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called " Flying-foxes," is interesting. Five members of this genus are found in the Malagasy Sub-region, including two species in the Comoro islands, and although these islands are almost within sight of the mainland of Africa, not a single representative of the true Pteropus has yet been obtained on the continent.
Finally, among the Lemurs we reach the culminating point of the Fauna of this strange land. No less than eleven genera of this Sub-order are entirely confined to the Sub-region, while outside of it there are only five genera now in existence, two of them belonging to Africa proper, and three to the Oriental Region.
The lemurs are none of them very large; they are all arboreal animals, spending their lives retired in the forest, and, as a rule, strictly nocturnal. Though allied to the monkeys, they have none of their vivacity and intelligence;
Fig. 21.—The Indkis.
they move but slowly, and have usually very large eyes, which are no doubt necessitated by their nocturnal habits. The lemurs inhabiting Madagascar are divided into two families: (a) the Lemuridm, with ten genera and about thirty-five species, to which family, also, the African and two of the Oriental genera are generally assigned; and (6)
Fig. 22.— The Ruffed Lemur.
the Chiromyidm. The Indrises (Indrisinm) form a distinct sub-family of Lemuridm with three genera, all restricted to Madagascar (see Fig. 21, p. 105). The typical Lemurs (Lemuridm) are also only found in this island (see Fig. 22, p. 106).
The second family of the Lemurine Order (Chiromyidm) contains only a single genus and species, the extremely
Fig. 23.—The Aye-aye.
anomalous Aye-aye, discovered by the traveller Sonnerat in 1780 (see Fig. 23). There are generally examples of this curious animal in the Zoological Society's gardens in London, but, unless especially aroused, they are seldom seen by daylight. Their chief peculiarity is the long, thin, ghost-like middle finger, with which they have been supposed to extract wood-boring insects from their burrows, although their chief food in captivity certainly consists of succulent juices.
Of the extinct mammal-fauna of Madagascar we know as yet too little. Dr. Forsyth-Major (4) has lately described a large lemur (Megaladapis) differing considerably from those now inhabiting the island; while remains of two small Lemurs and of two small species of Hippopotamus have been also met with. These remains, together with the bones of a large flightless bird (JSpyomis), apparently allied to other Ratite birds, are of a comparatively recent period.
On the whole, however, we cannot but presume that Madagascar originally obtained its animal life from the mainland of Africa. The striking differences between the present faunas of Africa proper and Madagascar are doubtless due to the fact that the great bulk of the existing African fauna is of comparatively modern origin, and came from the Northern continent at the end of the Miocene or the beginning of the Pliocene times, whereas Madagascar was cut off from Africa before this eruption of Northern forms took place. Madagascar, therefore, appears to contain a sample of the ancient Ethiopian fauna, which has been almost exterminated on the mainland, but has survived here under the protection afforded by its separation from the adjacent continent. The fauna of the Malagasy Sub-region may be summarized by the exclusive possession of—
(1) Seven genera of the family MuricUe, among the Rodents.
(2) Six genera of the family Viverridm, among the Carnivores.