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a geological sense) been separated from it. In the next rank come the large islands of the Moluccas on the west, and the range terminating in the Solomon Islands on the east, both of which groups possess a clearly Papuan fauna, although deficient in many of the most remarkable Papuan types. All these islands agree closely with New Guinea itself in being very mountainous, and covered with a luxuriant forest vegetation; but to the south-west we find a set of islands extending from Timor to Lombock, which agree more nearly with Australia, both in climate and vegetation; being arid and abounding in eucalypti, acacias, and thickets of thorny shrubs. Thesey like the Moluccas, are surrounded by deep sea, and it is doubtful whether they have either of them been actually connected with New Guinea or Australia in recent geological times; but the general features of their zoology oblige us to unite all these islands with New Guinea as forming the Austro-Malay sub-division of the Australian region. Still further west however, we have the large island of Celebes, whose position is very difficult to determine. It is mountainous, but has also extensive plains and low lands. Its climate is somewhat arid in the south, where the woods are often scattered and thorny, while in the north it is moister, and the forests are luxuriant. It is surrounded by deep seas, but also by coralline and volcanic islets, indicating former elevations and subsidences. Its fauna presents the most puzzling relations, showing affinities to Java, to the Philippines, to the Moluccas, to New Guinea, to continental India, and even to Africa; so that it is almost impossible to decide whether to place it in the Oriental or the Australian region. On the whole the preponderance of its relations appears to be with the latter, though it is undoubtedly very anomalous, and may, with almost as much propriety, be classed with the former. This will be better understood when we come to discuss its zoological peculiarities. The next sub-region consists of the extensive series of islands scattered over the Pacific, the principal groups being the Sandwich Islands, the Marquesas and Society Islands, the Navigators', Friendly, and Fiji Islands. New Caledonia and the New Hebrides have rather an uncertain position, and it is difficult to decide whether to class them with the Austro-Malay Islands, the Pacific Islands, or Australia. The islands of the west Pacific, north of the equator, also probably come into this region, although the Ladrone Islands may belong to the Philippines; but as the fauna of all these small islets is very scanty, and very little known, they are not at present of much importance. There remains the islands of New Zealand, with the surrounding small islands, as far as the Auckland, Chatham, and Norfolk Islands. These are situated in the south temperate forest-zone. They are mountainous, and have a moist, equable, and temperate climate. They are true oceanic islands, and the total absence of mammalia intimates that they have not been connected with Australia or any other continent in recent geological times. The general character of their zoology, no less than their botany, affiliates them however, to Australia as portions of the same zoological region. General Zoological Characteristics of the Australian Region.— For the purpose of giving an idea of the very peculiar and striking features which characterise the Australian region, it will be as well at first to confine ourselves to the great central land masses of Australia and New Guinea, where those features are manifested in their greatest force and purity, leaving the various peculiarities and anomalies of the outlying islands to be dealt with subsequently. Mammalia.-The Australian region is broadly distinguished from all the rest of the globe by the entire absence of all the orders of non-aquatic mammalia that abound in the Old World, except two—the winged bats (Chiroptera), and the equally cosmopolite rodents (Rodentia). Of these latter however, only one family is represented—the Muridae—(comprising the rats and mice), and the Australian representatives of these are all of small or moderate size—a suggestive fact in appreciating the true character of the Australian fauna. In place of the Quadrumana, Carnivora, and Ungulates, which abound in endless variety in all the other regions under equally favourable conditions, Australia possesses two new orders (or perhaps sub-classes)— Marsupialia and Monotremata, found nowhere else on the globe except a single family of the former in America. The Marsupials are wonderfully developed in Australia, where they exist in the most diversified forms, adapted to different modes of life. Some are carnivorous, some herbivorous; some arboreal, others terrestrial. There are insect-eaters, root-gnawers, fruit-eaters, honey-eaters, leaf or grass-feeders. Some resemble wolves, others marmots, weasels, squirrels, flying squirrels, dormice or jerboas. They are classed in six distinct families, comprising about thirty genera, and subserve most of the purposes in the economy of nature, fulfilled in other parts of the world by very different groups; yet they all possess common peculiarities of structure and habits which show that they are members of one stock, and have no real affinity with the Old-World forms which they often outwardly resemble. The other order, Monotremata, is only represented by two rare and very remarkable forms, Ornithorhynchus and Echidna, probably the descendants of some of those earlier developments of mammalian life which in every other part of the globe have long been extinct. The bats of Australia all belong to Old-World genera and possess no features of special interest, a result of the wandering habits of these aerial mammals. The Rodents are more interesting. They are all more or less modified forms of mice or rats. Some belong to the widely distributed genus Mus, others to four allied genera, which may be all modifications of some common Old-World form. They spread all over Australia, and allied species occur in Celebes and the Papuan Islands; so..that although not yet known from the Moluccas, there can be little doubt that some of them exist there. Birds—The typical Australian region, as above defined, is almost as well characterized by its birds, as by its mammalia; but in this case the deficiencies are less conspicuous, while the peculiar and characteristic families are numerous and important. The most marked deficiency as regards wide-spread families, is the total absence of Fringillidae (true finches), Picidae (woodpeckers), Vulturidae (vultures), and Phasianidae (pheasants)

and among prevalent Oriental groups, Pycnonotidae (bulbuls), Phyllornithidae (green bulbuls), and Megalaemidae (barbets) are families whose absence is significant. Nine families are peculiar to the region, or only just pass its limits in the case of single species. These are Paridiseidae (paradise-birds), Meliphagidae (honey-suckers), Menuridae (lyre-birds), Atrichidae (scrub-birds), Cacatuidae (cockatoos), Platycercidae (broad-tailed and grassparoquets), Trichoglossidae (brush-tongued paroquets, Megapodiidae (mound-makers), and Casuariidae (cassowaries). There are also eight very characteristic families, of which four-Pachycephalidae (thick-headed shrikes), Campephagidae (caterpillar shrikes), Dicaeidae (flower-peckers), and Artamidae (swallowshrikes)—are feebly represented elsewhere, while the other four —Ploceidae (weaver-finches), Alcaedinidae (kingfishers), Podargidae (frog-mouths), and Columbidae (pigeons)—although widely distributed, are here unusually abundant and varied, and (except in the case of the Ploceida) better represented in the Australian than in any other region. Of all these the Meliphagidae (honeysuckers) are the most peculiarly and characteristically Australian. This family abounds in genera and species; it extends into every part of the region from Celebes and Lombock on the west, to the Sandwich Islands, Marquesas, and New Zealand on the east, while not a single species overpasses its limits, with the exception of one (Ptilotis limbata) which abounds in all the islands of the Timorese group, and has crossed the narrow strait from Lombock to Baly; but this can hardly be considered to impugn the otherwise striking fact of wide diffusion combined with strict limitation, which characterizes it. This family is the more important, because, like the Trichoglossidae or brush-tongued paroquets, it seems to have been developed in co-ordination with that wealth of nectariferous flowering shrubs and trees which is one of the marked features of Australian vegetation. It probably originated in the extensive land-area of Australia itself, and thence spread into all the tributary islands, where it has become variously modified, yet always in such close adaptation to the other great features of the Australian fauna, that it seems unable to maintain itself when subject to the competition of the more varied forms of life in the Oriental region; to which, possessing great powers of flight, some species must occasionally have emigrated. Its presence or absence serves therefore to define and limit the Australian region with a precision hardly to be equalled in the case of any other region or any other family of birds. The Trichoglossidae, as already intimated, are another of these peculiarly organized Australian families, parrots with an extensile brush-tipped tongue, adapted to extract the nectar and pollen from flowers. These are also rigidly confined to this region, but they do not range so completely over the whole of it, being absent from New Zealand (where however they are represented by a closely allied form Nestor), and from the Sandwich Islands. The Paradiseidae (birds of paradise and allies) are another remarkable family, confined to the Papuan group of Islands, and the tropical parts of Australia. The Megapodiidae (or mound-builders) are another most remarkable and anomalous group of birds, no doubt specially adapted to Australian conditions of existence. Their peculiarity consists in their laying enormous eggs (at considerable intervals of time) and burying them either in the loose hot sand of the beach above high-water mark, or in enormous mounds of leaves, sticks, earth, and refuse of all kinds, gathered together by the birds, whose feet and claws are enlarged and strengthened for the work. The warmth of this slightly fermenting mass hatches the eggs; when the young birds work their way out, and thenceforth take care of themselves, as they are able to run quickly, and even to fly short distances, as soon as they are hatched. This may perhaps be an adaptation to the peculiar condition of so large a portion of Australia, in respect to prolonged droughts and scanty watersupply, entailing a periodical scarcity of all kinds of food. In such a country the confinement of the parents to one spot during the long period of incubation would often lead to starvation, and the consequent death of the offspring. But the same birds with free power to roam about, might readily maintain themselves. This peculiar constitution and habit, which enabled the Megapodii to

maintain an existence under the unfavourable conditions of their WOL. I.-27

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