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nected with Europe at a far remoter epoch, and ought therefore to exhibit to us a fauna composed almost entirely of peculiar forms both of birds and insects. Yet, so far from this being the case, the facts are exactly the reverse. Far more of the birds and insects are identical with those of Europe than in the other islands, and this difference is clearly traced to the more tempestuous atmosphere, which is shown to be even now annually bringing fresh immigrants (both birds and insects) to its shores. We here see nature actually at work; and if the case of Madeira rendered her mode of action probable, that of the Azores may be said to demonstrate it. Mr. Wollaston has objected to this view that “storms and hurricanes” are somewhat rare in the latitude of Madeira and the Canaries; but this little affects the question, since the time allowed for such operations is so ample. If but one very violent storm happened in a century, and ten such storms recurred before a single species of insect was introduced into Madeira, that would be more than sufficient to people it, as we now find it, with a varied fauna. But he also adds the important information that the ordinary winds blow almost uninterruptedly from the north-east, so that there would be always a chance of a little stronger wind than usual bringing insect, or larva, or egg, attached to leaves or twigs. Neither Mr. Wollaston, Mr. Crotch, Mr. A. Murray, nor any other naturalist who upholds the land-connection theory, has attempted to account for the fact of the absence of so many extensive groups of insects that ought to be present, as well as of all small mammalia and reptiles. Cape Verd Islands—There is yet another group of Atlantic islands which is very little known, and which is usually considered to be altogether African—the Cape Verd Islands, situated between 300 and 400 miles west of Senegal, and a little to the south of the termination of the Sahara. The evidence that we possess as to the productions of these islands, shows that, like the preceding groups, they are truly oceanic, and have probably derived their fauna from the desert and the Canaries to the north-east of them rather than from the fertile and more truly Ethiopian districts of Senegal and Gambia to the east. There is a mingling of the two faunas, but the preponderance seems to be undoubtedly with the Palaearctic rather than with the Ethiopian. I owe to Mr. R. B. Sharpe of the British Museum, a MS. list of the birds of these islands, twenty-three species in all. Of these eight are of wide distribution and may be neglected. Seven are undoubted Palaearctic species, viz.:-Milvus ictinus, Sylvia atricapilla, S. conspicillata, Corvus corone, Passer salicarius, Certhilauda desertorum, Columba livia. Three are peculiar species, but of Palaearctic genera and affinities, viz.:Calamoherpe brevipennis, Ammomanes cinctura, and Passer jagoensis. Against this we have to set two West African species, Estrilda cinerea and Numida meleagris, both of which were probably introduced by man; and three which are of Ethiopian genera and affinities, viz.:-Halcyon erythrorhyncha, closely allied to H. semicaerulea of Arabia and North-east Africa, and therefore almost Palaearctic; Accipiter melanoleucus; and Pyrrhulauda nigriceps, an Ethiopian form; but the same species occurs in the Canaries. The Coleoptera of these islands have been also collected by Mr. Wollaston, and he finds that they have generally the same European character as those of the Canaries and Madeira, several of the peculiar Atlantic genera, such as Acalles and Hegeter, occurring, while others are represented by new but closely allied genera. Out of 275 species 91 were found also in the Canaries and 81 in the Madeiran group; a wonderful amount of similarity when we consider the distance and isolation of these islands and their great diversity of climate and vegetation. This connection of the four groups of Atlantic islands now referred to, receives further support from the occurrence of landshells of the subgenus Leptacis in all the groups, as well as in Majorca; and by another subgenus, Hemicycla, being common to the Canaries and Cape Verd islands. Combining these several classes of facts, we seem justified in extending the Mediterranean sub-region to include the Cape Verd Islands.
III–The Siberian Sub-region, or Northern Asia.
This large and comparatively little-known subdivision of the Palaearctic region; extends from the Caspian Sea to Kamschatka and Behring's Straits, a distance of about 4,000 miles; and from the shores of the Arctic Ocean to the high Himalayas of Sikhim in North Latitude 29°, on the same parallel as Delhi. To the east of the Caspian Sea and the Ural Mountains is a great extent of lowland which is continued round the northern coast, becoming narrower as it approaches the East Cape. Beyond this, in a general E.N.E. direction, rise hills and uplands, soon becoming lofty mountains, which extend in an unbroken line from the Hindu Koosh, through the Thian Shan, Altai and Yablonoi Mountains, to the Stanovoi range in the north-eastern extremity of Asia. South of this region is a great central basin, which is almost wholly desert; beyond which again is the vast plateau of Thibet, with the Kuenlun, Karakorum, and Himalayan snow-capped ranges, forming the most extensive elevated district on the globe.
The superficial aspects of this vast territory, as determined by its vegetable covering, are very striking and well contrasted. A broad tract on the northern coast, varying from 150 to 300 and even 500 miles wide, is occupied by the Tundras or barrens, where nothing grows but mosses and the dwarfest Arctic plants, and where the ground is permanently frozen to a great depth. This tract has its greatest southern extension between the rivers Obi and Yenesi, where it reaches the parallel of 60° north latitude. Next to this comes a vast extent of northern forests, mostly of conifers in the more northern and lofty situations, while deciduous trees preponderate in the southern portions and in the more sheltered valleys. The greatest extension of this forest region is north of Lake Baikal, where it is more than 1,200 miles wide. These forests extend along the mountain ranges to join those of the Hindu Koosh. South of the forests the remainder of the sub-region consists of open pasture-lands and vast intervening deserts, of which the Gobi, and those of Turkestan between the Aral and Balkash lakes, are the most extensive. The former is nearly 1,000 miles long, with a width of from 200 to 350 miles, and is almost as complete a desert as the Sahara. With very few exceptions, this vast territory is exposed to an extreme climate, inimical to animal life. All the lower parts being situated to the north, have an excessively cold winter, so that the limit of constantly frozen ground descends below the parallel of 60° north latitude. To the south, the land is greatly elevated, and the climate extremely dry. In summer the heat is excessive, while the winter is almost as severe as further north. The whole country, too, is subject to violent storms, both in summer and winter; and the rich vegetation that clothes the steppes in spring, is soon parched up and replaced by dusty plains. Under these adverse influences we cannot expect animal life to be so abundant as in those sub-regions subject to more favourable physical conditions; yet the country is so extensive and so varied, that it does actually, as we shall see, possess a very considerable and interesting fauna. Mammalia.-Four genera seem to be absolutely confined to this sub-region, Nectogale, a peculiar form of the mole family. (Talpidae); Poephagus, the yak, or hairy bison of Thibet; with Procapra and Pantholops, Thibetan antelopes. Some others more especially belong here, although they just enter Europe, as Saiga, the Tartarian antelope; Sminthus, a desert rat; and Ellobius, a burrowing mole-rat; while Myospalaa, a curious rodent allied to the voles, is found only in the Altai mountains and North China; and Moschus, the musk-deer, is almost confined to this sub-region. Among the characteristic animals of the extreme north, are Mustela, and Martes, including the ermine and sable; Gulo, the glutton; Tarandus, the reindeer; Myodes, the lemming; with the lynx, arctic fox, and polar bear; and here, in the Post-pliocene epoch, ranged the hairy rhinoceros and Siberian mammoth, whose entire bodies still remain preserved in the ice-cliffs near the mouths of the great rivers. Farther south, species of wild cat, bear, wolf, deer, and pika (Lagomys) abound; while in the mountains we find wild goats and sheep of several species, and in the plains and deserts wild horses WoL. I.-16
and asses, gazelles, two species of antelopes, flying squirrels (Pteromys), ground squirrels (Tamias), marmots, of the genus Spermophilus, with camels and dromedaries, probably natives of the south-western part of this sub-region. The most abundant and conspicuous of the mammalia are the great herds of reindeer in the north, the wolves of the steppes, with the wild horses, goats, sheep, and antelopes of the plateaus and mountains. Among the curiosities of this sub-region we must notice the seal, found in the inland and freshwater lake Baikal, at an elevation of about 2,000 feet above the sea. It is a species of Callocephalus, closely allied to, if not identical with, one inhabiting northern seas as well as the Caspian and Lake Aral. This would indicate that almost all northern Asia was depressed beneath the sea very recently; and Mr. Belt's view, of the ice during the glacial epoch having dammed up the rivers and converted much of Siberia into a vast freshwater or brackish lake, perhaps offers the best solution of the difficulty." Plate II.-Characteristic Mammalia of Western Tartary.— Several of the most remarkable animals of the Palaearctic region inhabit Western Tartary, and are common to the European and Siberian sub-regions. We therefore choose this district for one of our illustrative plates. The large animals in the centre are the remarkable saiga antelopes (Saiga Tartarica), distinguished from all others by a large and fleshy proboscis-like nose, which gives them a singular appearance. They differ so much from all other antelopes that they have been formed into a distinct family by some naturalists, but are here referred to the great family Bovidae. They inhabit the open plains from Poland to the Irtish River On the left is the mole-rat, or sand-rat (Spalaa murinus). This animal burrows under ground like a mole, feeding on bulbous roots. It inhabits the same country as the saiga, but extends farther south in Europe. On the right is a still more curious animal, the desman (Myogale Muscovitica), a long-snouted water-mole. This creature is fifteen inches long, including the tail; it burrows in the banks of streams, feeding on insects,
* Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, 1874, p. 494.