Page images

not going south of the Himalayas in India. The North American species are placed in the genus Putorius by Professor Baird. An allied genus, Gymnopus (4 species), is confined to the third and fourth Oriental sub-regions. Gulo (1 species), the glutton, is an arctic animal keeping to the cold regions of Europe and Asia, and coming as far south as the great lakes in North America. Galictis (2 species), the grisons, are confined to the Neotropical region. The Otters (Lutrinae) range over the whole area occupied by the family. They have been subdivided into a number of groups, such as Barangia (1 species), found only in Sumatra; Lontra, containing 3 South American species; Lutra (7 species), ranging over the whole of the Palaearctic and Oriental regions; Nutria (1 species), a sea-otter confined to the west coast of America from California to Chiloe; Lutronectes (1 species),from Japan only; Aonya (5 species), found in West and South Africa, and the third and fourth Oriental sub-regions. Hydrogale (1 species), confined to South Africa; Lataa, (2 species), Florida and California to Canada and British Columbia; Pteronura (1 species), Brazil and Surinam ; and Enhydris (1 species), the peculiar sea-otter of California, Kamschatka and Japan. The last two are the only groups of otters, besides Lutra, admitted by Professor Carus as genera. The Badgers and allies (Melininae) have also a wide range, but with one exception are absent from South America. They comprise the following genera: Arctomya (1 species), Nepal to Aracan; Meles (4 species), North Europe to Japan, and China as far south as Hongkong (Plate I., vol. i., p. 195); Taoidea (2 species), Central and Western North America to 58° N. Lat. ; Mydaus (1 species), mountains of Java and Sumatra; Melivora (3 species), Tropical and South Africa and India to foot of Himalayas; Mephitis (12species), America from Canada and British Columbia to the Straits of Magellan (Plate XX., vol. ii., p. 136). Ictonya: (2 species), Tropical Africa to the Cape; Helictis (4 species), Nepal to Java, Formosa and Shanghai (Plate VII., vol. i. p. 331). Fossil Mustelidae.—Species of otter, weasel, badger, and glutton, occur in European bone caves and other Post-tertiary deposits; and in North America Galictis, now found only in the Neotropical region, and, with Mephitis, occurring in Brazilian caves. WOL. II.-14

Species of Mustela have been found in the Pliocene of France and of South America; and Lutra in the Pliocene of North America.

In the Miocene deposits of Europe several species of Mustela and Lutra have been found; with the extinct genera Tawodon, Potamotherium, and Palaeomephitis; as well as Promephitis in Greece.

In the Upper Miocene of the Siwalik Hills species of Lutra and Mellivora are found, as well as the extinct genera Enhydrion and Ursitaayus. .

The family appears to have been unknown in North America during the Miocene period.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

The Procyonidae are a small, but very curious and interesting family of bear-like quadrupeds, ranging from British Columbia and Canada on the north, to Paraguay and the limits of the tropical forests on the South.

The Racoons, forming the genus Procyon, are common all over North America; a well-marked variety or distinct species inhabiting the west coast, and another, most parts of South America. The genus Nasua, or the coatis (5 species 7), extends from Mexico and Guatemala to Paraguay. The curious arboreal prehensiletailed kinkagou (Cercoleptes candivolvus) is also found in Mexico and Guatemala, and in all the great forests of Peru and North Brazil. Bassaris (2 species), a small weasel-like animal with a banded tail, has been usually classed with the Viverridae or Mustelidae, but is now found to agree closely in all important points of internal structure with this family. It is found in California, Texas, and the highlands of Mexico, and belongs therefore as much to the Nearctic as to the Neotropical region. A second species has recently been described by Professor Peters

[ocr errors]

from Coban in Guatemala, in which country it has also been observed by Mr. Salvin.

Fossil Procyonidae.—A species of Nasua has been found in the bone caves of Brazil, and a Procyon in the Pliocene or Post

[blocks in formation]

The Panda (AElurus fulgens), of the forest regions of the Eastern Himalayas and East Thibet, a small cat-like bear, has peculiarities of organization which render it necessary to place it in a family by itself. (Plate VII. vol. i. p. 331). An allied genus, Aluropus, a remarkable animal of larger size and in colour nearly all white, has recently been described by Professor Milne-Edwards, from the mountains of East Thibet; so that the family may be said to inhabit the border lands of the Oriental and Palaearctic regions. These animals have their nearest allies in the coatis and bears

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

The Bears have a tolerably wide distribution, although they are entirely absent from the Australian and Ethiopian, and almost so from the Neotropical region, one species only being found in the Andes of Peru and Chili. They comprise the following groups, some of which are doubtfully ranked as genera.

Thalassarctos, the polar bear (1 species) inhabiting the Arctic regions; Ursus, the true bears (12 species), which range over all the Nearctic and Palaearctic regions as far as the Atlas Mountains, the Indo-Chinese sub-region in the mountains, and to Hainan and Formosa; Helarctos, the Malay or sun-bear (1 species) confined to the Indo-Malayan sub-region; Melursus or Prochilus, the honey-bear (1 species), confined to the first and second Oriental sub-regions, over which it ranges from the Ganges to Ceylon; and Tremarctos, the spectacled bear—commonly known as Ursus ornatus—which is isolated in the Andes of Peru and Chili, and forms a distinct group.

Fossil Ursidae.—Two bears (Ursus spelaeus and U. priscus) closely allied to living species, abound in the Post-tertiary deposits of Europe; and others of the same age are found in North America, as well as an extinct genus, Arctodus.

Ursus arvernensis is found in the Pliocene formation of France, and the extinct genus Leptarchus in that of North America.

Several species of Amphicyon, which appears to be an ancestral form of this family, are found in the Miocene deposits of Europe and N. India; while Ursus also occurs in the Siwalik Hills and Nerbudda deposits.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

The Otariidae, or Eared Seals, comprehending the sea-bears and sea-lions, are confined to the temperate and cold shores of the North Pacific, and to similar climates in the Southern Hemisphere, where the larger proportion of the species are found. They are entirely absent from the North Atlantic shores. Mr. J. A. Allen, in his recent discussion of this family (Bull. Harvard Museum) divides them into the following genera:

Otória (1 species), Temperate South America, from Chili to La Plata; Callorhinus (1 species), Behring's Straits and Kamschatka ; Arctocephalus (3 species), temperate regions of the Southern Hemisphere; Zalophus (2 species), North Pacific, from California to Japan, and the shores of Australia and New Zealand; Eumetopias (1 species), Behring's Straits and California. Fossil Otariidae.—Remains supposed to belong to this family have been found in the Miocene of France.

[blocks in formation]

–––– |---- | 1 — 3 — |---- |---- | - - - -

The Morse, or Walrus (Trichecus rosmarus), which alone constitutes this family, is a characteristic animal of the North Polar regions, hardly passing south of the Arctic circle except on the east and west coasts of North America, where it sometimes reaches Lat. 60°. It is most abundant on the shores of Spitzbergen, but is not found on the northern shores of Asia between Long. 80° and 160°E, or on the north shores of America from 100° to 150° west.

Its remains have been found fossil in Europe as far south as France, and in America as far as Virginia; but the small fragments discovered may render the identification uncertain.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

The earless or true Seals are pretty equally divided between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, frequenting almost exclusively the temperate and cold regions, except two species said to occur among the West Indian islands. The genus Phoca and its close allies, as well as Halichaerus and Pelagius, are

« EelmineJätka »