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Australian

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A detailed description of the vertebrate fauna of Australia

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Australian

  1. 1. A Zoogeographical region with no land connection with any other region
  2. 2. Australian Region New Zealand and Pacific Islands not included Include Australia, Tasmania, New Guinea, a few smaller islands of Malay Archipelago
  3. 3. Australian Region: Climate  Partly Tropical and Partly South-Temperate  Northern part (North Australia and New Guinea)…Lies in tropics with high summer temperature sand mainly Rain forest (called Scrub locally in Queensland).  Interior part…….mostly hot but dry  Southern part………Mainly Temperate
  4. 4. Australian Region: Climate  New Guinea: Tropical; mostly covered with rain forest  Areas of grassland and series of altitudinal vegetations on the mts.  South coast: areas of open eucalyptus woods
  5. 5. Australian Region: Climate  Southern part… Mainly Temperate  Eastern and South-eastern part well watered with open eucalyptus woods and some wetter, denser forest on the mountains.
  6. 6. Australian Region: Climate  Southwestern …moderately wet but cut off by deserts from the east. There are some fine forests of big trees in the southwest.  Tasmania.. ..Cool Temperate, and is partly wet and forested.
  7. 7. Australian Region: Mammals  Most striking characteristics……its Paucity…..but what it lacks in variety and no. of families, it make up in the uniqueness of many.  Apart from Bats, only 9 families of mammals…8 of these are unique.  Recent Introductions by Man from Palearctic………..Rabbits, Foxes, Rats, Mice.  Other introductions….. dates back to prehistoric times….. Dingo Dog and Pigs. Dingo Dog
  8. 8. Australian: Mammals  Nine families  Only one placental mammal fam.  Six Marsupials fam.  Two Monotremes fam.
  9. 9. Australian: Placental Mammals  Only one placental mammal, the murid mouse fam.  Wide range in old world but australian murids are of distinct genera  Hydromyinae-water rats (False water rats-lack of webbing on the feet), an exclusive subfam. Smoky mouse Water Rat (Xeromysmyoides) Plains mouse
  10. 10. Australian: Marsupial Mammals  Dominant mammal fauna- Marsupials  Six excl. fam.- none of which occur in New World (where other living marsupials lives)  In presence of a few placental (none of them carnivores)- marsupials become diverse and have taken to ways of life which in other parts of the world are followed by placentals.  There is a striking parallelism in superficial structures between some Australian mammals and their counterparts in other regions.
  11. 11. Parallel Radiation of Marsupials: Convergent Evolution
  12. 12. Resemblance Paddle -shaped feet and strongly clawed fingers In all superficial aspects In all superficial aspects In all superficial aspects In all superficial aspects In all superficial aspects Similar predatory life Fam. Notoryctidae Extinct Opossums Squirrel
  13. 13. Placental Mammals Australian Mammals (Marsupials) Resemblance Rabbits and insectivores Fam. Peramelidae (Bandicoots, Bilbys) In all superficial aspects Large Rodents Phascolomidae, Wombats (Vombatus ursinus) In all superficial aspects Ungulates Kangaroos and Wallabies Their herbivorous diet and speed of travel in open country
  14. 14. Parallel radiation of Marsupials  Not perfect  No masupials bats, seals, or whales. Placental representatives of these orders occupy the air and seas of Australia Australian Fur Seal Australian Fruit Bat/ Flying Fox
  15. 15. Australian-Monotreme Mammals  Relationship with marsupials and placental v remote.  May have had a separate origin from reptiles after these had acquired hairs but had not yet lost their egg-laying habits.  Two Australian fam. Only living Monotremes (Excl.)  Duckbilled Platypuses  Echidnae or spiny- ant eaters  Owe their survival to:  their specialized ways of life  the absence of placental carnivores
  16. 16. Australian-Monotreme Mammals Echidnas/Spiny ant eater Duckbilled platypus  Active ant eater  Lay small leathery eggs  Mother incubate eggs in a small pouch  The young are fed with milk which seeps on to the fur from special pores on the underside of the mother  Semiaquatic  Lay small leathery eggs  Mother incubate eggs by curling around them  The young are fed with milk which seeps on to the fur from special pores on the underside of the mother
  17. 17. Australian Mammals-conclusion  Only a few monotremes (Excl. subclass)  Many marsupials (6 excl. fam.)  Diverse rodents of fam. Muridae (O.W.)  Fruit bats (warm O.W.)  6 fam. of insectivorous bats (all occurring elsewhere)
  18. 18. Australian- Birds  Does not equal mammals in peculiarity as vast majority with a wide range  Trogons, Kingfisher, Hawks and Cuckoos together with pigeons and parrots (both of which reach their greatest diversity there). Trogons Kingfisher Hawk Cuckoos
  19. 19. Australian- Birds  Many Australian Warblers (Malurinae)  Parrots-highly diverse with 3 excl. subfam.  Cockatoos  Lories  Pygmy parrots Cockatoos Lories Pygmy Parrot Warblers
  20. 20. Australian- Birds  Four bird fam. Shared with Oriental Region  Frogmouth  Wood Swallow  Flower peckers  Megapodes Frogmouth Wood swallow Megapodes Flower peckers
  21. 21. Australian- Birds  Some birds, which are abundant in O.R are not seen in Australian region which include:  Pheasants  Finches  Barbets  Woodpeckers
  22. 22. Australian- Birds  Ten unique fam.  Of which, two flightless  Emus  Cassowaries  Honey suckers  Lyrebirds  Bower birds  Legendary bird of paradise /bird of sun Cassowaries Bower bird Male Honey Sucker Bird of Paradise Bower bird Female Lyre bird
  23. 23. Australian Birds- Conclusion  Representatives of 58 fam on freshwater and land  Of these, 48 fam more or less widely distributed, over the world, or the tropics, or all or much of the Old World.  Proportion of Australian birds in exclusive fam. Is larger than in any other continental faunal region except the Neotropical
  24. 24. Australian -Reptiles  Moderately varied with two excl. fam.  Constricting pythons and biting tiger snakes abundant Constricting Python Tiger snake
  25. 25. Australian -Reptiles  Geckos, skinks, agamid lizards and varanid Komodo Dragon- Varanus (warm O.W.),the largest of all lizards present.  Pygopodids excl.  A Dibamus (O) in New guinea Geckos Skinks Agamid Lizard Pygopodids Lizard Komodo Dragon Dibamus
  26. 26. Australian -Reptiles  Crocodiles in tropical parts of the region  Three fam. of turtles, of which one is uinque-(Carettochelys, excl. fam.) , one of which occurs in Oriental Region- a trionychidae (soft shell turtle) , and one in South America- Chelyid turtles (Side neck or Snake neck turtles)  Turtles shared with Neotropical region belong to chelyid fam. of side-necks. They have strikingly long necks and are aquatic. Carettochelys, pig-nosed turtle Soft Shell turtle Snake neck turtle
  27. 27. Australian -Amphibians  Few, Australia being the only region where common toads are absent.  A few common frogs, hylid tree frogs (also found in New world and Palearctic but absent from Oritental region), leptodactylids (S.A. etc.), a few ranids (wide) and brevicipitids (warm world, subfam. nearly excl.)  No tailed amphibians
  28. 28. Australian -Fishes  Freshwater fish fauna equally poor  Third lung fish, Neoceratodus found in the rivers of Queensland. It differ from other two lung fishes in the more obvious development of its lobed fins.  An Osteoglossid (O etc.)  Peripheral fishes
  29. 29. Overview  Poverty of freshwater fish, amphibian, and reptiles  Uniqueness of mammals and birds  A few frogs, turtles and marsupials resembles South America  Terrestrial reptiles, many birds and placental mammals show close affinities with Oreintal Region.  Little in common with Ethiopian though both have lung fishes and side necks they don’t share the same fam. Of either of these groups.

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