American family Octodontidæ, is found only in North Africa. To these we may add Myoxus (the dormice) and Lagomys (the pikas or tail-less hares) as essentially Palæarctic, since but one species of each genus is found beyond the limits of the region.
Birds.—It appears to have been the opinion of many naturalists that the Palæarctic region could not be well characterised by its peculiar genera of birds. In Mr. Sclater's celebrated paper already referred to, he remarks, "It cannot be denied that the ornithology of the Palæarctic region is more easily characterised by what it has not than by what it has," and this has been quite recently quoted by Mr. Allen, in his essay on the distribution of North American birds, as if it represented our present knowledge of the subject. But, thanks to the labours of Dr. Jerdon, Mr. Swinhoe, Père David and others, we have now learnt that a large number of birds included in the Indian list, are either mere winter emigrants from Central Asia, or only inhabit the higher ranges of the Himalayas, and thus really belong to the Palæarctic region. The result is, that a host of genera are now seen to be either exclusively or characteristically Palæarctic, and we have no further difficulty in giving positive ornithological characters to the region. In the tables appended to this chapter, all these truly Palæarctic genera will be found printed in italics, with an indication of their distribution, which will sometimes be found more fully given under the respective families in the fourth part of this work. Referring to this table for details we shall here summarise the results.
Of the Sylviidæ or warblers, no less than fourteen genera are either exclusively or characteristically Palæarctic, of which Locustella, Sylvia, Curruca and Erithacus are good examples. Of the oriental family Timaliidæ, the genus Pterorhinus is Palæarctic. Of Panuridæ, or reedlings, there are four peculiar genera (comprising almost the whole family); of Certhiidæ, or creepers, one—Tichodroma—which extends southward to the Abyssinian highlands. Of Paridæ, or tits, one—Acredula; of Corvidæ, or crows, four—Pica (containing our magpie) being a good example; of Fringillidæ, or finches and buntings, twelve, among which Acanthis, Pyrrhula and Emberiza are good illustrations; of Alaudidæ, or larks, there are two peculiar genera. Leaving the Passeres we next come to peculiar forms among the gallinaceous birds: Syrrhaptes among the Pteroclidæ or sand grouse; four genera of Tetraonidæ or grouse and partridges, and five of Phasianidæ or pheasants, comprising some of the most magnificent birds in the world. Lastly among the far-wandering aquatic birds we have no less than five genera which are more especially Palæarctic,—Ortygometra, the corn-crake, and Otis, the great bustard, being typical examples. We may add to these, several genera almost confined to this region, such as Garrulus (jays), Fringilla (true finches), Yunx (wrynecks) and some others; so that in proportion to its total generic forms a very large number are found to be peculiar or characteristic.
This view, of the high degree of speciality of the Palæarctic region, will no doubt be objected to by some naturalists, on the ground that many of the genera reckoned as exclusively Palæarctic are not so, but extend more or less into other regions. It is well, therefore, to consider what principles should guide us in a matter of this kind, especially as we shall have to apply the same rules to each of the other regions. We may remark first, that the limits of the regions themselves are, when not formed by the ocean, somewhat arbitrary, depending on the average distribution of a number of characteristic forms; and that slight local peculiarities of soil, elevation, or climate, may cause the species of one region to penetrate more or less deeply into another. The land boundary between two regions will be, not a defined line but a neutral territory of greater or less width, within which the forms of both regions will intermingle; and this neutral territory itself will merge imperceptibly into both regions. So long therefore as a species or genus does not permanently reside considerably beyond the possible limits of this neutral territory, we should not claim it as an inhabitant of the adjacent region. A consideration of perhaps more importance arises, from the varying extent of the range of a genus, over the area occupied by the region. Some genera are represented by single species existing only in a very limited area; others by numerous species which occupy, entirely or very nearly, the whole extent of the region; and there is every intermediate grade between these extremes. Now, the small localised genera, are always reckoned as among the best examples of types peculiar to a region; while the more wide-spread groups are often denied that character if they extend a little beyond the supposed regional limits, or send one or two, out of a large number of species, into adjacent regions; yet there is some reason to believe that the latter are really more important as characterising a zoological region than the former. In the case of a single isolated species or genus we have a dying-out group; and we have so many cases of discontinuous species of such groups (of which Urotrichus in Japan and British Columbia, Eupetes in Sumatra and New Guinea are examples), that it is quite as probable as not, that any such isolated species has only become peculiar to the region by the recent extinction of an allied form or forms in some other region. On the other hand, a genus consisting of numerous species ranging over an entire region or the greater part of one, is a dominant group, which has most likely been for some time extending its range, and whose origin dates back to a remote period. The slight extension of such a group beyond the limits of the region to which it mainly belongs, is probably a recent phenomenon, and in that case cannot be held in any degree to detract from its value as one of the peculiar forms of that region.
The most numerous examples of this class, are those birds of the temperate regions which in winter migrate, either wholly or partially, into adjacent warmer countries. This migration most likely began subsequent to the Miocene period, during that gradual refrigeration of the temperate zones which culminated in the glacial epoch, and which still continues in a mitigated form. Most of the genera, and many even of the species of birds which migrate southwards in winter, have therefore, most likely, always been inhabitants of our present Palæarctic and Nearctic regions; permanent residents during warm epochs, but only able now to maintain their existence by migration in winter. Such groups belong truly to the temperate zones, and the test of this is the fact of their not having any, or very few, representatives, which are permanent residents in the adjacent tropical regions. When there are such representative species, we do not claim them as peculiar to the Northern regions. Bearing in mind these various considerations, it will be found that we have been very moderate in our estimate of the number of genera that may fairly be considered as exclusively or characteristically Palæarctic.
Reptiles and Amphibia.—The Palæarctic region possesses, in proportion to its limited reptilian fauna, a full proportion of peculiar types. We have for instance two genera of snakes, Rhinechis and Halys; seven of lizards, Trigonophis, Psammodromus, Hyalosaurus, Scincus, Ophiomorus, Megalochilus, and Phrynocephalus; eight of tailed batrachians, Proteus, Salamandra, Seiranota, Chioglossa, Hynobius, Onychodactylus, Geotriton, and Sieboldia; and eight of tail-less batrachians, Bombinator, Pelobates, Didocus, Alytes, Pelodytes, Discoglossus, Laprissa, and Latonia. The distribution of these and other Palæarctic genera will be found in our second vol. chap. xix.
Freshwater Fish.—About twenty genera of freshwater fishes are wholly confined to this region, and constitute a feature which ought not to be overlooked in estimating its claim to the rank of a separate primary division of the earth. They belong to the following families:—Percidæ (three genera), Acerina, Percarina, Aspro; Comephoridæ (one genus), Comephorus, found only in Lake Baikal; Salmonidæ (three genera), Brachymystax, Luciotrutta, and Plecoglossus; Cyprinodontidæ (one genus), Tellia, found only in Alpine pools on the Atlas Mountains; Cyprinidæ (thirteen genera), Cyprinus, Carassius, Paraphoxinus, Tinca, Achilognathus, Rhodeus, Chondrostoma, Pseudoperilampus, Ochetobius, Aspius, Alburnus, Misgurnus, and Nemachilus.
Summary of Palæarctic Vertebrata.—Summarising these details, we find that the Palæarctic region possesses thirty-five peculiar genera of mammalia, fifty-seven of birds, nine of reptiles, sixteen of amphibia, and twenty-one of freshwater fishes; or a total of 138 peculiar generic types of vertebrata. Of these, 87 are mammalia and land-birds out of a total of 274 genera of these groups; or rather less than one-third peculiar, a number which will serve usefully to compare with the results obtained in other regions.
In our chapter on Zoological Regions we have already pointed out the main features which distinguish the Palæarctic from the Oriental and Ethiopian regions. The details now given will strengthen our view of their radical distinctness, by showing to how considerable an extent the former is inhabited by peculiar, and often very remarkable generic types.
Insects: Lepidoptera.—The Diurnal Lepidoptera, or butterflies, are not very abundant in species, their number being probably somewhat over 500, and these belong to not more than fifty genera. But no less than fifteen of these genera are wholly confined to the region. Nine of the families are represented, as follows:—1. Danaidæ; having only a single species in South Europe. 2. Satyridæ; well represented, there being more than 100 species in Europe, and three peculiar genera. 3. Nymphalidæ; rather poorly represented, Europe having only about sixty species, but there is one peculiar genus. 4. Libytheidæ; a very small family, represented by a single species occurring in South Europe. 5. Nemeobiidæ; a rather small family, also having only one species in Europe, but which constitutes a peculiar genus. 6. Lycænidæ; an extensive family, fairly represented, having about eighty European species; there are two peculiar genera in the Palæarctic region. 7. Pieridæ; rather poorly represented with thirty-two European species; two of the genera are, however, peculiar. 8. Papilionidæ; very poorly represented in Europe with only twelve species, but there are many more in Siberia and Japan. No less than five of the small number of genera in this family are wholly confined to the region, a fact of much importance, and which to a great extent redeems the character of the Palæarctic region as regard this order of insects. Their names are Mesapia, Hypermnestra, Doritis, Sericinus, and Thais; and besides these we have Parnassius—the "Apollo" butterflies—highly characteristic, and only found elsewhere in the mountains of the Nearctic region. 9. Hesperidæ; poorly represented with about thirty European species, and one peculiar genus.
Four families of Sphingina occur in the Palæarctic region, and there are several peculiar genera.
In the Zygænidæ there are two exclusively European genera, and the extensive genus Zygæna is itself mainly Palæarctic. The small family Stygiidæ has two out of its three genera confined to the Palæarctic region. In the Ægeriidæ the genus Ægeria is mainly Palæarctic. The Sphingidæ have a wider general range, and none of the larger genera are peculiar to any one region.
Coleoptera.—The Palæarctic region is the richest portion of the globe in the great family of Carabidæ, or predacious ground-beetles, about 50 of the genera being confined to it, while many others, including the magnificent genus Carabus, have here their highest development. While several of the smaller genera are confined to the eastern or western sub-regions, most of the larger ones extend over the whole area, and give it an unmistakable aspect; while in passing from east to west or vice-versâ, allied species and genera replace each other with considerable regularity, except in the extreme south-east, where, in China and Japan, some Oriental forms appear, as do a few Ethiopian types in the south-west.
Cicindelidæ, or tiger-beetles, are but poorly represented by about 70 species of the genus Cicindela, and a single Tetracha in South Europe.
Lucanidæ, or stag-beetles, are also poor, there being representatives of 8 genera. One of these, Æsalus (a single species), is peculiar to South Europe, and two others, Cladognathus and Cyclopthalmus, are only represented in Japan, China, and Thibet.
Cetoniidæ, or rose-chafers, are represented by 13 genera, two of which are peculiar to South Europe (Tropinota and Heterocnemis), while Stalagmosoma, ranging from Persia to Nubia, and the fine Dicranocephalus inhabiting North China, Corea, and Nipal, may also be considered to belong to it. The genera Trichius, Gnorimus, and Osmoderma are confined to the two north temperate regions.
Buprestidæ, or metallic beetles, are rather abundant in the warmer parts of the region, 27 genera being represented, nine of which are peculiar. By far the larger portion of these are confined to the Mediterranean sub-region. A considerable number also inhabit Japan and China.
The Longicorns, or long-horned beetles, are represented by no less than 196 genera, 51 of which are peculiar. They are much more abundant in the southern than the northern half of the region. Several Oriental genera extend to Japan and North China, and a few Ethiopian genera to North Africa. Thirteen genera are confined, to the two north temperate regions. Several large genera, such as Dorcadion (154 species), Phytæcia (85 species), Pogonochærus (22 species), Agapanthia (22 species), and Vesperus (7 species), are altogether peculiar to the Palæarctic region; and with a preponderance of Leptura, Grammoptera, Stenocorus, and several others, strongly characterise it as distinct from the Nearctic and Oriental regions.
The other families which are well developed in the Palæarctic regions, are, the Staphylinidæ or rove-beetles, Silphidæ or burying-beetles, Histeridæ or mimic-beetles, Nitidulidæ, Aphodiidæ, Copridæ (especially in South Europe), Geotrupidæ or dung-beetles, Melolonthidæ or chafers, Elateridæ or click-beetles, the various families of Malacoderms and Heteromera, especially Pimeliidæ in the Mediterranean sub-region, Curculionidæ or weevils, the Phytophaga or leaf-eaters, and Coccinellidae or lady-birds.
The number of species of Coleoptera in the western part of the Palæarctic region is about 15,000, and there are probably not more than 2,000 to add to this number from Siberia, Japan, and North China; but were these countries as well explored as Europe, we may expect that they would add at least 5,000 to the number above given, raising the Palæarctic Coleopterous fauna to 20,000 species. As the total number of species at present known to exist in collections is estimated (and perhaps somewhat over-estimated) at 70,000 species, we may be sure that were the whole earth as thoroughly investigated as Europe, the number would be at least doubled, since we cannot suppose that Europe, with the Mediterranean basin, can contain more than one-fifth of the whole of the Coleoptera of the globe.
Of the other orders of insects we here say nothing, because in their case much more than in that of the Coleoptera and Lepidoptera, is the disproportion enormous between our knowledge of the European fauna and that of almost all the rest of the globe. They are, therefore, at present of comparatively little use for purposes of geographical distribution, even were it advisable to enter into the subject in a work which will, perhaps, be too much overburdened with details only of interest to specialists.
Land Shells.—These are very numerous in the warmer parts of the region, but comparatively scarce towards the North. South Europe alone possesses over 600 species, whereas there are only 200 in all Northern Europe and Asia. The total number of species in the whole region is probably about 1,250, of which the great majority are Helicidæ; the Operculated families being very poorly represented. Several small genera or sub-genera are peculiar to the region, as Testacella (West Europe and Canaries); Leucochroa (Mediterranean district); Acicula (Europe); Craspedopoma (Atlantic Islands); Leonia (Algeria and Spain); Pomatias (Europe and Canaries); Cecina (Mongolia). The largest genera are Helix and Clausilia, which together comprise more than half the species; Pupa, very numerous; Bulimus and Achatina in moderate numbers, and all the rest small. Helix is the only genus which contains large and handsome species; Bulimus and Achatina, so magnificent in tropical countries, being here represented by small and obscure forms only. Daudebardia is confined to Central and South Europe and New Zealand; Glandina is chiefly South American; Hyalina is only American and European; Buliminus ranges over all the world except America; and the other European genera of Helicidæ are widely distributed. Of the Operculata, Cyclotus, Cyclophorus, and Pupina extend from the Oriental region into Japan and North China; Tudora is found in Algeria and the West Indies; Hydrocena is widely scattered, and occurs in South Europe and Japan. The genera of freshwater shells are all widely distributed.
The Palæarctic Sub-regions.
The four sub-regions which are here adopted, have been fixed upon as those which are, in the present state of our knowledge, at once the most natural and the only practicable ones. No doubt all of them could be advantageously again subdivided, in a detailed study of the geographical distribution of species. But in a general work, which aims at treating all parts of the world with equal fulness, and which therefore is confined almost wholly to the distribution of families and genera, such further subdivision would be out of place. It is even difficult, in some of the classes of animals, to find peculiar or even characteristic genera for the present sub-regions; but they all have well marked climatic and physical differences, and this leads to an assemblage of species and of groups which are sufficiently distinctive.
I. Central and Northern Europe.
This sub-region, which may perhaps be termed the "European," is zoologically and botanically the best known on the globe. It can be pretty accurately defined, as bounded on the south by the Pyrenees, the Alps, the Balkans, the Black Sea, and the Caucasus range; and by the Ural Mountains, or perhaps more correctly the valley of the Irtish and Caspian Sea, on the east; while Ireland and Iceland are its furthest outliers in the west. To the north, it merges so gradually into the Arctic zone that no demarcation is possible. The great extent to which this sub-region is interpenetrated by the sea, and the prevalence of westerly winds bringing warmth and moisture from an ocean influenced by the gulf-stream, give it a climate for the most part genial, and free from extremes of heat and cold. It is thus broadly distinguished from Siberia and Northern Asia generally, where a more extreme and rigorous climate prevails.
The whole of this sub-region is well watered, being penetrated by rivers in every direction; and it consists mainly of plains and undulating country of moderate elevation, the chief mountain ranges being those of Scandinavia in the north-west, and the extensive alpine system of Central Europe. But these are both of moderate height, and a very small portion of their surface is occupied either by permanent snow-fields, or by barren uplands inimical to vegetable and animal life. It is, in fact, to these, and the numerous lesser mountains and hills which everywhere diversify the surface of Europe, that the variety and abundance of its animal life is greatly due. They afford the perennial supplies to rivers, and furnish in their valleys and ever varying slopes, stations suited to every form of existence. A considerable area of Central Europe is occupied by uplands of moderate elevation, a comparatively small portion being flat and marshy plains.
Most of the northern and much of the central portions of Europe are covered with vast forests of coniferous trees; and these, occupying as they do those tracts where the winter is most severe, supply food and shelter to many animals who could not otherwise maintain their existence. It is probable that the original condition of the greater part, if not the whole, of temperate Europe, except the flat marshes of the river valleys and the sandy downs of the coast, was that of woodland and forest, mostly of deciduous trees, but with a plentiful admixture of such hardy evergreens as holly, ivy, privet, and yew. A sufficient proportion of these primeval woods, and of artificial plantations which have replaced them, fortunately remain, to preserve for us most of the interesting forms of life, which were developed before man had so greatly modified the surface of the earth, and so nearly exterminated many of its original tenants. Almost exactly in proportion to the amount of woodland that still remains in any part of Europe, do we find (other things being equal) the abundance and variety of wild animals; a pretty clear indication that the original condition of the country was essentially that of a forest, a condition which only now exists in the thinly inhabited regions of the north.
Although the sub-region we are considering is, for its extent and latitude, richly peopled with animal life, the number of genera altogether peculiar to it is not great. There are, however, several which are very characteristic, and many species, both of the smaller mammalia and of birds, are wholly restricted to it.
Mammalia.—The genera wholly confined to this sub-region are only two. Myogale, the desman, is a curious long-snouted Insectivorous animal somewhat resembling the water-rat in its habits. There are two species, one found only on the banks of streams in the French Pyrenees, the other on the great rivers of Southern Russia. The other peculiar genus, Rupicapra (the chamois of the Alps), is found on all the high mountains of Central Europe. Almost peculiar are Spalax (the mole-rat) found only in Eastern Europe and Western Siberia; and Saiga, an extraordinary large-nosed antelope which has a nearly similar distribution. Highly characteristic forms, which inhabit nearly every part of the sub-region, are, Talpa (the mole), Erinaceus, (the hedgehog), Sorex (the shrew), Meles (the badger), Ursus (the bear), Canis (the wolf and fox), Mustela (the weasel), Lutra (the otter), Arvicola (the vole), Myoxus (the dormouse), and Lepus (the hare and rabbit); while Bos (the wild bull) was, until exterminated by man, no doubt equally characteristic. Other genera inhabiting the sub-region will be found in the list given at the end of this chapter.
Birds.—It is difficult to name the birds that are most characteristic of this sub-region, because so many of the most familiar and abundant are emigrants from the south, and belong to groups that have a different range. There is perhaps not a single genus wholly confined to it, and very few that have not equal claims to be placed elsewhere. Among the more characteristic we may name Turdus (the thrushes), Sylvia (the warblers), Panurus (the reedling), Parus (the tits), Anthus (the pipits), Motacilla (the wagtails), which are perhaps more abundant here than in any other part of the world, Emberiza (the buntings), Plectrophanes (the snow buntings), Passer (the house sparrows), Loxia (the crossbills), Linota (the linnets), Pica (the magpies), Tetrao (grouse), Lagopus (ptarmigan) and many others.
I am indebted to Mr. H. E. Dresser, who is personally acquainted with the ornithology of much of the North of Europe, for some valuable notes on the northern range of many European birds. Those which are characteristic of the extreme Arctic zone, extending beyond 70° north latitude, and tolerably abundant, are two falcons (Falco gyrfalco and F. peregrinus); the rough-legged buzzard (Archibuteo lagopus); the snowy owl (Nyctea scandiaca); the raven (Corvus corax); three buntings (Emberiza schœniculus, Plectrophanes nivalis and P. calcarata); a lark (Otocorys alpestris); several pipits, the most northern being Anthus cervinus; a wagtail (Budytes cinereocapilla); a dipper (Cinclus melanogaster); a warbler (Cyanecula suecica); the wheatear (Saxicola œnanthe); and two ptarmigans (Lagopus albus and L. salicetus). Most of these birds are, of course, only summer visitors to the Arctic regions, the only species noted as a permanent resident in East Finmark (north of latitude 70°) being the snow-bunting (Plectrophanes nivalis).
The birds that are characteristic of the zone of pine forests, or from about 61° to 70° north latitude, are very numerous, and it will be sufficient to note the genera and the number of species (where more than one) to give an idea of the ornithology of this part of Europe. The birds of prey are, Falco (three species), Astur (two species), Buteo, Pandion, Surnia, Bubo, Syrnium, Asio, Nyctala. The chief Passerine birds are, Corvus (two species), Pica, Garrulus (two species), Nucifraga, Bombycilla, Hirundo (two species), Muscicapa (two species), Lanius, Sturnus, Passer (two species), Pyrrhula, Carpodacus, Loxia (two species), Pinicola, Fringilla (eight species), Emberiza (five species), Alauda, Anthus, Turdus (five species), Ruticilla, Pratincola, Accentor, Sylvia (four species), Hypolais, Regulus, Phylloscopus (two species), Acrocephalus, Troglodytes, and Parus (six species). Woodpeckers are abundant, Picus (four species), Gecinus, and Yunx. The kingfisher (Alcedo), goatsucker (Caprimulgus), and swift (Cypselus) are also common. The wood-pigeon (Columba) is plentiful. The gallinaceous birds are three grouse, Tetrao (two species) and Bonasa, and the common quail (Coturnix).
The remaining genera and species of temperate or north-European birds, do not usually range beyond the region of deciduous trees, roughly indicated by the parallel of 60° north latitude.
THE ALPS OF CENTRAL EUROPE, WITH CHARACTERISTIC ANIMALS.
Plate I.—Illustrating the Zoology of Central Europe.—Before considering the distribution of the other classes of vertebrata, it will be convenient to introduce our first illustration, which represents a scene in the Alps of Central Europe, with figures of some of the most characteristic Mammalia and Birds of this sub-region. On the left is the badger (Meles Taxus) one of the weasel family, and belonging to a genus which is strictly Palæarctic. It abounds in Central and Northern Europe and also extends into North Asia, but is represented by another species in Thibet and by a third in Japan. The elegantly-formed creatures on the right are chamois (Rupicapra tragus), almost the only European antelopes, and wholly confined to the higher mountains, from the Pyrenees to the Carpathians and the Caucasus. The chamois is the only species of the genus, and is thus perhaps the most characteristic European mammal. The bird on the left, above the badgers, is the Alpine chough, (Fregilus pyrrhocorax). It is found in the high mountains from the Alps to the Himalayas, and is allied to the Cornish chough, which is still found on our south-western coasts, and which ranges to Abyssinia and North China. The Alpine chough differs in having a shorter bill of an orange colour, and vermilion red feet as in the other species. In the foreground are a pair of ruffs (Machetes pugnax) belonging to the Scolopacidæ or snipe family, and most nearly allied to the genus Tringa or sandpiper. This bird is remarkable for the fine collar of plumes which adorns the males in the breeding season, when they are excessively pugnacious. It is the only species of its genus, and ranges over all Europe and much of Northern Asia, migrating in the winter to the plains of India, and even down the east coast of Africa as far as the Cape of Good Hope; but it only breeds in the Palæarctic region, over the greater part of which it ranges.
Reptiles and Amphibia.—There are no genera of reptiles peculiar to this sub-region. Both snakes and lizards are comparatively scarce, there being about fourteen species of the former and twelve of the latter. Our common snake (Tropidonotus natrix) extends into Sweden and North Russia, but the viper (Viperus berus) goes further north, as far as Archangel (64° N.), and in Scandinavia (67° N.), and is the most Arctic of all known snakes. Of the lizards, Lacerta stirpium (the sand lizard) has the most northerly range, extending into Poland and Northern Russia; and Anguis fragilis (the blind or slow-worm) has almost an equal range.
Amphibia, being more adapted to a northern climate, have acquired a more special development, and thus several forms are peculiar to the North European sub-region. Most remarkable is Proteus, a singular eel-like aquatic creature with small legs, found only in the subterranean lakes in Carniola and Carinthia; Alytes, a curious toad, the male of which carries about the eggs till they are hatched, found only in Central Europe from France to the east of Hungary; and Pelodytes, a frog found only in France. Frogs and toads are very abundant all over Europe, the common frog (Rana temporaria) extending to the extreme north. The newts (Triton) are also very abundant and widely spread, though not ranging so far north as the frogs. The genera Bombinator (a toad-like frog), and Hyla (the tree frog) are also common in Central Europe.
Freshwater Fish.—Two genera of the perch family (Percidæ) are peculiar to this sub-region,—Percarina, a fish found only in the river Dniester, and Aspro, confined to the rivers of Central Europe. Of the very characteristic forms are, Gasterosteus (stickle-back), which alone forms a peculiar family—Gasterosteidæ; Perca, Acerina and Lucioperca, genera of the perch family; Silurus, a large fish found in the rivers of Central Europe, of the family Siluridæ; Esox (the pike), of the family Esocidæ; Cyprinus (carp), Gobio (gudgeon), Leuciscus (roach, chub, dace, &c.), Tinca (tench), Abramus (bream), Alburnus (bleak), Cobitis (loach), all genera of the family Cyprinidæ.
Insects—Lepidoptera.—No genera of butterflies are actually confined to this sub-region, but many are characteristic of it. Parnassius, Aporia, Leucophasia, Colias, Melitæa, Argynnis, Vanessa, Limenitis, and Chionobas, are all very abundant and widespread, and give a feature to the entomology of most of the countries included in it.
Coleoptera.—This sub-region is very rich in Carabidæ; the genera Elaphrus, Nebria, Carabus, Cychrus, Pterostichus, Amara, Trechus and Peryphus being especially characteristic. Staphylinidæ abound. Among Lamellicorns the genus Aphodius is most characteristic. Buprestidæ are scarce; Elateridæ more abundant. Among Malacoderms Telephorus and Malachius are characteristic. Curculionidæ abound: Otiorhynchus, Omias, Erirhinus, Bagous, Rhynchites and Ceutorhynchus being very characteristic genera. Of Longicorns Callidium, Dorcadion, Pogonochærus, Pachyta and Leptura are perhaps the best representatives. Donacia, Crioceris, Chrysomela, and Altica, are typical Phytophaga; while Coccinella is the best representative of the Securipalpes.
North European Islands.—The British Islands are known to have been recently connected with the Continent, and their animal productions are so uniformly identical with continental species as to require no special note. The only general fact of importance is, that the number of species in all groups is much less than in continental districts of equal extent, and that this number is still farther diminished in Ireland. This may be accounted for by the smaller area and less varied surface of the latter island; and it may also be partly due to the great extent of low land, so that a very small depression would reduce it to the condition of a cluster of small islands capable of supporting a very limited amount of animal life. Yet further, if after such a submergence had destroyed much of the higher forms of life in Great Britain and Ireland, both were elevated so as to again form part of the Continent, a migration would commence by which they would be stocked afresh; but this migration would be a work of time, and it is to be expected that many species would never reach Ireland or would find its excessively moist climate unsuited to them.
Some few British species differ slightly from their continental allies, and are considered by many naturalists to be distinct. This is the case with the red grouse (Lagopus scoticus) among birds; and a few of the smaller Passeres have also been found to vary somewhat from the allied forms on the Continent, showing that the comparatively short interval since the glacial period, and the slightly different physical conditions dependent on insularity, have sufficed to commence the work of specific modification. There are also a few small land-shells and several insects not yet found elsewhere than in Britain; and even one of the smaller Mammalia—a shrew (Sorex rusticus). These facts are all readily explained by the former union of these islands with the Continent, and the alternate depressions and elevations which are proved by geological evidence to have occurred, by which they have been more than once separated and united again in recent times. For the evidence of this elevation and depression, the reader may consult Sir Charles Lyell's Antiquity of Man.
Iceland is the only other island of importance belonging to this sub-region, and it contrasts strongly with Great Britain, both in its Arctic climate and oceanic position. It is situated just south of the Arctic circle and considerably nearer Greenland than Europe, yet its productions are almost wholly European. The only indigenous land mammalia are the Arctic fox (Canis lagopus), and the polar bear as an occasional visitant, with a mouse (Mus islandicus), said to be of a peculiar species. Four species of seals visit its shores. The birds are more interesting. According to Professor Newton, ninety-five species have been observed; but many of these are mere stragglers. There are twenty-three land, and seventy-two aquatic birds and waders. Four or five are peculiar species, though very closely related to others inhabiting Scandinavia or Greenland. Only two or three species are more nearly related to Greenland birds than to those of Northern Europe, so that the Palæarctic character of the fauna is unmistakable. The following lists, compiled from a paper by Professor Newton, may be interesting as showing more exactly the character of Icelandic ornithology.
1. Peculiar species.—Troglodytes borealis (closely allied to the common wren, found also in the Faroe Islands); Falco islandicus (closely allied to F. gyrfalco); Lagopus islandorum (closely allied to L. rupestris of Greenland).
2. European species resident in Iceland.—Emberiza nivalis, Corvus corax, Haliæetus albicilla, Rallus aquaticus, Hæmatopus ostralegus, Cygnus ferus, Mergus (two species), Phalacrocorax (two species), Sula bassana, Larus (two species), Stercorarius catarractes, Puffinus anglorum, Mergulus alle, Uria (three species), Alca torda.
3. American species resident in Iceland.—Clangula islandica, Histrionicus torquatus.
4. Annual visitants from Europe.—Turdus iliacus, Ruticilla tithys, Saxicola œnanthe, Motacilla alba, Anthus pratensis, Linota linaria, Chelidon urbica, Hirundo rustica, Falco æsalon, Surnia nyctea, Otus brachyotus, Charadrius pluvialis, Ægialites hiaticula, Strepsilas interpres, Phalaropus fulicarius, Totanus calidris, Limosa (species), Tringa (three species), Calidris arenaria, Gallinago media, Numenius phæopus, Ardea cinerea, Anser (two species), Bernicla (two species), Anas (four species), Fuligula marila, Harelda glacialis, Somateria mollissima, Œdemia nigra, Sterna macrura, Rissa tridactyla, Larus leucopterus, Stercorarius (two species), Fratercula artica, Colymbus (two species), Podiceps cornutus.
5. Annual visitant from Greenland.—Falco candicans.
6.—Former resident, now extinct.—Alca impennis (the great auk).
This is by far the richest portion of the Palæarctic region, for although of moderate extent much of it enjoys a climate in which the rigours of winter are almost unknown. It includes all the countries south of the Pyrenees, Alps, Balkans, and Caucasus mountains; all the southern shores of the Mediterranean to the Atlas range, and even beyond it to include the extra-tropical portion of the Sahara; and in the Nile valley as far as the second cataract. Further east it includes the northern half of Arabia and the whole of Persia, as well as Beluchistan, and perhaps Affghanistan up to the banks of the Indus. This extensive district is almost wholly a region of mountains and elevated plateaus. On the west, Spain is mainly a table-land of more than 2000 feet elevation, deeply penetrated by extensive valleys and rising into lofty mountain chains. Italy, Corsica, Sardinia, and Sicily, are all very mountainous, and much of their surface considerably elevated. Further east we have all European Turkey and Greece, a mountain region with a comparatively small extent of level plain. In Asia the whole country, from Smyrna through Armenia and Persia to the further borders of Affghanistan, is a vast mountainous plateau, almost all above 2000, and extensive districts above 5000 feet in elevation. The only large tract of low-land is the valley of the Euphrates. There is also some low-land south of the Caucasus, and in Syria the valley of the Jordan. In North Africa the valley of the Nile and the coast plains of Tripoli and Algiers are almost the only exceptions to the more or less mountainous and plateau-like character of the country. Much of this extensive area is now bare and arid, and often even of a desert character; a fact no doubt due, in great part, to the destruction of aboriginal forests. This loss is rendered permanent by the absence of irrigation, and, it is also thought, by the abundance of camels and goats, animals which are exceedingly injurious to woody vegetation, and are able to keep down the natural growth of forests. Mr. Marsh (whose valuable work Man and Nature gives much information on this subject) believes that even large portions of the African and Asiatic deserts would become covered with woods, and the climate thereby greatly improved, were they protected from these destructive domestic animals, which are probably not indigenous to the country. Spain, in proportion to its extent, is very barren; Italy and European Turkey are more woody and luxuriant; but it is perhaps in Asia Minor, on the range of the Taurus, along the shores of the Black Sea, and to the south of the Caucasus range, that this sub-region attains its maximum of luxuriance in vegetation and in animal life. From the Caspian eastward extends a region of arid plains and barren deserts, diversified by a few more fertile valleys, in which the characteristic flora and fauna of this portion of the Palæarctic region abounds. Further east we come to the forests of the Hindoo Koosh, which probably form the limit of the sub-region. Beyond these we enter on the Siberian sub-region to the north, and on the outlying portion of the Oriental region on the south.
In addition to the territories now indicated as forming part of the Mediterranean sub-region, we must add the group of Canary Islands off the west coast of Africa which seem to be an extension of the Atlas mountains, and the oceanic groups of Madeira and the Azores; the latter about 1,000 miles from the continent of Europe, yet still unmistakably allied to it both in their vegetable and animal productions. The peculiarities of the faunas of these islands will be subsequently referred to.
It seems at first sight very extraordinary, that so large and wide a sea as the Mediterranean should not separate distinct faunas, and this is the more remarkable when we find how very deep the Mediterranean is, and therefore how ancient we may well suppose it to be. Its eastern portion reaches a depth of 2,100 fathoms or 12,600 feet, while its western basin is about 1,600 fathoms or 9,600 feet in greatest depth, and a considerable area of both basins is more than 1,000 fathoms deep. But a further examination shows, that a comparatively shallow sea or submerged bank incloses Malta and Sicily, and that on the opposite coast a similar bank stretches out from the coast of Tripoli leaving a narrow channel the greatest depth of which is 240 fathoms. Here therefore is a broad plateau, which an elevation of about 1,500 feet would convert into a wide extent of land connecting Italy with Africa; while the same elevation would also connect Morocco with Spain, leaving two extensive lakes to represent what is now the Mediterranean Sea, and affording free communication for land animals between Europe and North Africa. That such a state of things existed at a comparatively recent period, is almost certain; not only because a considerable number of identical species of mammalia inhabit the opposite shores of the Mediterranean, but also because numerous remains of three species of elephants have been found in caves in Malta,—now a small rocky island in which it would be impossible for such animals to live even if they could reach it. Remains of hippopotami are also found at Gibraltar, and many other animals of African types in Greece; all indicating means of communication between South Europe and North Africa which no longer exist. (See Chapter VI. pp. 113-115.)
Mammalia.—There are a few groups of Palæarctic Mammalia that are peculiar to this sub-region. Such are, Dama, the fallow deer, which is now found only in South Europe and North Africa; Psammomys, a peculiar genus of Muridæ, found only in Egypt and Palestine; while Ctenodactylus, a rat-like animal classed in the South American family Octodontidæ, inhabits Tripoli. Among characteristic genera not found in other sub-regions, are, Dysopes, a bat of the family Noctilionidæ; Macroscelides, the elephant shrew, in North Africa; Genetta, the civet, in South Europe; Herpestes, the ichneumon, in North Africa and (?) Spain; Hyæna, in South Europe; Gazella, Oryx, Alcephalus, and Addax, genera of antelopes in North Africa and Palestine; Hyrax, in Syria; and Hystrix, the porcupine, in South Europe. Besides these, the camel and the horse were perhaps once indigenous in the eastern parts of the sub-region; and a wild sheep (Ovis musmon) still inhabits Sardinia, Corsica, and the mountains of the south-east of Spain. The presence of the large feline animals—such as the lion, the leopard, the serval, and the hunting leopard—in North Africa, together with several other quadrupeds not found in Europe, have been thought by some naturalists to prove, that this district should not form part of the Palæarctic region. No doubt several Ethiopian groups and species have entered it from the south; but the bulk of its Mammalia still remains Palæarctic, although several of the species have Asiatic rather than European affinities. The Macacus innuus is allied to an Asiatic rather than an African group of monkeys, and thus denotes an Oriental affinity. Ethiopian affinity is apparently shown by the three genera of antelopes, by Herpestes, and by Macroscelides; but our examination of the Miocene fauna has shown that these were probably derived from Europe originally, and do not form any part of the truly indigenous or ancient Ethiopian fauna. Against these, however, we have the occurrence in North Africa of such purely Palæarctic and non-Ethiopian genera as Ursus, Meles, Putorius, Sus, Cervus, Dama, Capra, Alactaga; together with actual European or West Asiatic species of Canis, Genetta, Felis, Putorius, Lutra, many bats, Sorex, Crocidura, Crossopus, Hystrix, Dipus, Lepus, and Mus. It is admitted that, as regards every other group of animals, North Africa is Palæarctic, and the above enumeration shows that even in Mammalia, the intermixture of what are now true Ethiopian types is altogether insignificant. It must be remembered, also, that the lion inhabited Greece even in historic times, while large carnivora were contemporary with man all over Central Europe.
Birds.—So many of the European birds migrate over large portions of the region, and so many others have a wide permanent range, that we cannot expect to find more than a few genera, consisting of one or two species, each, confined to a sub-region; and such appear to be, Lusciniola and Pyrophthalma, genera of Sylviidæ. But many are characteristic of this, as compared with other Palæarctic sub-regions; such as, Bradyptetus, Aedon, Dromolæa, and Cercomela, among Sylviidæ; Crateropus and Malacocercus, among Timaliidæ; Telophonus among Laniidæ; Certhilauda and Mirafra among larks; Pastor among starlings; Upupa, the hoopoe; Halcyon and Ceryle among kingfishers; Turnix and Caccabis among Gallinæ, and the pheasant as an indigenous bird; together with Gyps, Vultur and Neophron, genera of vultures. In addition to these, almost all our summer migrants spend their winter in some part of this favoured land, mostly in North Africa, together with many species of Central Europe that rarely or never visit us. It follows, that a large proportion of all the birds of Europe and Western Asia are to be found in this sub-region, as will be seen by referring to the list of the genera of the region. Palestine is one of the remote portions of this region which has been well explored by Canon Tristram, and it may be interesting to give his summary of the range of the birds. We must bear in mind that the great depression of the Dead Sea has a tropical climate, which accounts for the presence here only, of such a tropical form as the sun-bird (Nectarinia osea).
The total number of the birds of Palestine is 322, and of these no less than 260 are European, at once settling the question of the general affinities of the fauna. Of the remainder eleven belong to North and East Asia, four to the Red Sea, and thirty-one to East Africa, while twenty-seven are peculiar to Palestine. It is evident therefore that an unusual number of East African birds have extended their range to this congenial district, but most of these are desert species and hardly true Ethiopians, and do not much interfere with the general Palæarctic character of the whole assemblage. As an illustration of how wide-spread are many of the Palæarctic forms, we may add, that seventy-nine species of land birds and fifty-five of water birds, are common to Palestine and Britain. The Oriental and Ethiopian genera Pycnonotus and Nectarinia are found here, while Bessonornis and Dromolæa are characteristically Ethiopian. Almost all the other genera are Palæarctic.
Persia is another remote region generally associated with the idea of Oriental and almost tropical forms, but which yet undoubtedly belongs to the Palæarctic region. Mr. Blanford's recent collections in this country, with other interesting information, is summarised in Mr. Elwes's paper on the "Geographical Distribution of Asiatic Birds" (Proc. Zool. Soc. 1873, p. 647). No less than 127 species are found also in Europe, and thirty-seven others belong to European genera; seven are allied to birds of Central Asia or Siberia, and fifteen to those of North-East Africa, while only three are purely of Indian affinities. This shows a preponderance of nearly nine-tenths of Palæarctic forms, which is fully as much as can be expected in any country near the limits of a great region.
Reptiles and Amphibia.—The climatal conditions being here more favourable to these groups, and the genera being often of limited range, we find some peculiar, and several very interesting forms. Rhinechis, a genus of Colubrine snakes, is found only in South Europe; Trogonophis, one of the Amphisbænians—curious snake-like lizards—is known only from North Africa; Psammosaurus, belonging to the water lizards (Varanidæ) is found in North Africa and North-West India; Psammodromus, a genus of Lacertidæ, is peculiar to South Europe; Hyalosaurus, belonging to the family Zonuridæ, is a lizard of especial interest, as it inhabits North Africa while its nearest ally is the Ophisaurus or "glass snake" of North America; the family of the scinks is represented by Scincus found in North Africa and Arabia. Besides these Seps, a genus of sand lizards (Sepidæ) and Agama, a genus of Agamidæ, are abundant and characteristic.
Of Amphibia we have Seiranota, a genus of salamanders found only in Italy and Dalmatia; Chioglossa, in Portugal, and Geotriton, in Italy, belonging to the same family, are equally peculiar to the sub-region.
Freshwater Fish.—One of the most interesting is Tellia, a genus of Cyprinodontidæ found only in alpine pools in the Atlas mountains. Paraphoxinus, found in South-East Europe, and Chondrostoma, in Europe and Western Asia, genera of Cyprinidæ, seem almost peculiar to this sub-region.
Insects—Lepidoptera.—Two genera of butterflies, Thais and Doritis, are wholly confined to this sub-region, the former ranging over all Southern Europe, the latter confined to Eastern Europe and Asia Minor. Anthocharis and Zegris are very characteristic of it, the latter only extending into South Russia, while Danais, Charaxes, and Libythea are tropical genera unknown in other parts of Europe.
Coleoptera.—This sub-region is very rich in many groups of Coleoptera, of which a few only can be noticed here. Among Carabidæ it possesses Procerus and Procrustes, almost exclusively, while Brachinus, Cymindis, Lebia, Graphipterus, Scarites, Chlænius, Calathus, and many others, are abundant and characteristic. Among Lamellicorns—Copridæ, Glaphyridæ, Melolonthidæ, and Cetoniidæ abound. Buprestidæ are plentiful, the genera Julodis, Acmæodera, Buprestis, and Sphenoptera being characteristic. Among Malacoderms—Cebrionidæ, Lampyridæ, and Malachiidæ abound. The Tenebrioid Heteromera are very varied and abundant, and give a character to the sub-region. The Mylabridæ, Cantharidæ, and Œdemeridæ are also characteristic. Of the immense number of Curculionidæ—Thylacites, Brachycerus, Lixus, and Acalles may be mentioned as among the most prominent. Of Longicorns there are few genera especially characteristic, but perhaps Prinobius, Purpuricenus, Hesperophanes, and Parmena are most so. Of the remaining families, we may mention Clythridæ, Hispidæ, and Cassididæ as being abundant.
The Mediterranean and Atlantic Islands.—The various islands of the Mediterranean are interesting to the student of geographical distribution as affording a few examples of local species of very restricted range, but as a rule they present us with exactly the same forms as those of the adjacent mainland. Their peculiarities do not, therefore, properly come within the scope of this work. The islands of the Atlantic Ocean belonging to this sub-region are, from their isolated position and the various problems they suggest, of much more interest, and their natural history has been carefully studied. We shall therefore give a short account of their peculiar features.
Of the three groups of Atlantic islands belonging to this sub-region, the Canaries are nearest to the Continent, some of the islands being only about fifty miles from the coast of Africa. They are, however, separated from the mainland by a very deep channel (more than 5,000 feet), as shown on our general map. The islands extend over a length of 300 miles; they are very mountainous and wholly volcanic, and the celebrated peak of Teneriffe rises to a height of more than 12,000 feet. The small Madeira group is about 400 miles from the coast of Morocco and 600 from the southern extremity of Portugal; and there is a depth of more than 12,000 feet between it and the continent. The Azores are nearly 1,000 miles west of Lisbon. They are quite alone in mid-Atlantic, the most westerly islands being nearer Newfoundland than Europe, and are surrounded by ocean depths of from 12,000 to 18,000 feet. It will be convenient to take these islands first in order.
Azores.—Considering the remoteness of this group from every other land, it is surprising to find as many as fifty-three species of birds inhabiting or visiting the Azores; and still more to find that they are of Palæarctic genera and, with one exception, all of species found either in Europe, North Africa, Madeira, or the Canaries. The exception is a bullfinch peculiar to the islands, but closely allied to a European species. Of land birds there are twenty-two, belonging to twenty-one genera, all European. These genera are Cerchneis, Buteo, Asio, Strix, Turdus, Oriolus, Erithacus, Sylvia, Regulus, Saxicola, Motacilla, Plectrophanes, Fringilla, Pyrrhula, Serinus, Sturnus, Picus, Upupa, Columba, Caccabis, and Coturnix. Besides the bullfinch (Pyrrhula) other species show slight differences from their European allies, but not such as to render them more than varieties. The only truly indigenous mammal is a bat of a European species. Nine butterflies inhabit the Azores; eight of them are European species, one North American. Of beetles 212 have been collected, of which no less than 175 are European species; of the remainder, nineteen are found in the Canaries or Madeira, three in South America, while fourteen are peculiar to the islands.
Now these facts (for which we are indebted to Mr. Godman's Natural History of the Azores) are both unexpected and exceedingly instructive. In most other cases of remote Oceanic islands, a much larger proportion of the fauna is endemic, or consists of peculiar species and often of peculiar genera; as is well shown by the case of the Galapagos and Juan Fernandez, both much nearer to a continent and both containing peculiar genera and species of birds. Now we know that the cause and meaning of this difference is, that in the one case the original immigration is very remote and has never or very rarely been repeated, so that under the unchecked influence of new conditions of life the species have become modified; in the other case, either the original immigration has been recent, or if remote has been so frequently repeated that the new comers have kept up the purity of the stock, and have not allowed time for the new conditions to produce the effect we are sure they would in time produce if not counteracted. For Mr. Godman tells us that many of the birds are modified—instancing the gold-crested wren, blackcap, and rock dove—and he adds, that the modification all tends in one direction—to produce a more sombre plumage, a greater strength of feet and legs, and a more robust bill. We further find, that four of the land-birds, including the oriole, snow-bunting, and hoopoe, are not resident birds, but straggle accidentally to the islands by stress of weather; and we are told that every year some fresh birds are seen after violent storms. Add to this the fact, that the number of species diminishes in the group as we go from east to west, and that the islands are subject to fierce and frequent storms blowing from every point of the compass,—and we have all the facts requisite to enable us to understand how this remote archipelago has become stocked with animal life without ever probably being much nearer to Europe than it is now. For the islands are all volcanic, the only stratified rock that occurs being believed to be of Miocene date.
Madeira and the Canaries.—Coming next to Madeira, we find the number of genera of land birds has increased to twenty-eight, of which seventeen are identical with those of the Azores. Some of the commonest European birds—swallows, larks, sparrows, linnets, goldfinches, ravens, and partridges, are among the additions. A gold-crested warbler, Regulus Maderensis, and a pigeon, Columba Trocaz, are peculiar to Madeira.
In the Canaries we find that the birds have again very much increased, there being more than fifty genera of land birds; but the additions are wholly European in character, and almost all common European species. We find a few more peculiar species (five), while some others, including the wild canary, are common to all the Atlantic Islands or to the Canaries and Madeira. Here, too, the only indigenous mammalia are two European species of bats.
Land Shells.—The land shells of Madeira offer us an instructive contrast to the birds of the Atlantic Islands. About fifty-six species have been found in Madeira, and forty-two in the small adjacent island of Porto Santo, but only twelve are common to both, and all or almost all are distinct from their nearest allies in Europe and North Africa. Great numbers of fossil shells are also found in deposits of the Newer Pliocene period; and although these comprise many fresh species, the two faunas and that of the continent still remain almost as distinct from each other as before. It has been already stated (p. 31) that the means by which land mollusca have been carried across arms of the sea are unknown, although several modes may be suggested; but it is evidently a rare event, requiring some concurrence of favourable conditions not always present. The diversity and specialization of the forms of these animals is, therefore, easily explained by the fact, that, once introduced they have been left to multiply under the influence of a variety of local conditions, which inevitably lead, in the course of ages, to the formation of new varieties and new species.
Coleoptera.—The beetles of Madeira and the Canaries have been so carefully collected and examined by Mr. T. V. Wollaston, and those of the Azores described and compared by Mr. Crotch, and they illustrate so many curious points in geographical distribution, that it is necessary to give some account of them. No less than 1,480 species of beetles have been obtained from the Canaries and Madeira, only 360 of which are European, the remainder being peculiar to the islands. The Canaries are inhabited by a little over 1,000 species, Madeira by about 700, while 240 are common to both; but it is believed that many of these have been introduced by man. In the Azores, 212 species have been obtained, of which 175 are European; showing, as in the birds, as closer resemblance to the European fauna than in the other islands which, although nearer to the continent, offer more shelter and are situated in a less tempestuous zone. Of the non-European species in the Azores, 19 are found also in the other groups of islands, 14 are peculiar, while 3 are American. Of the European species, 132 are found also in the other Atlantic islands, while 43 have reached the Azores only. This is interesting as showing to how great an extent the same insects reach all the islands, notwithstanding the difference of latitude and position; and it becomes of great theoretical importance, when we find how many extensive families and genera are altogether absent.
The Madeira group has been more thoroughly explored than any other, and its comparatively remote situation, combined with its luxuriant vegetation, have been favourable to the development and increase of the peculiar forms which characterize all the Atlantic islands in a more or less marked degree. A consideration of some of its peculiarities will, therefore, best serve to show the bearing of the facts presented by the insect fauna of the Atlantic islands, on the general laws of distribution. The 711 species of beetles now known from the Madeira group, belong to 236 genera; and no less than 44 of these genera are not European but are peculiar to the Atlantic islands. Most of them are, however, closely allied to European genera, of which they are evidently modifications. A most curious general feature presented by the Madeiran beetles, is the total absence of many whole families and large genera abundant in South Europe. Such are the Cicindelidæ, or tiger beetles; the Melolonthidæ, or chafers; the Cetoniidæ, or rose-chafers; the Eumolpidæ and Galerucidæ, large families of Phytophagous, or leaf-eating beetles; and also the extensive groups of Elateridæ and Buprestidæ, which are each represented by but one minute species. Of extensive genera abundant in South Europe, but wholly absent in Madeira, are Carabus, Rhizotrogus, Lampyris, and other genera of Malacoderms; Otiorhynchus, Brachycerus, and 20 other genera of Curculionidæ, comprising more than 300 South European and North African species; Pimelia, Tentyra, Blaps, and 18 other genera of Heteromera, comprising about 550 species in South Europe and North Africa; and Timarcha, containing 44 South European and North African species.
Another most remarkable feature of the Madeiran Coleoptera is the unusual prevalence of apterous or wingless insects. This is especially the case with groups which are confined to the Atlantic islands, many of which consist wholly of wingless species; but it also affects the others, no less than twenty-two genera which are usually or sometimes winged in Europe, having only wingless species in Madeira; and even the same species which is winged in Europe becomes, in at least three cases, wingless in Madeira, without any other perceptible change having taken place. But there is another most curious fact noticed by Mr. Wollaston; that those species which possess wings in Madeira, often have them rather larger than their allies in Europe. These two facts were connected by Mr. Darwin, who suggested that flying insects are much more exposed to be blown out to sea and lost, than those which do not fly (and Mr. Wollaston had himself supposed that the "stormy atmosphere" of Madeira had something to do with the matter); so that the most frequent fliers would be continually weeded out, while the more sluggish individuals, who either could not or would not fly, remained to continue the race; and this process going on from generation to generation, would, on the well-ascertained principles of selection and abortion by disuse, in time lead to the entire loss of wings by those insects to whom wings were not a necessity. But those whose wings were essential to their existence would be acted upon in another way. All these must fly to obtain their food or provide for their offspring, and those that flew best would be best able to battle with the storms, and keep themselves safe, and thus those with the longest and most powerful wings would be preserved. If however all the individuals of the species were too weak on the wing to resist the storms, they would soon become extinct.
Now this explanation of the facts is not only simple and probable in itself, but it also serves to explain in a remarkable manner some of the peculiarities and deficiencies of the Madeiran insect fauna, in harmony with the view (supported by the distribution of the birds and land shells, and in particular by the immigrant birds and insects of the Azores) that all the insects have been derived from the continent or from other islands, by immigration across the ocean, in various ways and during a long period. These deficiencies are, on the other hand, quite inconsistent with the theory (still held by some entomologists) that a land communication is absolutely necessary to account for the origin of the Madeiran fauna.
First, then, we can understand how the tiger-beetles (Cicindelidæ) are absent; since they are insects which have a short weak flight, but yet to whom flight is necessary. If a few had been blown over to Madeira, they would soon have become exterminated. The same thing applies to the Melolonthidæ, Cetoniidæ, Eumolpidæ, and Galerucidæ,—all flower and foliage-haunting insects, yet bulky and of comparatively feeble powers of flight. Again, all the large genera abundant in South Europe, which have been mentioned above as absent from Madeira, are wholly apterous (or without wings), and thus their absence is a most significant fact; for it proves that in the case of all insects of moderate size, flight was essential to their reaching the island, which could not have been the case had there been a land connection. There are, however, one or two curious exceptions to the absence of these wholly apterous European genera in Madeira, and as in each case the reason of their being exceptions can be pointed out, they are eminently exceptions that prove the rule. Two of the apterous species common to Europe and Madeira are found always in ants' nests; and as ants, when winged, fly in great swarms and are carried by the wind to great distances, they may have conveyed the minute eggs of these very small beetles. Two European species of Blaps occur in Madeira, but these are house beetles, and are admitted to have been introduced by man. There are also three species of Meloe, of which two are European and one peculiar. These are large, sluggish, wingless insects, but they have a most extraordinary and exceptional metamorphosis, the larvae in the first state being minute active insects parasitic on bees, and thus easily conveyed across the ocean. This case is most suggestive, as it accounts for what would be otherwise a difficult anomaly. Another case, not quite so easily explained, is that of the genus Acalles, which is very abundant in all the Atlantic islands and also occurs in South Europe, but is always apterous. It is however closely allied to another genus, Cryptorhynchus, which is apterous in some species, winged in others. We may therefore well suppose that the ancestors of Acalles were once in the same condition, and that some of the winged forms reached Madeira, the genus having since become wholly apterous.
We may look at this curious subject in another way. The Coleoptera of Madeira may be divided into those which are found also in Europe or the other islands, and those which are peculiar to it. On the theory of introduction by accidental immigration across the sea, the latter must be the more ancient, since they have had time to become modified; while the former are comparatively recent, and their introduction may be supposed to be now going on. The peculiar influence of Madeira in aborting the wings should, therefore, have acted on the ancient and changed forms much more powerfully than on the recent and unchanged forms. On carefully comparing the two sets of insects (omitting those which have almost certainly been introduced by man) we find, that out of 263 species which have a wide range, only 14 are apterous; while the other class, consisting of 393 species, has no less than 178 apterous; or about 5 per cent in the one case, and 45 per cent in the other. On the theory of a land connection as the main agent in introducing the fauna, both groups must have been introduced at or about the same time, and why one set should have lost their wings and the other not, is quite inexplicable.
Taking all these singular facts, in connection with the total absence of all truly indigenous terrestrial mammalia and reptiles from these islands—even from the extensive group of the Canaries so comparatively near to the continent, we are forced to reject the theory of a land connection as quite untenable; and this view becomes almost demonstrated by the case of the Azores, which being so much further off, and surrounded by such a vast expanse of deep ocean, could only have been connected with Europe at a far remoter epoch, and ought therefore to exhibit to us a fauna composed almost entirely of peculiar forms both of birds and insects. Yet, so far from this being the case, the facts are exactly the reverse. Far more of the birds and insects are identical with those of Europe than in the other islands, and this difference is clearly traced to the more tempestuous atmosphere, which is shown to be even now annually bringing fresh immigrants (both birds and insects) to its shores. We here see nature actually at work; and if the case of Madeira rendered her mode of action probable, that of the Azores may be said to demonstrate it.
Mr. Wollaston has objected to this view that "storms and hurricanes" are somewhat rare in the latitude of Madeira and the Canaries; but this little affects the question, since the time allowed for such operations is so ample. If but one very violent storm happened in a century, and ten such storms recurred before a single species of insect was introduced into Madeira, that would be more than sufficient to people it, as we now find it, with a varied fauna. But he also adds the important information that the ordinary winds blow almost uninterruptedly from the north-east, so that there would be always a chance of a little stronger wind than usual bringing insect, or larva, or egg, attached to leaves or twigs. Neither Mr. Wollaston, Mr. Crotch, Mr. A. Murray, nor any other naturalist who upholds the land-connection theory, has attempted to account for the fact of the absence of so many extensive groups of insects that ought to be present, as well as of all small mammalia and reptiles.
Cape Verd Islands.—There is yet another group of Atlantic islands which is very little known, and which is usually considered to be altogether African—the Cape Verd Islands, situated between 300 and 400 miles west of Senegal, and a little to the south of the termination of the Sahara. The evidence that we possess as to the productions of these islands, shows that, like the preceding groups, they are truly oceanic, and have probably derived their fauna from the desert and the Canaries to the north-east of them rather than from the fertile and more truly Ethiopian districts of Senegal and Gambia to the east. There is a mingling of the two faunas, but the preponderance seems to be undoubtedly with the Palæarctic rather than with the Ethiopian. I owe to Mr. R. B. Sharpe of the British Museum, a MS. list of the birds of these islands, twenty-three species in all. Of these eight are of wide distribution and may be neglected. Seven are undoubted Palæarctic species, viz.:—Milvus ictinus, Sylvia atricapilla, S. conspicillata, Corvus corone, Passer salicarius, Certhilauda desertorum, Columba livia. Three are peculiar species, but of Palæarctic genera and affinities, viz.:—Calamoherpe brevipennis, Ammomanes cinctura, and Passer jagoensis. Against this we have to set two West African species, Estrilda cinerea and Numida meleagris, both of which were probably introduced by man; and three which are of Ethiopian genera and affinities, viz.:—Halcyon erythrorhyncha, closely allied to H. semicærulea of Arabia and North-east Africa, and therefore almost Palæarctic; Accipiter melanoleucus; and Pyrrhulauda nigriceps, an Ethiopian form; but the same species occurs in the Canaries.
The Coleoptera of these islands have been also collected by Mr. Wollaston, and he finds that they have generally the same European character as those of the Canaries and Madeira, several of the peculiar Atlantic genera, such as Acalles and Hegeter, occurring, while others are represented by new but closely allied genera. Out of 275 species 91 were found also in the Canaries and 81 in the Madeiran group; a wonderful amount of similarity when we consider the distance and isolation of these islands and their great diversity of climate and vegetation.
This connection of the four groups of Atlantic islands now referred to, receives further support from the occurrence of land-shells of the subgenus Leptaxis in all the groups, as well as in Majorca; and by another subgenus, Hemicycla, being common to the Canaries and Cape Verd islands. Combining these several classes of facts, we seem justified in extending the Mediterranean sub-region to include the Cape Verd Islands.
III.—The Siberian Sub-region, or Northern Asia.
This large and comparatively little-known subdivision of the Palæarctic region, extends from the Caspian Sea to Kamschatka and Behring's Straits, a distance of about 4,000 miles; and from the shores of the Arctic Ocean to the high Himalayas of Sikhim in North Latitude 29°, on the same parallel as Delhi. To the east of the Caspian Sea and the Ural Mountains is a great extent of lowland which is continued round the northern coast, becoming narrower as it approaches the East Cape. Beyond this, in a general E.N.E. direction, rise hills and uplands, soon becoming lofty mountains, which extend in an unbroken line from the Hindu Koosh, through the Thian Shan, Altai and Yablonoi Mountains, to the Stanovoi range in the north-eastern extremity of Asia. South of this region is a great central basin, which is almost wholly desert; beyond which again is the vast plateau of Thibet, with the Kuenlun, Karakorum, and Himalayan snow-capped ranges, forming the most extensive elevated district on the globe.
The superficial aspects of this vast territory, as determined by its vegetable covering, are very striking and well contrasted. A broad tract on the northern coast, varying from 150 to 300 and even 500 miles wide, is occupied by the Tundras or barrens, where nothing grows but mosses and the dwarfest Arctic plants, and where the ground is permanently frozen to a great depth. This tract has its greatest southern extension between the rivers Obi and Yenesi, where it reaches the parallel of 60° north latitude. Next to this comes a vast extent of northern forests, mostly of conifers in the more northern and lofty situations, while deciduous trees preponderate in the southern portions and in the more sheltered valleys. The greatest extension of this forest region is north of Lake Baikal, where it is more than 1,200 miles wide. These forests extend along the mountain ranges to join those of the Hindu Koosh. South of the forests the remainder of the sub-region consists of open pasture-lands and vast intervening deserts, of which the Gobi, and those of Turkestan between the Aral and Balkash lakes, are the most extensive. The former is nearly 1,000 miles long, with a width of from 200 to 350 miles, and is almost as complete a desert as the Sahara.
With very few exceptions, this vast territory is exposed to an extreme climate, inimical to animal life. All the lower parts being situated to the north, have an excessively cold winter, so that the limit of constantly frozen ground descends below the parallel of 60° north latitude. To the south, the land is greatly elevated, and the climate extremely dry. In summer the heat is excessive, while the winter is almost as severe as further north. The whole country, too, is subject to violent storms, both in summer and winter; and the rich vegetation that clothes the steppes in spring, is soon parched up and replaced by dusty plains. Under these adverse influences we cannot expect animal life to be so abundant as in those sub-regions subject to more favourable physical conditions; yet the country is so extensive and so varied, that it does actually, as we shall see, possess a very considerable and interesting fauna.
Mammalia.—Four genera seem to be absolutely confined to this sub-region, Nectogale, a peculiar form of the mole family (Talpidæ); Poephagus, the yak, or hairy bison of Thibet; with Procapra and Pantholops, Thibetan antelopes. Some others more especially belong here, although they just enter Europe, as Saiga, the Tartarian antelope; Sminthus, a desert rat;, and Ellobius, a burrowing mole-rat; while Myospalax, a curious rodent allied to the voles, is found only in the Altai mountains and North China; and Moschus, the musk-deer, is almost confined to this sub-region. Among the characteristic animals of the extreme north, are Mustela, and Martes, including the ermine and sable; Gulo, the glutton; Tarandus, the reindeer; Myodes, the lemming; with the lynx, arctic fox, and polar bear; and here, in the Post-pliocene epoch, ranged the hairy rhinoceros and Siberian mammoth, whose entire bodies still remain preserved in the ice-cliffs near the mouths of the great rivers. Farther south, species of wild cat, bear, wolf, deer, and pika (Lagomys) abound; while in the mountains we find wild goats and sheep of several species, and in the plains and deserts wild horses and asses, gazelles, two species of antelopes, flying squirrels (Pteromys), ground squirrels (Tamias), marmots, of the genus Spermophilus, with camels and dromedaries, probably natives of the south-western part of this sub-region. The most abundant and conspicuous of the mammalia are the great herds of reindeer in the north, the wolves of the steppes, with the wild horses, goats, sheep, and antelopes of the plateaus and mountains.
Among the curiosities of this sub-region we must notice the seal, found in the inland and freshwater lake Baikal, at an elevation of about 2,000 feet above the sea. It is a species of Callocephalus, closely allied to, if not identical with, one inhabiting northern seas as well as the Caspian and Lake Aral. This would indicate that almost all northern Asia was depressed beneath the sea very recently; and Mr. Belt's view, of the ice during the glacial epoch having dammed up the rivers and converted much of Siberia into a vast freshwater or brackish lake, perhaps offers the best solution of the difficulty.
Plate II.—Characteristic Mammalia of Western Tartary.—Several of the most remarkable animals of the Palæarctic region inhabit Western Tartary, and are common to the European and Siberian sub-regions. We therefore choose this district for one of our illustrative plates. The large animals in the centre are the remarkable saiga antelopes (Saiga Tartarica), distinguished from all others by a large and fleshy proboscis-like nose, which gives them a singular appearance. They differ so much from all other antelopes that they have been formed into a distinct family by some naturalists, but are here referred to the great family Bovidæ. They inhabit the open plains from Poland to the Irtish River. On the left is the mole-rat, or sand-rat (Spalax murinus). This animal burrows under ground like a mole, feeding on bulbous roots. It inhabits the same country as the saiga, but extends farther south in Europe. On the right is a still more curious animal, the desman (Myogale Muscovitica), a long-snouted water-mole. This creature is fifteen inches long, including the tail; it burrows in the banks of streams, feeding on insects, worms, and leeches; it swims well, and remains long under water, raising the tip of the snout, where the nostrils are situated, to the surface when it wants to breathe. It is thus well concealed; and this may be one use of the development of the long snout, as well as serving to follow worms into their holes in the soft earth. This species is confined to the rivers Volga and Don in Southern Russia, and the only other species known inhabits some of the valleys on the north side of the Pyrenees. In the distance are wolves, a characteristic feature of these wastes.
CHARACTERISTIC MAMMALIA OF WESTERN TARTARY.
Birds.—But few genera of birds are absolutely restricted to this sub-region. Podoces, a curious form of starling, is the most decidedly so; Mycerobas and Pyrrhospiza are genera of finches confined to Thibet and the snowy Himalayas; Leucosticte, another genus of finches, is confined to the eastern half of the sub-region and North America; Tetraogallus, a large kind of partridge, ranges west to the Caucasus; Syrrhaptes, a form of sand-grouse, and Lerwa (snow-partridge), are almost confined here, only extending into the next sub-region; as do Grandala, and Calliope, genera of warblers, Uragus, a finch allied to the North American cardinals, and Crossoptilon, a remarkable group of pheasants.
Almost all the genera of central and northern Europe are found here, and give quite a European character to the ornithology, though a considerable number of the species are different. There are a few Oriental forms, such as Abrornis and Larvivora (warblers); with Ceriornis and Ithaginis, genera of pheasants, which reach the snow-line in the Himalayas and thus just enter this sub-region, but as they do not penetrate farther north, they hardly serve to modify the exclusively Palæarctic character of its ornithology.
According to Middendorf, the extreme northern Asiatic birds are the Alpine ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus); the snow-bunting (Plectrophanes nivalis); the raven, the gyrfalcon and the snowy-owl. Those which are characteristic of the barren "tundras," but which do not range so far north as the preceding are,—the willow-grouse (Lagopus albus); the Lapland-bunting (Plectrophanes lapponica); the shore-lark (Otocorys alpestris); the sand-martin (Cotyle riparia), and the sea-eagle (Haliæetus albicilla).
Those which are more characteristic of the northern forests, and which do not pass beyond them, are—the linnet; two crossbills (Loxia Leucoptera and L. Curvirostra); the pine grosbeak (Pinicola enucleator); the waxwing; the common magpie; the common swallow; the peregrine falcon; the rough-legged buzzard; and three species of owls.
Fully one-half of the land-birds of Siberia are identical with those of Europe, the remainder being mostly representative species peculiar to Northern Asia, with a few stragglers and immigrants from China and Japan or the Himalayas. A much larger proportion of the wading and aquatic families are European or Arctic, these groups having always a wider range than land birds.
Reptiles and Amphibia.—From the nature of the country and climate these are comparatively few, but in the more temperate districts snakes and lizards seem to be not uncommon. Halys, a genus of Crotaline snakes, and Phrynocephalus, lizards of the family Agamidæ, are characteristic of these parts. Simotes, a snake of the family Oligodontidæ, reaches an elevation of 16,000 feet in the Himalayas, and therefore enters this sub-region.
Insects.—Mesapia and Hypermnestra, genera of Papilionidæ, are butterflies peculiar to this sub-region; and Parnassius is as characteristic as it is of our European mountains. Carabidæ are also abundant, as will be seen by referring to the Chapter on the Distribution of Insects in the succeeding part of this work. The insects, on the whole, have a strictly European character, although a large proportion of the species are peculiar, and several new genera appear.
IV.—Japan and North China, or the Manchurian Sub-region.
This is an interesting and very productive district, corresponding in the east to the Mediterranean sub-region in the west, or rather perhaps to all western temperate Europe. Its limits are not very well defined, but it probably includes all Japan; the Corea and Manchuria to the Amour river and to the lower slopes of the Khingan and Peling mountains; and China to the Nanlin mountains south of the Yang-tse-kiang. On the coast of China the dividing line between it and the Oriental region seems to be somewhere about Foo-chow, but as there is here no natural barrier, a great intermingling of northern and southern forms takes place.
Japan is volcanic and mountainous, with a fine climate and a most luxuriant and varied vegetation. Manchuria is hilly, with a high range of mountains on the coast, and some desert tracts in the interior, but fairly wooded in many parts. Much of northern China is a vast alluvial plain, backed by hills and mountains with belts of forest, above which are the dry and barren uplands of Mongolia. We have a tolerable knowledge of China, of Japan, and of the Amoor valley, but very little of Corea and Manchuria. The recent researches of Père David in Moupin, in east Thibet, said to be between 31° and 32° north latitude, show, that the fauna of the Oriental region here advances northward along the flanks of the Yun-ling mountains (a continuation of the Himalayas); since he found at different altitudes representatives of the Indo-Chinese, Manchurian, and Siberian faunas. On the higher slopes of the Himalayas, there must be a narrow strip from about 8,000 to 11,000 feet elevation intervening between the tropical fauna of the Indo-Chinese sub-region and the almost arctic fauna of Thibet; and the animals of this zone will for the most part belong to the fauna of temperate China and Manchuria, except in the extreme west towards Cashmere, where the Mediterranean fauna will in like manner intervene. On a map of sufficiently large scale, therefore, it would be necessary to extend our present sub-region westward along the Himalayas, in a narrow strip just below the upper limits of forests. It is evident that the large number of Fringillidæ, Corvidæ, Troglodytidæ, and Paridæ, often of south Palæarctic forms, that abound in the higher Himalayas, are somewhat out of place as members of the Oriental fauna, and are equally so in that of Thibet and Siberia; but they form a natural portion of that of North China on the one side, or of South Europe on the other.
Mammalia.—This sub-region contains a number of peculiar and very interesting forms, most of which have been recently discovered by Père David in North and West China and East Thibet. The following are the peculiar genera:—Rhinopithecus, a sub-genus of monkeys, here classed under Semnopithecus; Anurosorex, Scaptochirus, Uropsilus and Scaptonyx, new forms of Talpidæ or moles; Æluropus (Æluridæ); Nyctereutes (Canidæ); Lutronectes (Mustelidæ); Cricetulus (Muridæ); Hydropotes, Moschus, and Elaphodus (Cervidæ). The Rhinopithecus appears to be a permanent inhabitant of the highest forests of Moupin, in a cold climate. It has a very thick fur, as has also a new species of Macacus found in the same district. North China and East Thibet seem to be very rich in Insectivora. Scaptochirus is like a mole; Uropsilus between the Japanese Urotrichus and Sorex; Scaptonyx between Urotrichus and Talpa. Æluropus seems to be the most remarkable mammal discovered by Père David. It is allied to the singular panda (Ælurus fulgens) of Nepal, but is as large as a bear, the body wholly white, with the feet, ears, and tip of the tail black. It inhabits the highest forests, and is therefore a true Palæarctic animal, as most likely is the Ælurus. Nyctereutes, a curious racoon-like dog, ranges from Canton to North China, the Amoor and Japan, and therefore seems to come best in this sub-region; Hydropotes and Lophotragus are small hornless deer confined to North China; Elaphodus, from East Thibet, is another peculiar form of deer; while the musk deer (Moschus) is confined to this sub-region and the last. Besides the above, the following Palæarctic genera were found by Père David in this sub-region: Macacus: five genera or sub-genera of bats (Vespertilio, Vesperus, Vesperugo, Rhinolophus, and Murina); Erinaceus, Nectogale, Talpa, Crocidura and Sorex, among Insectivora; Mustela, Putorius, Martes, Lutra, Viverra, Meles, Ælurus, Ursus, Felis, and Canis, among Carnivora; Hystrix, Arctomys, Myospalax, Spermophilus, Gerbillus, Dipus, Lagomys, Lepus, Sciurus, Pteromys, Arvicola, and Mus, among Rodentia; Budorcas, Nemorhedus, Antilope, Ovis, Moschus, Cervulus and Cervus among Ruminants; and the wide-spread Sus or wild boar. The following Oriental genera are also included in Père David's list, but no doubt occur only in the lowlands and warm valleys, and can hardly be considered to belong to the Palæarctic region: Paguma, Helictis, Arctonyx, Rhizomys, Manis. The Rhizomys from Moupin is a peculiar species of this tropical genus, but all the others inhabit Southern China.
A few additional forms occur in Japan: Urotrichus, a peculiar Mole, which is found also in north-west America; Enhydra, the sea otter of California; and the dormouse (Myoxus). Japan also possesses peculiar species of Macacus, Talpa, Meles, Canis, and Sciuropterus.
It will be seen that this sub-region is remarkably rich in Insectivora, of which it possesses ten genera; and that it has also several peculiar forms of Carnivora, Rodentia, and Ruminants.
Birds.—To give an accurate idea of the ornithology of this sub-region is very difficult, both on account of its extreme richness and the impossibility of defining the limits between it and the Oriental region. A considerable number of genera which are well developed in the high Himalayas, and some which are peculiar to that district, have hitherto always been classed as Indian, and therefore Oriental groups; but they more properly belong to this sub-region. Many of them frequent the highest forests, or descend into the Himalayan temperate zone only in winter; and others are so intimately connected with Palæarctic species, that they can only be considered as stragglers into the border land of the Oriental region. On these principles we consider the following genera to be confined to this sub-region:—
Grandala, Nemura (Sylviidæ); Pterorhinus (Timaliidæ); Cholornis, Conostoma, Heteromorpha (Panuridæ); Cyanoptila (Muscicapidæ); Eophona (Fringillidæ); Dendrotreron (Columbidæ); Lophophorus, Tetraophasis, Crossoptilon, Pucrasia, Thaumalea, and Ithaginis (Phasianidæ). This may be called the sub-region of Pheasants; for the above six genera, comprising sixteen species of the most magnificent birds in the world, are all confined to the temperate or cold mountainous regions of the Himalayas, Thibet, and China; and in addition we have most of the species of tragopan (Ceriornis), and some of the true pheasants (Phasianus).
The most abundant and characteristic of the smaller birds are warblers, tits, and finches, of Palæarctic types; but there are also a considerable number of Oriental forms which penetrate far into the country, and mingling with the northern birds give a character to the Ornithology of this sub-region very different from that of the Mediterranean district at the western end of the region. Leaving out a large number of wide-ranging groups, this mixture of types may be best exhibited by giving lists of the more striking Palæarctic and Oriental genera which are here found intermingled.
In the above lists there are rather more Oriental than Palæarctic genera; but it must be remembered that most of the former are summer migrants only, or stragglers just entering the sub-region; whereas the great majority of the latter are permanent residents, and a large proportion of them range over the greater part of the Manchurian district. Many of those in the Oriental column should perhaps be omitted, as we have no exact determination of their range, and the limits of the regions are very uncertain. It must be remembered, too, that the Palæarctic genera of Sylviidæ, Paridæ, and Fringillidæ, are often represented by numerous species, whereas the corresponding Oriental genera have for the most part only single species; and we shall then find that, except towards the borders of the Oriental region the Palæarctic element is strongly predominant. Four of the more especially Oriental groups are confined to Japan, the southern extremity of which should perhaps come in the Oriental region. The great richness of this sub-region compared with that of Siberia is well shown by the fact, that a list of all the known land-birds of East Siberia, including Dahuria and the comparatively fertile Amoor Valley, contains only 190 species; whereas Père David's catalogue of the birds of Northern China with adjacent parts of East Thibet and Mongolia (a very much smaller area) contains for the same families 366 species. Of the Siberian birds more than 50 per cent, are European species, while those of the Manchurian sub-region comprise about half that proportion of land-birds which are identical with those of Europe.
Japan is no doubt very imperfectly known, as only 134 land-birds are recorded from it. Of these twenty-two are peculiar species, a number that would probably be diminished were the Corea to be explored. Of the genera, only nine are Indo-Malayan, while forty-three are Palæarctic.
Plate III.—Scene on the Borders of North-West China and Mongolia with Characteristic Mammalia and Birds.—The mountainous districts of Northern China, with the adjacent portions of Thibet and Mongolia, are the head-quarters of the pheasant tribe, many of the most beautiful and remarkable species being found there only. In the north-western provinces of China and the southern parts of Mongolia may be found the species figured. That in the foreground is the superb golden pheasant (Thaumalea picta), a bird that can hardly be surpassed for splendour of plumage by any denizen of the tropics. The large bird perched above is the eared pheasant (Crossoptilon auritum), a species of comparatively sober plumage but of remarkable and elegant form. In the middle distance is Pallas's sand grouse (Syrrhaptes paradoxus), a curious bird, whose native country seems to be the high plains of Northern Asia, but which often abounds near Pekin, and in 1863 astonished European ornithologists by appearing in considerable numbers in Central and Western Europe, in every part of Great Britain, and even in Ireland.
CHARACTERISTIC ANIMALS OF NORTH CHINA.
The quadruped figured is the curious racoon dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides), an animal confined to North China, Japan, and the Amoor Valley, and having no close allies in any other part of the globe. In the distance are some deer, a group of animals very abundant and varied in this part of the Palæarctic region.
Reptiles and Amphibia.—Reptiles are scarce in North China, only four or five species of snakes, a lizard and one of the Geckotidæ occurring in the country round Pekin. The genus Halys is the most characteristic form of snake, while Callophis, an oriental genus, extends to Japan. Among lizards, Plestiodon, Maybouya, Tachydromus, and Gecko reach Japan, the two latter being very characteristic of the Oriental region.
Amphibia are more abundant and interesting; Hynobius, Onychodactylus, and Sieboldia (Salamandridæ) being peculiar to it, while most of the European genera are also represented.
Fresh-water Fish.—Of these there are a few peculiar genera; as Plecoglossus (Salmonidæ) from Japan; Achilognathus, Pseudoperilampus, Ochetobius, and Opsariichthys (Cyprinidæ); and there are many other Chinese Cyprinidæ belonging to the border land of the Palæarctic and Oriental regions.
Insects.—The butterflies of this sub-region exhibit the same mixture of tropical and temperate forms as the birds. Most of the common European genera are represented, and there are species of Parnassius in Japan and the Amoor. Isodema, a peculiar genus of Nymphalidæ is found near Ningpo, just within our limits; and Sericinus, one of the most beautiful genera of Papilionidæ is peculiar to North China, where four species occur, thus balancing the Thais and Doritis of Europe. The genus Zephyrus (Lycænidæ) is well represented by six species in Japan and the Amoor, against two in Europe. Papilio paris and P. bianor, magnificent insects of wholly tropical appearance, abound near Pekin, and allied forms inhabit Japan and the Amoor, as well as P. demetrius and P. alcinous belonging to the "Protenor" group of the Himalayas. Other tropical genera occurring in Japan, the Amoor, or North China are, Debis, Neope, Mycalesis, Ypthima (Satyridæ); Thaumantis (Morphidæ), at Shanghae; Euripus, Neptis, Athyma (Nymphalidæ); Terias (Pieridæ); and the above-mentioned Papilionidæ.
Coleoptera.—The beetles of Japan decidedly exhibit a mixture of tropical forms with others truly Palæarctic, and it has been with some naturalists a matter of doubt whether the southern and best known portion of the islands should not be joined to the Oriental region. An important addition to our knowledge of the insects of this country has recently been made by Mr. George Lewis, and a portion of his collections have been described by various entomologists in the Transactions of the Entomological Society of London. As the question is one of considerable interest we shall give a summary of the results fairly deducible from what is now known of the entomology of Japan; and it must be remembered that almost all our collections come from the southern districts, in what is almost a sub-tropical climate; so that if we find a considerable proportion of Palæarctic forms, we may be pretty sure that the preponderance will be much greater a little further north.
Of Carabidæ Mr. Bates enumerates 244 species belonging to 84 genera, and by comparing these with the Coleoptera of a tract of about equal extent in western Europe, he concludes that there is little similarity, and that the cases of affinity to the forms of eastern tropical Asia preponderate. By comparing his genera with the distributions as given in Gemminger and Harold's Catalogue, a somewhat different result is arrived at. Leaving out the generic types altogether peculiar to Japan, and also those genera of such world-wide distribution that they afford no clear indications for our purpose, it appears that no less than twenty-two genera, containing seventy-four of the Japanese species, are either exclusively Palæarctic, Palæarctic and Nearctic, or highly characteristic of the Palæarctic region; then come thirteen genera containing eighty-seven of the species which have a very wide distribution, but are also Palæarctic: we next have seventeen genera containing twenty-four of the Japanese species which are decidedly Oriental and tropical. Here then the fair comparison is between the twenty-two genera and seventy-four species whose affinities are clearly Palæarctic or at least north temperate, and seventeen genera with twenty-four species which are Asiatic and tropical; and this seems to prove that, although South Japan (like North China) has a considerable infusion of tropical forms, there is a preponderating substratum of Palæarctic forms, which clearly indicate the true position of the islands in zoological geography. There are also a few cases of what may be called eccentric distribution; which show that Japan, like many other island-groups, has served as a kind of refuge in which dying-out forms continue to maintain themselves. These, which are worthy of notice, are as follows: Orthotrichus (1 sp.) has the only other species in Egypt; Trechichus (1 sp.) has two other species, of which one inhabits Madeira, the other the Southern United States; Perileptus (1 sp.) has two other species, of which one inhabits Bourbon, the other West Europe; and lastly, Crepidogaster (1 sp.) has the other known species in South Africa. These cases diminish the value of the indications afforded by some of the Japanese forms, whose only allies are single species in various remote parts of the Oriental region.
The Staphylinidæ have been described by Dr. Sharp, and his list exhibits a great preponderance of north temperate, or cosmopolitan forms, with a few which are decidedly tropical. The Pselaphidæ and Scydmenidæ, also described by Dr. Sharp, exhibit, according to that gentleman, "even a greater resemblance to those of North America than to those of Europe," but he says nothing of any tropical affinities. The water-beetles are all either Palæarctic or of wide distribution.
The Lucanidæ (Gemm. and Har. Cat., 1868) exhibit an intermingling of Palæarctic and Oriental genera.
The Cetoniidæ (Gemm. and Har. Cat., 1869) show, for North China and Japan, three Oriental to two Palæarctic genera.
The Buprestidæ collected by Mr. Lewis have been described by Mr. Edward Saunders in the Journal of the Linnæan Society, vol. xi. p. 509. The collection consisted of thirty-six species belonging to fourteen genera. No less than thirteen of these are known also from India and the Malay Islands; nine from Europe; seven from Africa; six from America, and four from China. In six of the genera the Japanese species are said to be allied to those of the Oriental region; while in three they are allied to European forms, and in two to American. Considering the southern latitude and warm climate in which these insects were mostly collected, and the proximity to Formosa and the Malay Islands compared with the enormous distance from Europe, this shows as much Palæarctic affinity as can be expected. In the Palæarctic region the group is only plentiful in the southern parts of Europe, which is cut off by the cold plateau of Thibet from all direct communication with Japan; while in the Oriental region it everywhere abounds and is, in fact, one of the most conspicuous and dominant families of Coleoptera.
The Longicorns collected by Mr. Lewis have been described by Mr. Bates in the Annals of Natural History for 1873. The number of species now known from Japan is 107, belonging to sixty-four genera. The most important genera are Leptura, Clytanthus, Monohammus, Praonetha, Exocentrus, Glenea, and Oberea. There are twenty-one tropical genera, and seven peculiar to Japan, leaving thirty-six either Palæarctic or of very wide range. A number of the genera are Oriental and Malayan, and many characteristic European genera seem to be absent; but it is certain that not half the Japanese Longicorns are yet known, and many of these gaps will doubtless be filled up when the more northern islands are explored.
The Phytophaga, described by Mr. Baly, appear to have a considerable preponderance of tropical Oriental forms.
A considerable collection of Hymenoptera formed by Mr. Lewis have been described by Mr. Frederick Smith; and exhibit the interesting result, that while the bees and wasps are decidedly of tropical and Oriental forms, the Tenthredinidæ and Ichneumonidæ are as decidedly Palæarctic, "the general aspect of the collection being that of a European one, only a single exotic form being found among them."
Remarks on the General Character of the Fauna of Japan.—From a general view of the phenomena of distribution we feel justified in placing Japan in the Palæarctic region; although some tropical groups, especially of reptiles and insects, have largely occupied its southern portions; and these same groups have in many cases spread into Northern China, beyond the usual dividing line of the Palæarctic and Oriental regions. The causes of such a phenomenon are not difficult to conceive. Even now, that portion of the Palæarctic region between Western Asia and Japan is, for the most part, a bleak and inhospitable region, abounding in desert plateaus, and with a rigorous climate even in its most favoured districts, and can, therefore, support but a scanty population of snakes, and of such groups of insects as require flowers, forests, or a considerable period of warm summer weather; and it is precisely these which are represented in Japan and North China by tropical forms. We must also consider, that during the Glacial epoch this whole region would have become still less productive, and that, as the southern limit of the ice retired northward, it would be followed up by many tropical forms along with such as had been driven south by its advance, and had survived to return to their northern homes.
It is also evident that Japan has a more equable and probably moister climate than the opposite shores of China, and has also a very different geological character, being rocky and broken, often volcanic, and supporting a rich, varied, and peculiar vegetation. It would thus be well adapted to support all the more hardy denizens of the tropics which might at various times reach it, while it might not be so well adapted for the more boreal forms from Mongolia or Siberia. The fact that a mixture of such forms occurs there, is then, little to be wondered at, but we may rather marvel that they are not more predominant, and that even in the extreme south, the most abundant forms of mammal, bird, and insect, are modifications of familiar Palæarctic types. The fact clearly indicates that the former land connections of Japan with the continent have been in a northerly rather than in a southerly direction, and that the tropical immigrants have had difficulties to contend with, and have found the land already fairly stocked with northern aborigines in almost every class and order of animals.
General Conclusions as to the Fauna of the Palæarctic Region.—From the account that has now been given of the fauna of the Palæarctic region, it is evident that it owes many of its deficiencies and some of its peculiarities to the influence of the Glacial epoch, combined with those important changes of physical geography which accompanied or preceded it. The elevation of the old Sarahan sea and the complete formation of the Mediterranean, are the most important of these changes in the western portion of the region. In the centre, a wide arm of the Arctic Ocean extended southward from the Gulf of Obi to the Aral and the Caspian, dividing northern Europe and Asia. At this time our European and Siberian sub-regions were probably more distinct than they are now, their complete fusion having been effected since the Glacial epoch. As we know that the Himalayas have greatly increased in altitude during the Tertiary period, it is not impossible that during the Miocene and Pliocene epochs the vast plateau of Central Asia was much less elevated and less completely cut off from the influence of rain-bearing winds. It might then have been far more fertile, and have supported a rich and varied animal population, a few relics of which we see in the Thibetan antelopes, yaks, and wild horses. The influence of yet earlier changes of physical geography, and the relations of the Palæarctic to the tropical regions immediately south of it, will be better understood when we have examined and discussed the faunas of the Ethiopian and Oriental regions.
TABLES OF DISTRIBUTION.
In constructing these tables showing the distribution of various classes of animals in the Palæarctic region, the following sources of information have been chiefly relied on, in addition to the general treatises, monographs, and catalogues used in compiling the fourth part of this work.
Mammalia.—Lord Clement's Mammalia and Reptiles of Europe; Siebold's Fauna Japonica; Père David's List of Mammalia of North China and Thibet; Swinhoe's Chinese Mammalia; Radde's List of Mammalia of South-Eastern Siberia; Canon Tristram's Lists for Sahara and Palestine; Papers by Professor Milne-Edwards, Mr. Blanford, Mr. Sclater, and the local lists given by Mr. A. Murray in the Appendix to his Geographical Distribution of Mammalia.
Birds.—Blasius' List of Birds of Europe; Godman, On Birds of Azores, Madeira, and Canaries; Middendorf, for Siberia; Père David and Mr. Swinhoe, for China and Mongolia; Homeyer, for East Siberia; Mr. Blanford, for Persia and the high Himalayas; Mr. Elwes's paper on the Distribution of Asiatic Birds; Canon Tristram, for the Sahara and Palestine; Professor Newton, for Iceland and Greenland; Mr. Dresser, for Scandinavia; and numerous papers and notes in the Ibis; Journal für Ornithologie; Annals and Mag. of Nat. History; and Proceedings of the Zoological Society.
Reptiles and Amphibia.—Schreiber's European Herpetology.
FAMILIES OF ANIMALS INHABITING THE PALÆARCTIC REGION.
Names inclosed thus (......) barely enter the region, and are not considered properly to belong to it.Numbers are not consecutive, but correspond to those in Part IV.
|Order and Family||Sub-regions||Range beyond the Region.|
|3. Cynopithecidæ||—||—||Ethiopian, Oriental|
|9. (Pteropidæ)||—||Tropics of E. Hemisphere|
|11. Rhinolophidæ||—||—||—||—||Warmer parts of E. Hemis.|
|13. Noctilionidæ||—||Tropical regions|
|17. Erinaceidæ||—||—||—||—||Oriental, S. Africa|
|21. Talpidæ||—||—||—||—||Nearctic, Oriental|
|22. Soricidæ||—||—||—||—||Cosmopolite, excl. Australia and S. America|
|23. Felidæ||—||—||—||—||All regions but Australian|
|25. Viverridæ||—||Ethiopian, Oriental|
|27. Hyænidæ||—||Ethiopian, Oriental|
|28. Canidæ||—||—||—||—||All regions but Australian|
|29. Mustelidæ||—||—||—||—||All regions but Australian|
|32. Ursidæ||—||—||—||—||Nearctic, Oriental, Andes|
|33. Otariidæ||—||N. and S. temperate zones|
|34. Trichechidæ||—||—||Arctic regions|
|35. Phocidæ||—||—||—||—||N. and S. temperate zones|
|36 to 41.||Oceanic|
|42. Manatidæ||—||—||Tropics, from Brazil to N. Australia|
|47. Suidæ||—||—||—||—||Cosmopolite, excl. Nearctic reg. and Australia|
|50. Cervidæ||—||—||—||—||All regions but Ethiopian and Australian|
|52. Bovidæ||—||—||—||—||All regions but Neotropical and Australian|
|54. (Hyracidæ)||—||Ethiopian family|
|55. Muridæ||—||—||—||—||Almost Cosmopolite|
|56. Spalacidæ||—||—||—||Ethiopian, Oriental|
|57. Dipodidæ||—||—||—||Ethiopian, Nearctic|
|61. Sciuridæ||—||—||—||—||All regions but Australian|
|64. Octodontidæ||—||Abyssinia, Neotropical|
|67. Hystricidæ||—||Ethiopian, Oriental|
|70. Leporidæ||—||—||—||—||All regions but Australian|
|3. Timaliidæ||—||—||Ethiopian, Oriental, Australian|
|4. Panuridæ||—||—||—||—||Nearctic, Oriental|
|6. Troglodytidæ||—||—||—||—||American, Oriental|
|8. Certhiidæ||—||—||—||—||Oriental, Nearctic|
|9. Sittidæ||—||—||—||—||Nearctic, Oriental, Australian, Madagascar|
|10. Paridæ||—||—||—||—||Nearctic, Oriental, Australian [?]|
|13. Pycnonotidæ||—||—||Oriental, Ethiopian|
|14. Oriolidæ||—||—||—||Ethiopian, Oriental, Australian|
|17. Muscicapidæ||—||—||—||—||Eastern Hemisphere|
|19. Laniidæ||—||—||—||—||Eastern Hemisphere and N. America|
|23. (Nectariniidæ)||—||Ethiopian, Oriental, Australian|
|24. (Dicæidæ)||—||Ethiopian, Oriental, Australian|
|33. Fringillidæ||—||—||—||—||All regions but Australian|
|35. Sturnidæ||—||—||—||—||Eastern Hemisphere|
|37. Alaudidæ||—||—||—||—||All regions but Neotropical|
|47. (Pittidæ)||—||Oriental, Australian, Ethiopian|
|51. Picidæ||—||—||—||—||All regions but Australian|
|52. Yungidæ||—||—||—||—||N. W. India, N. E. Africa, S. Africa|
|58. Cuculidæ||—||—||—||—||Almost Cosmopolite|
|62. Coraciidæ||—||—||—||—||Ethiopian, Oriental, Australian|
|63. Meropidæ||—||—||Ethiopian, Oriental, Australian|
|69. Upupidæ||—||—||Ethiopian, Oriental|
|74. Cypselidæ||—||—||—||—||Almost Cosmopolite|
|86. Pteroclidæ||—||—||—||—||Ethiopian, Indian|
|87. Tetraonidæ||—||—||—||—||Nearctic, Ethiopian, Oriental|
|88. Phasianidæ||—||—||—||Oriental, Ethiopian, Nearctic|
|89. Turnicidæ||—||—||Ethiopian, Oriental, Australian|
|94. Vulturidæ||—||—||—||—||All regions but Australian|
|104. Glareolidæ||—||—||—||—||Ethiopian, Oriental, Australian|
|106. Otididæ||—||—||—||—||Ethiopian, Oriental, Australian|
|107. Gruidæ||—||—||—||—||Eastern Hemisphere, and N. America|
|114. Plataleidæ||—||—||—||—||Almost Cosmopolite|
|115. Ciconiidæ||—||—||—||—||Nearly Cosmopolite|
|117. Phœnicopteridæ||—||Neotropical, Ethiopian, Indian|
|123. Colymbidæ||—||—||—||Arctic and N. Temperate|
|125. Alcidæ||—||—||—||N. Temperate zone|
|1. Typhlopidæ||—||—||All regions but Nearctic|
|5. Calamariidæ||—||All other regions|
|6. Oligodontidæ||—||Oriental and Neotropical|
|7. Colubridæ||—||—||—||—||Almost Cosmopolite|
|8. Homalopsidæ||—||—||—||Oriental, and all other regions|
|9. Psammophidæ||—||Ethiopian and Oriental|
|18. Erycidæ||—||Oriental and Ethiopian|
|20. Elapidæ||—||Australian and all other regions|
|24. Crotalidæ||—||—||Nearctic, Neotropical, Oriental|
|25. Viperidæ||—||—||—||—||Ethiopian, Oriental|
|28. Amphisbænidæ||—||Ethiopian, Neotropical|
|30. Varanidæ||—||Oriental, Ethiopian, Australian|
|33. Lacertidæ||—||—||—||—||All continents but American|
|34. Zonuridæ||—||America, Africa, N. India|
|41. Gymnophthalmidæ||—||—||—||Ethiopian, Australian, Neotropical|
|45. Scincidæ||—||—||—||—||Almost Cosmopolite|
|49. Geckotidæ||—||—||—||Almost Cosmopolite|
|51. Agamidæ||—||—||—||All continents but America|
|52. Chamæleonidæ||—||Ethiopian, Oriental|
|57. Testudinidæ||—||—||—||All continents but Australia|
|59. Trionychidæ||—||Ethiopian, Oriental, Nearctic|
|6. Salamandridæ||—||—||—||—||Nearctic to Andes of Bogota|
|10. Bufonidæ||—||—||—||—||All continents but Australia|
|13. Bombinatoridæ||—||—||Neotropical, New Zealand|
|15. Alytidæ||—||All regions but Oriental|
|17. Hylidæ||—||—||—||All regions but Ethiopian|
|18. Polypedatidæ||—||—||All the regions|
|19. Ranidæ||—||—||—||—||Almost Cosmopolite|
|20. Discoglossidæ||—||—||—||—||All regions but Nearctic|
|3. Percidæ||—||—||—||—||All regions but Australian|
|12. Sciænidæ||—||—||—||All regions but Australian|
|37. Atherinidæ||—||—||N. America and Australia|
|59. Siluridæ||—||—||—||—||All warm regions|
|65. Salmonidæ||—||—||—||—||Nearctic, New Zealand|
|73. Cyprinodontidæ||—||All regions but Australia|
|75. Cyprinidæ||—||—||—||—||All regions but Australian and Neotropical|
|1. Danaidæ||—||—||—||All tropical regions|
|9. Libytheidæ||—||—||All continents but Australia|
|10. Nemeobiidæ||—||Absent from Nearctic region and Australia|
|22. Ægeriidæ||—||—||—||—||Absent only from Australia|
Coleoptera.—Of about 80 families into which the Coleoptera are divided, all the more important are cosmopolite, or nearly so. It would therefore unnecessarily occupy space to give tables of the whole for each region.
Land Shells.—The more important families being cosmopolite, and the smaller ones being somewhat uncertain in their limits, the reader is referred to the account of the families and genera under each region, and to the chapter on Mollusca in the concluding part of this work, for such information as can be given of their distribution.
- Malta is interesting as forming a resting-place for migratory birds, while crossing the Mediterranean. It has only eight land and three aquatic birds which are permanent residents; yet no less than 278 species have been recorded by Mr. E. A. Wright as visiting or passing over it, comprising a large proportion of the European migratory birds. The following are the permanent residents: Cerchneis tinnunculus, Strix flammea, Passer salicicola, Emberiza miliaria, Corvus monedula, Monticola cyanea, Sylvia conspicillata, Columba livia, Puffinus cinereus, P. anglorum, Thalassidroma pelagica.
- A remarkable confirmation of this theory, is furnished in the Report to the Royal Society of the naturalist to the Kerguelen Island, "Transit Expedition"—the Rev. A. E. Eaton. Insects were assiduously collected, and it was found that almost all were either completely apterous, or had greatly abbreviated wings. The only moth found, several flies, and numerous beetles, were alike incapable of flight. As this island is subject to violent, and almost perpetual gales, even in the finest season, the meaning of the extraordinary loss of wings in almost all the insects, can, in this case, hardly be misunderstood.
- The facts on which these statements rest, will be found more fully detailed in the Author's Presidential Address to the Entomological Society of London for the year 1871.
- Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, 1874, p. 494.