Imágenes de páginas

species of the group, which is found all through the Region, from Southern Mexico to La Plata.

The third Order of mammals—the Edentata—is highly characteristic of the Neotropical Region. Of the five


Fig. 7.—The Quica Opossum.
(Didelphys oposrum.)

generally recognised families two belong entirely to the Old World; the other three—the Sloths, the Ant-eaters, and the Armadilloes (which are more nearly allied to one another than to the two Old World families)—are, with the exception of one species of Armadillo (Tatusia novemcincta), which extends into Texas, absolutely confined to the Neotropical Region, and are eminently characteristic of its mammal-fauna. The Sloths (Bradypodidm) of the present epoch at least, are entirely arboreal

[graphic][ocr errors]

in their habits, and pass their lives suspended by their limbs on the underside of the branches of trees (Fig. 8). The Ant-eaters (Myrmecophagid&) are also mainly inhabitants of forests, and one of the three existing forms (C'yclothurus) is exclusively arboreal. A second (Tamandua) may be said to be semi-arboreal, but the largest—the Great Ant-eater as it is usually called (Fig. 9)—does not climb trees, though mostly found in forest-districts. These three animals are all widely distributed in the woodlands of tropical America, but never met with elsewhere. The Armadilloes (Dasypodidm) are mostly inhabitants of more open districts (see Fig. 10, p. 59). Besides the three living


Fig. 9.—The Great Ant-eater.
(Myrmecopkaga jubaia.)
[List of Vertebrates, 1896, p. 197.l

families of Edentates, there are two (the Megatheriidm and Glyptodontidm) now extinct, which are chiefly characteristic of the Neotropical Region, though remains of them have also been found in certain formations in North America (6).

The fourth order of mammals, the Ungulates, is very poorly represented in the Neotropical Region, four only out of the. fourteen usually recognised families being found within its limits. The Peccaries (Dicotylidm) consist of only two species, of which one (D. tajacu) ranges as far

[graphic][merged small]

north as the Southern United States, and the other is confined to the Neotropical Region. A second family, the Camelidm, is shared by the Neotropical Region with the Old World. The representatives of this family in the New World are the Lamas, belonging to the genus Lama (see Fig. 11). They are entirely confined to the higher ranges of the Andes and to the desolate plains of Patagonia.

The Deer (Cervidm) of the Neotropical Region all belong to two peculiar genera (Cariacus and Pudua), of which the former extends northwards throughout the United States


Fig. 11.—The Lama.

(Lama peruana.)

to British Columbia, while the latter is found only in Western South America.

Finally, the Tapirs (Tapiridm) are represented by four species, all of which are peculiar to this region, the only other existing Tapir known being the Indian Tapir of the

« AnteriorContinuar »