Imágenes de páginas

to an otter, is found in the Malay Peninsula, Borneo, and Sumatra. A third endemic Carnivore, Mydaus, which,

[graphic][merged small][merged small]

like the American Skunk, is remarkable for the very powerful odour emitted from its anal glands, was originally

described from the mountains of Java, but has since been obtained from Sumatra and Borneo.

Of the Insectivores by far the most important genus in the Malayan Sub-region is the Tree-shrew (Tupaia), of which at least a dozen species are here found. The Treeshrews are small animals, of the general appearance of squirrels, that live chiefly among the branches of trees, and, like the squirrels, sit on their haunches and use their fore limbs for holding their food. An allied genus, with an elegant double fringe of long hair to its tail (Ptilocercus), is confined to Sumatra and Borneo.

Tarsius, belonging to a distinct family of Lemurs, inhabits the forests of most of the islands of the Sub-region, as well as Celebes. It is a small animal, about the size of a squirrel, deriving its name from the fact that the tarsal bones of its foot are greatly elongated.

Among the Monkeys, in addition to the three genera found also in the Burmese Sub-region, we have the Proboscis Monkey (Nasalis) of Borneo, very remarkable for its large and projecting nasal organ. Finally, in Sumatra and Borneo we find the Orang (Simia), of which there are possibly two species, although this is by no means certain. These large man-like apes (see Fig. 28, p. 144), which form, along with the Gibbons, and the African Chimpanzee and Gorilla, the family Simiidæ, inhabit mostly the low swampy districts near the coast; they may be distinguished at once from their African cousins by the reddish-brown colour of the long hair with which they are clothed. In some respects they are the most closely allied to Man in structure of the anthropoid Apes.

The following is a summary of the Malayan genera of mammals, constructed on the same plan as in the case of


the other Sub-regions. It will be seen that, while the total number of genera has not increased very much, the number of endemic genera is nearly doubled, as compared with those of the other two Sub-regions.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

As already mentioned, the island of Celebes presents a problem of considerable interest to the student of geographical distribution. Celebes is separated from the other islands, both to the eastward and to the westward, by seas of considerable depth. Compared with the other Malayan islands, its fauna is scanty. This fact, and the very peculiar shape of the island, suggest a possibility of its having been formerly of greater extent, and of having been subsequently reduced by subsidence.

We will first review the mammal-fauna, and then try and deduce, from a study of it, our conclusions as to its past history

In Celebes alone of the Oriental Region we find representatives of the marsupials characteristic of the Australian Region. These consist of two species of Phalanger, which differ from those of the Australian islands only in slight particulars.

The next interesting animal of this fauna is the Babirussa, a wild pig remarkable for the enormous size of its upper and lower canine teeth, which form, as it were, two pairs of horns on the upper side of the head. Another peculiar Ungulate, now generally referred to the widespread genus Bos, is the Anoa, which shows many primitive characters, and is entirely confined to the island.

The Mice and Squirrels of Celebes are fairly numerous, and most of the species are peculiar to the island; one rat forms a special genus.

Carnivores are very scarce in Celebes ; Insectivores have not been recorded at all. The Bats, which are numerous, comprise a considerable number of Australian forms, and one peculiar genus.

Among the Primates, Tarsius of the other Malayan islands is also found in this Sub-region, and one Monkey, Macacus maurus, seems to be restricted to it. Finally, one of the most reinarkable of the animals of the island is the Black Ape of Celebes, belonging to a genus (Cynopithecus) intermediate between the Macaques and the Baboons. Cynopithecus appears to have found its way from Celebes into the adjoining island of Batchian, which belongs to the Australian Region.

The following table shows the mammals of this Subregion arranged in a form like those of the other Sub-regions :

[blocks in formation]

From this summary it will be seen that the total number of Mammal-genera that occur in Celebes is thirtyone, the greater number of which (twenty in all) are placed under the headings of Palæogean and Cosmopolitan. These are all widespread genera, which do not afford us any particular clue to the origin of the Celebesian fauna. Nine out of the twenty are genera of Bats, which, as has before been remarked, are by nature much less restricted in their range than the true quadrupedal mammals. Of the remaining eleven only two (Mus and Sus) have any extensive distribution in the Australian Region ; •the others, although they have, in one or two cases, managed to struggle into adjoining islands belonging to

to the Australian Region, can in no sense be viewed as Australian genera.

Of the genera registered in the table as “ Australian," two are Bats, which have apparently reached Celebes from the more easterly islands of the Australian Region, where they have a wide distribution; the other is the genus Phalanger, which has been already alluded to as being the only member of the Marsupial Order found in the Oriental Region.

« AnteriorContinuar »