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The Amphibia, as here enumerated, consist of 22 families, 152 genera, and nearly 700 species. Many of the families have a very limited range, only two (Ranidae and Polypedatidae) being nearly universal; five more extend each into five regions, while no less than thirteen of the families are confined to one, two, or three regions each. By far the richest region is the Neotropical, possessing 16 families (four of them peculiar) and about 50 peculiar or very characteristic genera. Next comes the Australian, with 11 families (one of which is peculiar) and 16 peculiar genera. The Nearctic region has no less than 9 of the families (two of them peculiar to it) and 15 peculiar genera, 13 of which are tailed Batrachians which have here their metropolis. The other three regions have 9 families each; the Palaearctic has no peculiar family but no less than 15 peculiar genera; the Ethiopian 1 family and 12 genera peculiar to it; and the Oriental, 19 genera but no family confined to it.
It is evident, therefore, that each of the regions is well characterised by its peculiar forms of Amphibia, there being only a few genera, such as Hyla, Rana, and Bufo which have a wide range. The connection of the Australian and Neotropical regions is well shown in this group, by the Phryniscidae, Hylidae, and Discoglossidae, which present allied forms in both ; as well as by the genus Liopelma of New Zealand, allied to the Bombinatoridae of South America, and the absence of the otherwise cosmopolitan genus Rana from both continents. The affinity of the Nearctic and Palaearctic regions is shown by the Proteidae, which are confined to them, as well as by the genus Triton and almost the whole of the extensive family of the Salamandridae. The other regions are also well differentiated, and there is no sign of a special Ethiopian Amphibian fauna extending over the peninsula of India, or of the Oriental and Palaearctic regions merging into each other, except by means of genera of universal distribution.
Fossil Amphibia—The extinct Labyrinthodontia form a separate order, which existed from the Carboniferous to the Triassic period. No other remains of this class are found till we reach the Tertiary formation, when Newts and Salamanders as well as Frogs and Toads occur, most frequently in the Miocene deposits. The most remarkable is the Andrias scheuchzeri from the Miocene of GEningen, which is allied to Sieboldia maxima the great salamander of Japan.
FAMILY 3–PERCIDAE. (61 Genera, 476 Species.)
“Marine or fresh-water carnivorous fishes, with oblong bodies covered with toothed scales.”
DISTRIBUTION.—Seas, rivers and lakes, of all regions.
The genera which inhabit fresh-waters are the following:—
Perca (3 sp.), inhabits the Nearctic and Palaearctic regions as far south as Ohio and Switzerland; one species, the common perch, is British. Pereichthys (5 sp.), Chili and Patagonia, with one species in Java; Paralabrado (2 sp.), California; Labraa, (8 sp.), six species are marine, inhabiting the shores of Europe and North America, one being British, two species inhabit the rivers of the northern United States; Lates (2 sp.), Nile and large rivers of India and China; Acerina (3 sp.), Europe, from England to Russia and Siberia; Percarina (1 sp.), River Dniester; Lucioperca (6 sp.), North America and Europe; Pileoma (2 sp.), North America, Texas to Lake Erie; Boleosoma (3 sp.), Texas to Lake Superior; Aspro (2 sp.), Central Europe; Huro (1 sp.), Lake Huron; Percilia, (1 sp.), Rio de Maypu in Chili; Centrarchus (10 sp.), North America and Cuba; Bryttus (8 sp.), South Carolina to Texas; Pomotis (8 sp.), North America, Lake Erie to Texas.
Of the exclusively marine genera a species of Polyprion and one of Serramus are British. The latter genus has nearly 150 species spread over the globe, but is most abundant in the Tropics. Mesoprion is another extensive genus confined to the
Tropics. Apogon abounds from the Red Sea to the Pacific, but
has one species in the Mediterranean and one in the coast of Brazil.
FAMILY 4.—APHREDODERIDAE (1 Genus, 1 Species.)
“Fresh-water fish, with oblong body covered with toothed scales, and wide cleft mouth.”
DISTRIBUTION.—Atlantic States of North America.
FAMILY 5–PRISTIPOMATIDAE. (25 Genera, 206 Species)
“Marine carnivorous fishes, with compressed oblong bodies, and without molar or cutting teeth.”
DISTRIBUTION.—Seas of temperate and tropical regions, a few only entering fresh water.
Of the more extensive genera, nine, comprising more than half the species, are confined to the Indian and Australian seas, while only one large genus (Haemulon) is found in the Atlantic on the coast of Tropical America. The extensive Pacific genus, Diagramma, has one species in the Mediterranean. One genus is confined to the Macquarie River in Australia. A species of Dentea has occurred on the English coast, and this seems to be the extreme northern range of the family, which does not regularly extend beyond the coast of Portugal, and in the East to Japan. Australia seems to form the southern limit.
FAMILY 6–MULLIDAE (5 Genera, 34 Species)
“Marine fishes, with elongate slightly compressed bodies covered with large scales, and two dorsal fins at a distance from each other.”
DISTRIBUTION.—All tropical seas, except the West Coast o America, extending into temperate regions as far as the Baltic, Japan, and New Zealand.
Two species of Mullus (Mullets) are British, and these are the only European fish belonging to the family.
FAMILY 7–SPARIDAE. (22 Genera, 117 Species.)
“Herbivorous or carnivorous marine fishes, with oblong compressed bodies covered with minutely serrated scales, and with one dorsal fin.”
DISTRIBUTION.—Seas of temperate and tropical regions, a few entering rivers.