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shall presently see, has also representatives in the Papuan Sub-region. It inhabits the scrubs throughout the eastern districts of Australia, and is likewise occasionally found as far along the southern coast as Western Australia. In Tasmania a slightly different species (Echidna setosa) with
longer fur, almost concealing the spines (by some authors considered to be only a geographical race or sub-species of the typical form), is met with.
After the Monotremes, the most important group of mammals, and that which constitutes by far the most prevalent feature of Australian mammal-life, is the great order of Marsupials. Although not absolutely restricted to Australia, since one of its component families is purely American, the Marsupials, from their prevalence, constitute a still more noticeable feature of the Australian fauna than the Monotremes. Of the seven families into which this order is usually divided by naturalists, six are entirely confined to the Australian Region. Moreover, the Marsupials are so abundant in Australia proper, as to quite overshadow the few representatives of the higher orders of mammals found within its limits.
The carnivorous Dasyures (Dasyv/ridm) forming the first of these families take the place in Australia of the true carnivora of other parts of the world. They are seminocturnal in habits, and prowl about at dusk in search of the smaller mammals and birds which constitute their food. In Tasmania two peculiar forms of Dasyures occur, which are not met with in the Australian continent. These are the Thylacine, a dog-like animal with a long tapering tail, noticeable as being the largest of living carnivorous Marsupials (Fig. 2, p. 25), and in general external appearance so much resembling our familiar domestic friend that the uninitiated can hardly be persuaded that its proper place is in a different order of mammals; and the Sarcophilus tirsinus, or Tasmanian Devil, as it is popularly called—a somewhat aberrant dasyure of a prevailing black colour, about the size and somewhat of the shape of an English badger, and remarkable for its savage and voracious disposition. Both these animals, now confined to the island of Tasmania, must have formerly extended into Australia, as their remains have been found fossil in the caves of the Wellington Valley of New South Wales. Altogether the Dasyures number some twenty species in Australia and Tasmania.
Besides the Dasyures, a second type of the same family, but in many respects divergent in structure, is found on the mainland of Australia. This is the Myrmecdbius, or Banded Ant-eater, a little animal of the size and somewhat
of the likeness of the common squirrel, with a long bushy tail and elegant transverse stripes across the back. The Myrmecobius is terrestrial in its habits, and feeds principally on ants. It is apparently confined to the western and central parts of the sub-region.
The Peramelidm, or Bandicoots, the second family of Australian marsupials, have also teeth adapted to an insectivorous diet, although we know, from the records of trustworthy observers, that some of the species feed more or less upon vegetable substances. Such is certainly the case with the Rabbit-eared Bandicoot (Perogale lagotis) of Western Australia, which is abundant over the grassy plains of that colony, and, from its burrowing habits and large hare-like ears, is commonly known as the "Native Rabbit." Of the typical bandicoots (Peromeles), five or six species are known, distributed over various portions of Australia, each colony having its peculiar forms. They are all purely terrestrial animals, some inhabiting the densest scrubs, and others the hot stony ridges of the upland plains. The only remaining member of the family PeromelicUe is the anomalous Pigfoot (Choeropus castanotis), a small ratlike animal with slender feet, which is confined to the hard stony grounds of the interior of the southern Australian colonies.
A most interesting discovery has recently been made in the deserts of Central Australia of a new burrowing marsupial, of mole-like habits, for which it is necessary to constitute a new family. This little animal has been described by Dr. E. C. Stirling (9) under the name of Notoryctes typhlops, and is apparently very rare (Fig. 3, p. 27). As its name implies, it is quite blind, its eyes being represented merely by pigment spots buried beneath the skin and muscles; furthermore, its whole structure is admirably adapted for its burrowing life. Full descriptions of both its habits and anatomy will be found in the Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia for 1891.
We now come to the herbivorous marsupials (Diprotodontes), of which there are three families all confined to the Australian Region (unless the newly-discovered Cmnolestes of South America shall be ascertained to belong to the Diprotodonts) namely, the Wombats (Phascolomyidm), the
Fig. 3.—The Notoryct.
Phalangers (Phalangeridm), and the Kangaroos (Macropodidm).
The Wombats are numerically of the least importance of the three families above mentioned, although the form and general appearance of the animals of the single known genus, Phascolomys, are hardly less remarkable than those of the Kangaroos.