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REPORT ON THE MAMMALS.
CH.–Molars cuspidate ; nose with a foliaceous or leaf-like appendage, in which the nostrils are situated.
The leaf-nosed bats are easily recognized among the other Cheiroptera by the presence of a peculiar appendage to the nose. This, instead of being simple, with two nostrils opening at the end or sides of the muzzle, as in ordinary mammals, is provided with a peculiar appendage of varied form attached to the extremity of the snout, and having the nostrils opening through it. There are four sub-families of the group, which may be characterized as follows:
a. Desmodina.-Molars presenting a longitudinal sharp edge, and of the minimum number, (3=3). Nasal appendix without any upright leaf; the ears separated ; a triangular bald spot on the end of the lower lip. Anal membrane short or none ; tail wanting
The species confined to South America.
b. PHYLLOSTOMATA.–Molars cuspidate ; ears separated; nasal leaf lanceolate, erect, (except in Brachyphyllum.) Interfemoral membrane short ; deeply excised; tail very short.
Of this group one species, Choeronycteris mexicana, is found in Mexico. All the others belong to South America. The assignment of a species, Brachyphyllum cavernarum, to South Carolina, as well as the West Indies, has not been substantiated by any American author. ....
c. MEGADERMATA.-Ears large, united ; tragus present.
d. RunoloPHINA.-Ears large, separated ; without a tragus.
Macrotus, Gray, Voyage of the Sulphur. Gen. CH.-Nasal appendage with the leaf ovate, lanceolate, erect; inter-femoral membrane large ; tail long; free at the tip.
It is to the genus Macrotus of the sub-family Megadermata that the first leaf-nosed bat ever positively known as an inhabitant of the United States belongs. It is true that the Brachyphyllum cavernarum of the Phyllostomata has been given as occurring in South Carolina, but the statement has never been verified by any of the large corps of excellent naturalists resident in that State, and is probably an error.
1. MACROTUS CALIFORNICA, Baird.--California Leaf-nosed Bat.
Macrotus californica, Baird, Pr. A. N. Sc. 1858.
The ears of this species are very large, scantily haired, ovate and rounded at the tip. Their outer edge extends forward to a little behind and below the eye; the inner anterior edge is partially free; the two ears are connected by a membrane, which takes its rise about onetwentieth of an inch behind the anterior free edge of the ear, and is united to the corresponding strip of membrane of the opposite side, so as to form a kind of roof over the middle of the head, the entrance posterior. The tragus is narrow, lanceolate, naked, one-third the height of the ear. The nasal appendage is short, but rather higher than wide, and extending on the side and beneath the nostrils as a narrow margin. It is coated rather closely with short hairs. The lower jaw is slightly fissured anteriorly, with a small narrow wart on each side the fissure; a groove or furrow extends from the fissure along each side the lower jaw.
The feet are entirely free, the spur about as long; the membrane extending between the spurs is slightly concave, leaving the extremity of the tail free for the last joint, or for about onesixth its total length. The general color is a pale brownish grey ; darker above than below. Length to occiput.....
............ 1.00 Length of tragus .......... Length to root of tail. ................. 2.60 Length of leaf of nose............... .30 Length of tail .......................... 1.50 Wing from carpal joint ............. 3.00 Length of ears.
Fore arm.......... This species closely resembles the M, waterhousii of Gray, from the West Indies. It differs, however, in the longer tail and shorter appendage of the nose, as well as in the widely different locality.
2347. Fort Yuma, California. Major G. H. Thomas.
It is in this family that all the North American bats, with the exceptions above referred to, are found, although they do not embrace many different generic forms. The number of species is quite large, though not well ascertained, over thirty being recorded in the books.
In the great uncertainty attending the true characteristics of North American bats, as described, and the necessity of carefully identifying the species of the eastern States, I have been unwilling to attempt the description of the bats of western America at the present time. I have, accordingly, figured but two species; the one, Macrotus californicus; the other, Vespertilio pallidus, of Major Leconte; the description of which, taken from this eminent author, I subjoin.
2. VESPERTILIO PALLIDUS, Leconte.— Yellow Bat. Vespertilio pallidus, Leconte, Pr. A. N. Sc. Ph. VII, Dec. 1835, 437. “ Upper Jaw. Incisors 1-1, large, simple. Canines 1–1, a little concave on the outer side, with an internal, basal, rather blunt cusp. False molars 1-1. Molars first and second, as in all the others; the third with four cusps, three of them transverse, the interior one smaller, and one posterior.
“ Lower Jaw. Incisors. 4. False molars 2-2, the anterior one smaller, rather interior. First and socond molarsas in others the third with three cusps, not transverse, the interior one larger, and transversely deeply emarginate.
“ Hair light fawn colored, tipped with darker, beneath paler. Face hairy, dark brown. Nose rounded, emarginate. Ears longer than the head, oval, entire, very pale dusky brown. Orillon nearly one half the length of the ear, linear, blunt. Mem. brane thin, naked, brown. Inter-femoral, including the tail, except the two last joints.
“ Length, 3; tail, 1.5; naked part, 1; extent, 12.1; head, 9 ; ears, .97; Orillon, 4.” Inhabits California.
“ Differs from all the other species in having but four lower incisors; I hesitate, therefore, to arrange it with the Serinoid or Muroid Bats, and place it at the end of those two families.”
Numerous specimens of this species were collected by the Boundary Commission in Texas, New Mexico, Sonora, and California. The one described by Major Leconte was taken at El Paso.
3. BLARINA BERLANDIERI, Baird, (p. 53.") Several specimens of this species were contained in the Berlandier collection, and are easily characterized by the above diagnosis. The species is described more at length in the report on the Zoology of the Pacific Railroad Survey.
2159. Matamoras, Mex., Lt. Couch.
4. BLARINA EXILIPES, Baird, (p. 51.) A single specimen of Shrew, (631,) which I somewhat doubtingly refer to a species described in the report on the Zoology of the Pacific Railroad Survey, as found in Mississippi, was taken at Brownsville, Texas, by Capt. Van Vliet.2
“Panthers are found in greater or less numbers throughout the entire country traversed by the Boundary Commission. In Texas, along all the streams where there are thick bushes, it has been seen from the coast to the Rio Grande, at El Paso del Norte; and likewise from the latter place, in similar localities, was observed by us as far as Los Nogales in Sonora; in which State, the Mexicans, who call it Leon, wage against it an unceasing warfare, on account of the ravages which it commits among the cattle. It destroys very many colts and calves in that country, not very often attacking full grown animals. The most effective means used for their destruction, in the hands of the Sonoranians, is strychnine. They poison with this substance the carcases of the animals that have been slain, and not only often succeed in thus killing the Leones, but a great number of wolves also.
1 The page referred to in brackets is that of the General Report on the Mammals of Western North America, forming the eighth volume of the series of Pacific Railroad reports, where the species are described at length, and their synonymy given in detail.
2 A species of long tailed shrew or true Sorex, collected at Fort Bliss, Texas, by Dr. Crawford, was received too late to characterize in this place. A species of Scalops, (S. latimanus,) is described from Texas, by Dr. Bachman, but it has not fallen under my observation.
“Near Los Nogales, in the month of June, we pursued a female panther, which we succeeded in wounding very severely, the bullet having sbattered the hind leg several inches above the ankle. It uttered a kind of howling cry, and fled as rapidly as it could, and disappeared. Six days afterwards we came very suddenly and unexpectedly upon this same animal, lying partly concealed in a fissure among the rocks. Although we were within ten feet of it, when we saw it with its mouth opened, showing its teeth in a very threatening manner, and uttering at the same time a deep growl, it did not offer to spring. As soon as it was killed, we observed the old wound. The weather had been warm and worms were busy in the place where the leg was broken, and the animal had become so emaciated as to lead us to believe that it had remained in that spot during the entire six days, certainly without food, and perhaps without water,
“ Those panthers that we have observed were always found in the most solitary places, generally where there were thick bushes, and in the vicinity of rocky spots, affording caverns for secure concealment, and in which to bring forth their young. They always manifested great shyness, and fled rapidly at the sight of us, rendering it difficult to get within gun shot of them.
“On one or two occasions we have heard their cry in the night, when they seemed to be at a distance, but in sight of our camp fires."-(Kennerly.)
“ Felis concolor; Cuguar or Panther, of the Texans; Leon, of the Mexicans ; Chimbica, of the Cochimies of Lower California, Yutin, of the Apaches; Miztli, of the ancient Mexicans; Pagi, of the Chileños; Puma, of the Peruvians.
“A remarkable fact in respect to the panther is related by Clavigero, in his history of Lower California.—(See Book I, chapter 16.) According to this author, the puma exercised 80 severe a rule over that unhappy peninsula that the work of civilization, commenced by missionary Jesuits, never could rise above a certain elementary state. The missions and presidios established there, after years and years of labor, could never succeed in raising their own supply of domestic animals, but had to depend for that on the States of Sinaloa, Sonora, and other parts of the Mexican empire.
- The prodigious spreading of the · Puma' over the peninsula of California seems to have been caused by a superstitious belief on the part of the nutives there, who did not dare to kill or disturb this animal in any way. It became one of the missionary labors to gradually overcome and remove this singular notion. Indeed, the state of civilization among the California Indians has been so low that they in some respects depended on the success of the sporting puma. Thus Clavigero states that the hungry Indians used to watch the gathering of the buzzards, and searched the ground carefully whenever they observed a number of these scavenger birds, the acute scent of which leads them always unfailingly to the spot where some carcass was deposited upon or under ground By these means these miserable savages were enabled to discover the remains of a puma feast, which such a lordly beast, after the fashion of all the “Felidae or Canidae' had hidden away here, and slightly covered with soil.
“In the regions of the Rio Bravo del Norte, and other sections along the boundary line, the puma acts a less prominent part. Here he is eagerly hunted by the white and red man, and especially by the cattle-raising sons of the half breed Mexicans.
- The numerous herds of wild cattle, mustang, mules, and horses, besides plentiful other game in the fertile valleys and table lands of the Lower Rio Bravo, Nueces, and other Texan rivers, form a rich support for a vast number of pumas and jaguars.
“ The habits of the puma seem to be nocturnal, and it is during the hours after dark that his mournful note is heard resounding through the solitude of the deserts. The note listened to once attentively is apt to make a deep lasting impression
“The different native names as pronounced in Spanish sound very appropriately to the note, and it is likely that the cry of the animal forms the base of its names. The note itself is often several times repeated, with intervals of from two to four minutes. As vight time advances, the cry is heard but rarely.
“A puma was killed on the Rio Bravo, between Fort Duncan and Laredo. It was full grown and of considerable size, measuring from the nose to the insertion of the tail nearly four feet. This one was the head of a family, consisting of himself, a mother and two young ones. During his struggle with the hunters and dogs he raised a terrible cry, twice or thrice, to express his rage, and perhaps also to give to his family the notice of danger. The latter seemed to have retreated immediately after hearing the warning, as the hunters, after despatching the old one, could trace the fresh tracks of both the mother and the two young going down on the river side."-(A. Schott.)
FELIS ONZA, Linn. (p. 86.)—Jaguar; American Tiger. This huge cat replaces on the continent of America the tiger of the Old World, as regards size and strength; little inferior to it in these respects, it is, however, less dreaded by hunters.
The specimens at present before me do not permit any very accurate description of the species, except as to its color. One of these is from the Brazos river, Texas; the other from Brazil. In the former, the ground color of back and sides is of a pale golden yellow, of the belly white. The top and sides of the head, neck, and shoulders, the legs all round, and the belly,
are marked with full black blotches, smaller on the top of the head, sides of neck and shoulders; larger on the outside of the legs ; largest on the belly and inside of legs. The top of the muzzle is unspotted brownish yellow. Just back of the shoulders on the dorsal line are one or two large. blotches, with central light spaces; beyond this, and extending to the tail, is a vertebral series of elongated blotches, more or less confluent, and in contact, and with little or no trace of lighter centres. On each side of this line, the sides of the body are seen to be occupied by several series of large angulated blotches; the exterior black, and more or less interrupted, inclosing an area of the ground color, with from one to four spots of black. No difference of color between the centres of these blotches and the intervals between adjacent ones is discernible, as in the ocelot. There may be traced from three to five series of these blotches on each side of the vertebral line, and they may be made out to occupy the meshes of an irregular reticulation of ground color, and are sometimes alternate, sometimes opposite. The tail is marked with elongated blotches on a yellow ground; towards the tip, however, it assumes the appearance of being black, with transverse light bars. The convexity of the ear is black, with a white blotch.
The Brazilian specimen is much the same with that above described, except that it is considerably larger, and with more red in the ground color.
This species differs in the pattern of coloration from the ocelot, in being without the lines or stripes on the head, upper surface of neck and limbs, these portions being provided with small simple blotches, occasionally elongated. The anterior half of the tail is irregularly blotched, the posterior half only being like the entire tail of the ocelot, black when viewed from above, with transverse light bands. The sets of spots are more regular and distinct, and less elongated than in the ocelot; the intervals between the sets of blotches are of the same color with the centres of the latter, instead of being lighter.
This species is found through the greater part of eastern Texas, extending as far as Red river. It is quite probable that specimens have been killed within the limits of Louisiana, as at present constituted. Southward it ranges through Brazil (where it is abundant) and Paraguay as far south as the Rio Negro.
“ This large cat, so common in southwestern Texas, especially along the lower Rio Grande, is rarely seen so far north as El Paso del Norte. The only individual observed by our party west of the latter place was seen in the Sierra Madre, near the Guadaloupe cañon. However, we were assured by many persons of Santa Cruz that it was very common near that village, in the valley of the river of the same name."-(Kennerly.)
Jaguar, tiger, leopard of the Texans ; tutinquillé, of the Apaches ; tigre, of the Mexicans.
This powerful rival of the puma equals the latter in size and muscular strength and elasticity in the use of its limbs. The habits of both coincide almost entirely, perhaps with the exception that the jaguar confines itself rather to more covered regions, preferring the impenetrable thickets in the river bottoms. Here he lies in wait for his prey, especially on the watering places of mustangs, wild cattle, and deer. Its less extensive geographical distribution, however, gives the jaguar a minor importance when compared with the puma.
As far as my knowledge extends, the head of the Rio Bravo, with the surrounding country, is the northern limit of the jaguar. The westernmost specimen of the genus was seen in the Guadaloupe cañon (Sierra Madre) by Mr. J. Weyss, one of the assistants of this commission.
Many stories about the ferocity of this animal are told among the inhabitants of the western regions, but none substantiating the fact that a jaguar unprovoked will attack man. In the annals of the convent of San Francisco, in Santa Fé, a bloody occurrence is recorded which contains some indications of the jaguar's nature.
The following is an abridged translation from the Spanish :
- On April 10, 1825, a lay brother, after having made confession and concluded his prayers, entered the sacristy. There he was terror-stricken on opening the door and seeing himself almost face to face with a jaguar (tigre) of very extraordinary size.