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FAMILY 21.–TALPIDÆ. (8 Genera, 19 Species.
NEOTROPICAL | NEARCTIC PALÆARCTIC ETHIOPIAN ORIENTAL | AUSTRALIAN SUB-REGIONS. SUB-REGIONS. SUB-REGIONS. | SUB-REGIONS. SUB-REGIONS. SUB-REGIONS.
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The Moles comprise many extraordinary forms of small mammalia especially characteristic of the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere, only sending out a few species of Talpa along the Himalayas as far as Assam, and even to Tenasserim, if there is no mistake about this locality ; while one species is found in Formosa, the northern part of which is almost as much Palæarctic as Oriental. The genus Talpa (7 species), spreads over the whole Palæarctic region from Great Britain to Japan; Scaptochirus (1 species) is a recent discovery in North China; Condylura (1 species), the star-nosed mole, inhabits Eastern North America from Nova Scotia to Pennsylvania; Scapanus (2 species) ranges across from New York to St. Francisco; Scalops (3 species), the shrew-moles, range from Mexico to the great lakes on the east side of America, but on the west only to the north of Oregon. An allied genus, Myogale (2 species), has a curious discontinuous distribution in Europe, one species being found in South-East Russia, the other in the Pyrenees (Plate II., vol. i., p. 218). Another allied genus, Nectogale (1 species), has recently been described by Professor Milne-Edwards from Thibet. Urotrichus is a shrew-like mole which inhabits Japan, and a second species has been discovered in the mountains of British Columbia; an allied form, Uropsilus, inhabits East Thibet. Anurosorex and Scaptonyx, are new genera from North China.
Extinct Species. The common mole has been found fossil in bone-caves and diluvial deposits, and several extinct species of mole-like animals occur in the Miocene deposits of the South of France and of Germany. These have been described under the generic names Dimylus, Geotrypus, Hyporissus, Galeospalax; while Palæospalax has been found in the Pliocene forest-beds of Norfolk
and Ostend. Species of Myogale also occur from the Miocene downwards.
FAMILY 22.–SORICIDÆ. (1 Genus, 11 Sub-genera, 65 Species.)
NEARCTIC PALÆARCTIC ETHIOPIAN I ORIENTAL | AUSTRALIAN SUB-REGIONS. SUB-REGIONS. SUB-REGIONS. SUB-REGIONS. SUB-REGIONS.
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The Shrews have a wide distribution, being found throughout every region except the Australian and Neotropical ; although, as a species is found in Timor and in some of the Moluccas, they just enter this part of the former region, while one found in Guatemala brings them into the latter. A number of species have recently been described from India and the Malay Islands, so that the Oriental region is now the richest in shrews, having 28 species; the Nearctic comes next with 24; while the Ethiopian has 11, and the Palæarctic 10 species. The sub-genera are Crossopus, Amphisorex, Neosorex, Crocidura, Diplomesodon,Pinulia, Pachyura, Blarina, Feroculus, Anausorex.
Extinct Species.-Several species of Sorex have been found fossil in the Miocene of the South of France, as well as the extinct genera Mysarachne and Plesiosorex; and some existing species have occurred in Bone Caves and Diluvial deposits.
General Remarks on the Distribution of the Insectivora. .
The most prominent features in the distribution of the Insectivora are,—their complete absence from South America and Australia; the presence of Solenodon in two of the West Indian islands while the five allied genera are found only in Madagascar; and the absence of hedgehogs from North America. If we consider that there are only 135 known species of the order, 65 of which belong to the one genus Sorex; while the remaining 26 genera contain only 70 species, which have to be classed in 8 distinct families, and present such divergent and highly specialized forms as Galeopithecus, Erinaceus, Solenodon, and Condylura, it becomes evident that we have here the detached fragments of a much more
extensive group of animals, now almost extinct. Many of the forms continue to exist only in islands, removed from the severe competition of a varied mammalian population, as in Madagascar and the Antilles ; while others appear to have escaped extermination either by their peculiar habits—as the various forms of Moles; by special protection-as in the Hedgehogs; or by a resemblance in form, coloration, and habits to dominant groups in their own district—as the Tupaias of Malay which resemble squirrels, and the Elephant-shrews of Africa which resemble the jerboas. The numerous cases of isolated and discontinuous distribution among the Insectivora, offer no difficulty from this point of view; since they are the necessary results of an extensive and widelyspread group of animals slowly becoming extinct, and continuing to exist only where special conditions have enabled them to maintain themselves in the struggle with more highly organized forms.
The fossil Insectivora do not throw much light on the early history of the order, since even as far back as the Miocene period they consist almost wholly of forms which can be referred to existing families. In North America they go back to the Eocene period, if certain doubtful remains have been rightly placed. The occurrence of fossil Centetidæ in Europe, supports the view we have maintained in preceding chapters, that the existing distribution of this family between Madagascar and the Antilles, proves no direct connection between those islands, but only shows us that the family once had an extensive range.
FAMILY 23.–FELIDÆ. (3 Genera, 14 Sub-genera, 66 Species.)
PALEARCTIC ETHIOPIAN ORIENTAL I AUSTRALIAN
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The Cats are very widely distributed over the earth-with the exception of the Australian region and the island sub-region
of Madagascar and the Antilles—universally; ranging from the torrid zone to the Arctic regions and the Straits of Magellan. They are so uniform in their organization that many naturalists group them all under one genus, Felis; but it is now more usual to class at least the lynxes as a separate genus, while the hunting leopard, or cheetah, forms another. Dr. J. E. Gray divides these again, and makes 17 generic groups; but as this subdivision is not generally adopted, and does not bring out any special features of geographical distribution, I shall not further notice it. The genus Felis (56 species) has the same general range as the whole family, except that it does not go so far north; the Amoor river in Eastern Asia, and 55° N. Lat. in America, marking its limits. Lyncus (10 species) is a more northern group, ranging to the polar regions in Europe and Asia, and to Lat., 66° N. in America, but not going further south than Northern Mexico and the European shores of the Mediterranean, except the caracal, which may be another genus, and which extends to Central India, Persia, North Africa and even the Cape of Good Hope. The lynxes are thus almost wholly peculiar to the Nearctic and Palaearctic regions. Cynaelurus (1 species) the hunting leopard, ranges from Southern and Western India through Persia, Syria, Northern and Central Africa, to the Cape of Good Hope. Extinct Felidae.—More than twenty extinct species of true Felidae have been described, ranging in time from the epoch of prehistoric man back to the Miocene or even the Eocene period. They occur in the south of England, in Central and South Europe, in North-West India, in Nebraska in North America, and in the caves of Brazil. Most of them are referred to the genus Felis, and closely resemble the existing lions, tigers, and other large cats. Another group however forms the genus Machairodus, a highly specialized form with serrated teeth. Five species have been described from Europe, Northern India, and both North and South America; and it is remarkable that they exhibit at least as wide a range, both in space and time, as the more numerous species referred to Felis. One of them undoubtedly coexisted
with man in England, while another, as well as the allied Dinictis, has been found in the Mauvaises Terres of Nebraska, associated with Anchitherium and other extinct and equally remarkable forms, which are certainly Miocene if not, as some geologists think, belonging to the Eocene period. These facts clearly indicate that we have as yet made little approach to discovering the epoch when Felidæ originated, since the oldest forms yet discovered are typical and highly specialized representatives of a group which is itself the most specialized of the Carnivora. Another genus, Pseudælurus, is common to the Miocene deposits of Europe and North America.
FAMILY 24.-CRYPTOPROCTIDÆ. (1 Genus, 1 Species.)
NEARCTIC PALÆARCTIC | ETHIOPIAN I ORIENTAL | AUSTRALIAN SUB-REGIONS. SUB-REGIONS. SUB-REGIONS. SOB-REGIONS. SUB-REGIONS.
----|-----|--- ---The Cryptoprocta ferox, a small and graceful cat-like animal, peculiar to Madagascar, was formerly classed among the Viverridæ, but is now considered by Professor Flower to constitute a distinct family between the Cats and the Civets.
FAMILY 25.–VIVERRIDÆ. (8-33 Genera, 100 Species.)
NEOTROPICAL | NEARCTIC
ETHIOPIAN I ORIENTAL I AUSTRALIAN SUB-REGIONS. SUB-RECIONS. SUB-REGIONS.
The Viverridæ comprise a number of small and moderate-sized carnivorous animals, popularly known as civets, genets, and ichneumons, highly characteristic of the Ethiopian and Oriental regions, several of the genera being common to both. A species of Genetta, and one of Herpestes, inhabit South Europe; while Viverra extends to the Moluccas, but is doubtfully indigenous. The extreme geographical limits of the family are marked by