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Molossi to the rank of a sub-family. In our first volume we have classed Rhinopoma with the Rhinolophidae, and Taphozows with the Vespertilionidae; but according to Mr. Dobson both these genera belong to the present family.
Remarks on the Distribution of the Order Chiroptera.
Although the bats, from their great powers of flight, are not amenable to the limitations which determine the distribution of other terrestrial mammals, yet certain great facts of distribution come out in a very striking manner. The speciality of the Neotropical region is well shown, not only by its exclusive possession of one large family (Phyllostomidae), but almost equally so by the total absence of two others (Pteropidae and Rhinolophidae). The Nearctic region is also unusually well marked, by the total absence of a family (Rhinolophidae) which is tolerably well represented in the Palaearctic. The Pteropidae well characterize the tropical regions of the Old World and Australia; while the Wespertilionidae are more characteristic of the Palaearctic and Nearctic regions, which together possess about 60 species of this family.
The bats are a very difficult study, and it is quite uncertain how many distinct species are really known. Schinz, in his Synopsis Mammalium (1844) describes 330, while the list given by Mr. Andrew Murray in his Geographical Distribution of Mammalia (1866), contains 400 species. A small number of new species have been since described, but others have been sunk as synonyms, so that we can perhaps hardly obtain a nearer approximation to the truth than the last number. In Europe there are 35 species, and only 17 in North America.
Fossil Chiroptera.-The fossil remains of bats that have yet been discovered, being chiefly allied to forms still existing in the same countries, throw no light on the origin or affinities of this remarkable and isolated order of Mammalia; but as species very similar to those now living were in existence so far back as Miocene or even Eocene times, we may be sure the group is one of immense antiquity, and that there has been ample time for the amount of variation and extinction required to bring about
the limitation of types, and the peculiarities of distribution we now find to exist.
FAMILY 14.-GALEOPITHECIDÆ. (1 Genus, 2 Species.)
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The singular and isolated genus Galeopithecus, or flying lemur, has been usually placed among the Lemuroidea, but it is now considered to come best at the head of the Insectivora. Its food however, seems to be purely vegetable, and the very small, blind, and naked young, closely attached to the wrinkled skin of the mother's breast, perhaps indicates some affinity with the Marsupials. This animal seems, in fact, to be a lateral offshoot of some low form, which has survived during the process of development of the Insectivora, the Lemuroidea, and the Marsupials, from an ancestral type. Only two species are known, one found in Malacca, Sumatra, and Borneo, but not in Java; the other in the Philippine islands (Plate VIII. vol. i. p. 337). .
FAMILY 15.—MACROSCELIDIDÆ. (3 Genera, 10 Species.)
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The Macroscelides, or elephant shrews, are extraordinary little animals, with trunk-like snout and kangaroo-like hind-legs. They are almost confined to South Africa, whence they extend up the east coast as far as the Zambezi and Mozambique. A
single outlying species of Macroscelides inhabits Barbary and Algeria; while the two genera Petrodromus, and Rhyncocyon, each represented by a single species, have only been found at Mozambique.
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The Tupaiidae are squirrel-like shrews, having bushy tails, and often climbing up trees, but also feeding on the ground and among low bushes. The typical Tupaia (7 species), are called ground squirrels by the Malays. They are most abundant in the Malay islands and Indo-Chinese countries, but one species is found in the Khasia Mountains, and one in the Eastern Ghauts near Madras. The small shorter-tailed Hylomys (2 species) is found from Tenasserim to Java and Borneo; while the elegant little Ptilocerus (1 species) with its long pencilled tail, is confined to Borneo; (Plate VIII. vol. i. p. 337). The family is therefore especially Malayan, with outlying species in northern and continental India.
Extinct Species—0xygomphus, found in the Tertiary deposits of Germany, is believed to belong to this family; as is Omomys, from the Pliocene of the United States.
The Hedgehogs, comprised in the genus Erinaceus (14 species), are widely distributed over the Palaearctic, and a part of the Oriental regions; but they only occur in the Ethiopian region in South Africa and in the Deserts of the north, which more properly belong to the Palaearctic region. They are absent from the Malayan, and also from the Indo-Chinese sub-regions; except that they extend from the north of China to Amoy and Formosa, and into the temperate highlands of the Western Himalayas. The curious Gymnura (1 species) is found in Borneo, Sumatra, and the Malay peninsula. Extinct Species—The common hedgehog has been found fossil in several Post-tertiary deposits, while extinct species occur in the lower Miocene of Auvergne and in some other parts of Europe. Many of these remains are classed in different genera from the living species;–(Amphechinus, Tetracus, Galeria.)
The Centetidae are small animals, many of them having a spiny covering, whence the species of Centetes have been called Madagascar hedgehogs. The genera Centetes (2 species), Hemicentetes (1 species), Ericulus (1 species), Echinops (3 species), and the recently described Oryzorictes (1 species), are all exclusively inhabitants of Madagascar, and are almost or quite tail-less. The remaining genus, Solenodon, is a more slender and active animal, with a long, rat-like tail, shrew-like head, and coarse fur; and the two known species are among the very few indigenous mammals of the West Indian islands, one being found in Cuba (Plate XVII, vol. ii., p. 67), the other in Hayti. Although presenting many points of difference in detail, the essential characters of this curious animal are, according to Professors Peters and Mivart, identical with the rest of the Centetidae. We have thus a most remarkable and well-established case of discontinuous distribution, two portions of the same family
being now separated from each other by an extensive continent, as well as by a deep ocean.
Extinct Species.—Remains found in the Lower Miocene of the South of France are believed to belong to the genus Echinops, or one closely allied to it.
FAMILY 19.—POTAMOGALIDÆ. (1 Genus, 1 Species)
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The genus Potamogale was founded on a curious, small, otterlike animal from West Africa, first found by M. Du Chaillu ut the Gaboon, and afterwards by the Portuguese at Angola. Its affinities are with several groups of Insectivora, but it is sufficiently peculiar to require the establishment of a distinct family for its reception. (Plate V., vol. i., p. 264.)
FAMILY 20.-CHRYSOCHLORIDÆ. (2 Genera, 3 Species.)
The Chrysochloridæ, or golden moles, of the Cape of Good Hope have been separated by Professor Mivart into two genera, Chrysochloris and Chalcochloris. They are remarkable mole-like animals, having beautiful silky fur, with a metallic lustre and changeable golden tints. They are peculiar to the Cape district, but one species extends as far north as the Mozambique territory. Their dentition is altogether peculiar, so as to completely separate them from the true moles.