Page images
PDF
EPUB

from 11,000 to 16,000 feet altitude; and Lagostomus (1 sp.), the "viscacha," contined to the pampas between the Uruguay and Rio Negro. Many important genera are also confined to this subregion. Auchenia (4 sp.), including the domesticated llamas and alpacas, the vicugna which inhabits the Andes of Peru and Chili, and the guanaco which ranges over the plains of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego. Although this genus is allied to the Old World camels, it is a very distinct form, and its introduction from North America, where the family appear to have originated, may date back to a remote epoch. Ursus crnatus, the "spectacled bear" of the Chilian Andes, is a remarkable form, supposed to be most allied to the Malay bear, and probably forming a distinct genus, which has been named Tremardos. Four genera of Octodontidce are also peculiar to this sub-region, or almost so; Hdbroeomits (1 sp.) is Chilian; Spalacopus (2 sp.) is found in Chili and on the east side of the southern Andes; Ododon (3 sp.) ranges from Chili into Peru and Bolivia; Ctenomys (6 sp.) from the Straits of Magellan to Bolivia, with one species in South Brazil. Ddichotis, one of the Cavies, ranges from Patagonia to Mendoza, and on the east coast to 37£° S. latitude. Myopotamus (1 sp.), the coypu (Echimyidse), ranges from 33° to 48° S. latitude on the west side of the Andes, and from the frontiers of Peru to 42° S. on the east side. Eeithrodon and Acodon, genera of Mini.la-, are also confined to Temperate South America; Tolypcutes and Chlamydophants, two genera of armadillos, the latter very peculiar in its organization and sometimes placed in a distinct family, are found only in La Plata and the highlands of Bolivia, and so belong to this sub-region. Otaria, one of the "eared seals" (Otariidse), is confined to the coasts of this subregion and the antarctic islands. Deer of American groups extend as far as Chiloe on the west, and the Straits of Magellan on the east coast. Mice of the South American genera Hesperomys and Eeithrodon, are abundant down to the Straits of Magellan and into Tierra del Fuego, Mr. Darwin having collected more than 20 distinct species. The following are the genera of Mammalia which have been observed on the shores of the Straits of Magellan, those marked * extending into Tierra del Fuego:

*Pseudalopex (two wolf-like foxes), Felis (the puma), Mephitis (skunks), Cervus (deer), *Auchenia (guanaco), *Ctenomys (tucutucu), 'Beithrodon and *Hesperomys (American mice).

Birds.—Three families of Birds are confined to this sub-region, —Phytotomidae (1 genus, 3 sp.), inhabiting Chili, La Plata, and Bolivia; Chionididae (1 genus, 2 fep.) the "sheath-bills," found only at the southern extremity of the continent and in Kerguelen's Island, which with the other antarctic lands perhaps comes best here; Thinocoridce (2 genera, 6 species) an isolated family of waders, ranging over the whole sub-region and extending northward to the equatorial Andes. Many genera are also peculiar: 3 of Fringillidae, and 1 of Icteridae; 9 of Dendrocolaptidaj, 6 of Tyrannidae, 3 of Trochilidae, and 4 of Pteroptochidae,—the last four South American families. There is also a peculiar genua of parrots {Henicognathus) in Chili; two of pigeons (Metriopclia and Oymnopelia) confined to the Andes and west coast from Peru to Chili; two of Tinamous, Tinamotes in the Andes, and Calodrorrms in La Plata; three of Charadriidae, Phccgornis, Pluvianellus, and Oreophilm; and Bhea, the American ostriches, inhabiting all Patagonia and the pampas. Perhaps the Cariamidae have almost as much right here as in the last sub-region, inhabiting as they do, the "pampas" of La Plata and the upland "campos" of Brazil; and even among the wide-ranging aquatic birds, we have a peculiar genus, Mcrganetld.one of the duck family, which is confined to the temperate plateau of the Andes.

Against tliis extensive series of characteristic groups, all either of American type or very distinct forms of Old World families, and therefore implying great antiquity, we find, in mammalia and birds, very scanty evidence of that direct affinity with the north temperate zone, on which some naturalists lay so much stress. We cannot point to a single terrestrial genus, which is characteristic of the north and reappears in this south temperate region without also occurring over much of the intervening land. Mustela seems only to have reached Peru ; Lepras is isolated in Brazil; true Ursus does not pass south of Mexico. In birds, the northern groups rarely go further south than Mexico or the Columbian Andes; and the only case of discontinuous

distribution we can find recorded is that of the genus of ducks, Camptolamus, which has a species on the east side of North America and another in Chili and the Falkland Islands, but these, Professor Newton assures me, do not properly belong to the same genus. Out of 30 genera of land-birds collected on the Rio Negro in Patagonia, by Mr. Hudson, only four extend beyond the American continent, and the same exclusively American character applies equally to its southern extremity. No list appears to have been yet published of the land-birds of the Straits of Magellan and Tierra del Fuego. The following is compiled from the observations of Mr. Darwin, the recent voyage of Professor Cunningham, and other sources; and will be useful for comparison. TORDIDA

Picidæ. 1. Turdus falklandicus.

*23. Campephilus magellanicus.

24. Picus lignarius. TROGLODYTIDE

2. Troglodytes magellanicus. ALCEDINIDÆ. FRINGILLIDE

25. Ceryle stellata. 3. Chrysomitris barbata.

TROCHILIDA *4. Phrygilus gayi. aldunatii.

26. Eustephanus galeritus.
6. „ fruticeti.

CONURIDÆ.
xanthogrammus.
8. Zonotrichia pileata.

27. Conurus patagonus. ICTERID E

VULTURIDA. 9. Sturnella militaris.

28. Cathartes aura. 10. Cureus aterrimus.

29. Sarcorhamphus gryphus. HIRONDINIDÆ.

FALCONIDÆ. 11. Hirundo meyeni.

30. Circus macropterus.

31. Buteo erythronotus. TIRANXIDE.

32. Geranoaëtus melanolencus. 12 Tanioptera pyrope.

33. Accipiter chilensis. 13. Myiotheretes rutiventris.

34. Cerchneis sparverius. 14. Muscisaxicola mentalis.

35. Milvago albogularis. 15. (entrites piger.

36. Poly borus tharus. 16. Anpretes parulus. 17. Elainea griseogularis.

STRIGIDÆ.

37. Asio accipitrinus. DENDROCOLAPTIDX. in t'pucerthia dumetoria.

38. Bubo magellanicus. *19. Cinclodes patagonicus.

39. Pholeoptynx cunicularia. 20. fuscus.

40. Glaucidium nana. 21. Oxyurus spinicauda.

41. Syrnium rufipes. PTEROPTOCHIDE.

STRUTHIONIDÆ. *22. Scytalopus magellanicus.

42. Rhea darwinii. VOL II.-4

la the above list the species marked * extend to Tierra del Fuego. It is a remarkable fact that so many of the species belong to genera which are wholly Neotropical, and that the specially South American families of Icteridae, Tyrannidae, Dendrocolaptidse, Pteroptochidae, Trochilidce, and Conuridae, should supply more than one-third of the species; while the purely South American genus Phrygilus, should be represented by four species, three of which abound in Tierra del Fuego.

Plate XVI. A Scene in the Andes of Chili, with characteristic Animals.—The fauna of South Temperate America being most fully developed in Chili, we place the scene of our illustration in that country. In the foreground we have a pair of the beautiful little chinchillas (Chinchilla lanigera), belonging to a family of animals peculiar to the sub-region. There are only two species of this group, both confined to the higher Andes, at about 8000 feet elevation. Coming round a projecting ridge of the mountain, are a herd of vicunas (Auchenia vicugna), one of that peculiar form of the camel tribe found in South America and confined to its temperate and alpine regions. The upper bird is a plant-cutter (Phytotoma rara), of sober plumage but allied to the beautiful chatterers, though forming a separate family. Below, standing on a rock, is a plover-like bird, the Thinocorus orbignianus, which is considered to belong to a separate family, though allied to the plovers and sheath-bills. Its habits are, however, more those of the quails or partridges, living inland in dry and desert places, and feeding on plants, roots, and insects. Above is a condor, the most characteristic bird of the high Andes.

Reptiles and Amphibia.—These groups show, for the most part, similar modifications of American and Neotropical forms, as those we have seen to prevail among the birds. Snakes do not seem to go very far south, but several South American genera of Colul)ridse and Dendrophidae occur in Chili; while Enophrys is peculiar to La Plata, and Callorhinus to Patagonia, both belonging to the Colubridae. The Elapidae do not extend into the temperate zone; but Craspedbcephalus, one of the Crotalidae, occurs at Bahia Blanca in Patagonia (Lat. 40° S.)

[graphic][subsumed][merged small]
« EelmineJätka »