Vertebrate fauna of Wallacea and surrounds

15 Tasmania

There is a complete contrast as Wallace describes some of the mammals from Australia, in this case from the island of Tasmania. Note that most of them are marsupials. The following excerpt is from: Wallace (1876) The Geographical Distribution of Animals. Chapter XIII. The Australian Region, p. 439:

“The pair of large striped animals are zebra-wolves (Thylacinus cynocephalus), the largest and most destructive of the carnivorous marsupials… In the foreground on the left is a bandicoot (Perameles gunnii). These are delicate little animals allied to the kangaroos; and they are found in all parts of Australia, and Tasmania, to which latter country this species is confined. On the right is the wombat (Phascolomys wombat), a root-eating marsupial, with large incisor teeth like those of our rodents. They inhabit south-east Australia and Tasmania. In the foreground is the porcupine ant-eater (Echidna setosa), belonging to a distinct order of mammalia, Monotremata, of which the only other member is the duck-billed Ornithorhynchus.”

Note: Wallace’s ‘zebra-wolves’ are the Tasmanian Tiger, now extinct. The ‘porcupine ant-eater’ is the Echidna Tachyglossus aculeatus.
Plate XI, A Scene in Tasmania, with Characteristic Mammalia. From The Geographical Distribution of Animals (1876).
Plate XI, A Scene in Tasmania, with Characteristic Mammalia. From The Geographical Distribution of Animals (1876).

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  • Plate XI A Scene in Tasmania © A.R. Wallace is licensed under a Public Domain license

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