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12 - Geographical Distribution -- continued 12-30 - Absence of Batrachians and of terrestrial Mammals 10 With respect to the absence of whole orders on oceanic islands, Bory St. Vincent long ago remarked that Batrachians (frogs, toads, newts) have never been found on any of the many islands with which the great oceans are studded.

Bory Saint Vincent
Bory Saint Vincent

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frogs

toad
toad

newt
newt
12 - Geographical Distribution -- continued 12-30 - Absence of Batrachians and of terrestrial Mammals 20 I have taken pains to verify this assertion, and I have found it strictly true.

I have, however, been assured that a frog exists on the mountains of the great island of New Zealand; but I suspect that this exception (if the information be correct) may be explained through glacial agency.

New Zealand
New Zealand


This general absence of frogs, toads, and newts on so many oceanic islands cannot be accounted for by their physical conditions; indeed it seems that islands are peculiarly well fitted for these animals; for frogs have been introduced into Madeira, the Azores, and Mauritius, and have multiplied so as to become a nuisance.

island
island

Madeira
Madeira

Azores
Azores

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Mauritius
12 - Geographical Distribution -- continued 12-30 - Absence of Batrachians and of terrestrial Mammals 30 But as these animals and their spawn are known to be immediately killed by sea-water, on my view we can see that there would be great difficulty in their transportal across the sea, and therefore why they do not exist on any oceanic island.

But why, on the theory of creation, they should not have been created there, it would be very difficult to explain.

Mammals offer another and similar case.

I have carefully searched the oldest voyages, but have not finished my search; as yet I have not found a single instance, free from doubt, of a terrestrial mammal (excluding domesticated animals kept by the natives) inhabiting an island situated above 300 miles from a continent or great continental island; and many islands situated at a much less distance are equally barren.

The Falkland Islands, which are inhabited by a wolf-like fox, come nearest to an exception; but this group cannot be considered as oceanic, as it lies on a bank connected with the mainland; moreover, icebergs formerly brought boulders to its western shores, and they may have formerly transported foxes, as so frequently now happens in the arctic regions.

Falkland Islands
Falkland Islands

Falkland Islands Wolf
Falkland Islands Wolf
12 - Geographical Distribution -- continued 12-30 - Absence of Batrachians and of terrestrial Mammals 40 Yet it cannot be said that small islands will not support small mammals, for they occur in many parts of the world on very small islands, if close to a continent; and hardly an island can be named on which our smaller quadrupeds have not become naturalised and greatly multiplied.

It cannot be said, on the ordinary view of creation, that there has not been time for the creation of mammals; many volcanic islands are sufficiently ancient, as shown by the stupendous degradation which they have suffered and by their tertiary strata: there has also been time for the production of endemic species belonging to other classes; and on continents it is thought that mammals appear and disappear at a quicker rate than other and lower animals.

Though terrestrial mammals do not occur on oceanic islands, aerial mammals do occur on almost every island.

New Zealand possesses two bats found nowhere else in the world: Norfolk Island, the Viti Archipelago, the Bonin Islands, the Caroline and Marianne Archipelagoes, and Mauritius, all possess their peculiar bats.

New Zealand
New Zealand

bat
bat

Norfolk Island
Norfolk Island

Viti Archipelago
Viti Archipelago

Bonin Islands
Bonin Islands

Mauritius
Mauritius


Why, it may be asked, has the supposed creative force produced bats and no other mammals on remote islands? On my view this question can easily be answered; for no terrestrial mammal can be transported across a wide space of sea, but bats can fly across.

Bats have been seen wandering by day far over the Atlantic Ocean; and two North American species either regularly or occasionally visit Bermuda, at the distance of 600 miles from the mainland.

Bermuda
Bermuda


I hear from Mr.Tomes, who has specially studied this family, that many of the same species have enormous ranges, and are found on continents and on far distant islands.

Hence we have only to suppose that such wandering species have been modified through natural selection in their new homes in relation to their new position, and we can understand the presence of endemic bats on islands, with the absence of all terrestrial mammals.