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Western Siberia
On the plains of Western Siberia, and in the edges of the
forests are many mammals which also penetrate the Arctic
Tmidra. Within the dense forests animal life is very scant,
so little game is found here that hunters have traveled for
days without seeing any. The principal mammalia living in
the fringe of the forests and on the plains

"are the glutton (Gulo borealis, Nilss,), the common bear (Ursus
arctus, L,), the very rare sable (Mustela jribellina, L.), the ermine
(Mustela trminea, L.), the Siberian weasel (Mustela sibirica, Pali),
the common weasel (Mustela vulgaris, ErtL), the otter (Lutra vul-
garis, Erkl,), although rare, the wolf (Canis lupus, L,),tht fox (Cants
vulpes, L.)> the black variety being only peculiar to the extreme north,
the l3mx (Felis lynx, L.)> the elk (Cervus alces, L.), the flying squirrel
(Pteromys volans, L.)> the common squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris, L.)» the
striped squirrel (Tamias striatus, L,), and some small species of
rodents. Finally on the low mountain ridges intersecting the polar
and forest regions of Eastern Siberia, for instance, on the Severma
chain, east of the Yenisei, under 67^ north latitude, and on the moun-
tains following the current of the Lower Tunguska, there are animals
belonging to the mountain fauna, namely the mountain sheep
(Aegoceros montanus, Desm,) and the musk (Moschus moschiferus,


" On the Altai-Sayan elevations in Eastern and particularly Western
Siberia, there are naturally species of such mammals as are not found on
the Siberian plains. There are the alpine wolf (Canis alpinus, Pall),
two races of large cats (Felis irbis, MUIL, and Felis manul, the
Chtonoergus alpinus, Spermophylus Eversmanni), the alpine hare
(Lagomys alpinus. Pall.), the stag (Cervus elaphus), and others."*

* Siberia and the Great Siberian Railway, p. 41.

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The insect fauna of the plains is very similar to that of Euro-
pean Russia. But on the Altai Mountains the differentiation
of the insect fauna, like that of the flora, becomes very great.

"The local forms of Coleoptera incapable of flight, are peculiarly
eccentric; for example, species of Carabus, some of which are exceed-
ingly rare: Car. imperialis, Fisch,, Car. Regalis, Boeb., Car. Gebleri,
Fisch., Car. Leachi, Fisch., Car. Loschnikowii, Fisch., etc. and wingless
wood-cutters (for example, Dorcadium politum, Dalm.), etc

Eastern Siberia

In the Transbaikal region the mammalia are quite similar
to those of Western Siberia, the great change being in the
invertebrate fauna. " Very many of their forms, entirely ab-
sent from Siberia, as, for example, among the articulate ani-
mals, the river crayfish, appear upon the upper streams of the
Amur system, of course with specific distinctions from the
European (Astacus Amurensis) .'* The approach to the sea
is marked by the appearance of insects which are transitional
forms from the continental to the littoral.

•*Thu8, for example, in the genus Carabus of the family of the
Coleoptera, not possessing true wings under their brilliant elytra, the
local elongated, comparatively narrow forms of the Subgenus Cop-
tolabrus (species Coptohbrus stnaragdinus, Fisch.), serve as the tran-
sition to the still more elongated forms of the Japanese subgentis of
Carabs damaster.

''As regards the vertebrate fauna, with the more extensive regions
of distribution of these animals, the Transbaikal fauna naturally shows
incomparably more resemblance to the remaining fauna of Siberia.

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Nerertheless, to the animals occurring over the whole forest zone of
Eastern Siberia (v. supra), are added a few mountain forms of the
Altai-Saytm system, steppe forms of Mongolia, and finally, animals
breeding in the Amur territory and in Manchuria. To the first belong,
the musk-deer (Moschus moschiferus, L.), roebuck (Cervus capreolus,
L.)f badger {Meles taxus, Schr.), polecat (Mustela putorius, L.), Evers-
mann's marmot (Spermophilus Eversmanni, Br,), and the rat hare
(Lagomys alpinus. Pall.). To the second belong the corsak {Cams
cor sac, L,), steppe cat (Felis manul, Pall.), baibak (Arctomys bobac,
Schr.), Lagomys ogotona. Pall, the jerboa (Dipus jaculus, Pall.) tolai
(Lepus tolai. Pall.), two species of saiga (Antilope gutturosa. Pall,
Antilope crispa, Temm.), and finally, the kulan or dziggetai (Equus
hemionus. Pall), To the third belongs the Amur raccoon (Canis
procyonoides, Gr.), a species of dur (Cervus elaphus, L.)> And wild
boar (Sus scropha, L.).

" The fauna of the birds which, from the very nature of their mode
of locomotion, are capable of having the most extensive region of dis-
tribution, also here includes both northern and southern forms. To
the first, for example, belong the capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus, L.),
blackcock (Tetras tetrix, L.), hazel-hen (Tetrao bonasia, L.), white
and alpine ptarmigan (Lagopus albus, Cm., and alpinus, Nilss.) ; to
the second, the steppe blackcock (Syrrhaptes paradoxus. Pall,), black
crane (Grus motiachus, Temm.), and two more southern species of
crane (Grus leucogrammus. Pall, and Grus virgo, L,), the blue mag-
pie (Pica cyanea. Pall), etc

"In regard to snakes and other reptiles, on the whole occurring so
rarely in Northern Siberia, the Transbaikal country is comparatively
rich. Besides the harmless snake (Coluber rufodorsatus. Cant) and
(Elaphis dione, Pall), there are here to be met with the extremely
venomous varieties Trigonocephalus intermedius, Strauch, and Trigono-
cephalus BlomhoffU, Boje. Finally, the piscine fauna, on crossing the

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Yablonoi range into the system of the Amur, completely alters its char-
acter (v. infra)." *

Among the invertebrate fauna as the Sea of Japan is ^>-
proached, " a few forms appear not found in the Amur country
and bearing a sub-tropical character," also

"the proportion increases of purely European species or their ana-
logues, a fact particularly noticeable in those orders of insects pos-
sessing a highly developed power of flight, as for example, the butter-
flies and moths (Lepidoptera). On the whole, both the flora and the
fauna of the Usuri country, as also of the whole Amur-Littoral region,
bear a completely palearctic character, that is, the character of the north-
em zone of the Old World, here reaching as far as the Eastern Ocean ;
while in the more southern zone the palearctic fauna crossing the whole
tableland of Central Asia and Tibet together finds its limit in a more
western meridian upon the frontier of the warm sub-tropical plains of
China, falling far short of the Eastern Ocean.

" The vertebrate animals of the Usuri-Littoral country are the same
as those in Amuria; only one species of deer (Cervus axis), a few
small rodents, and fish in the Sea of Japan appearing in its bays like
the herrings and pilchards in countless numbers at certain seasons of
the year, constitute the difference between the fauna of the Usuri*
Littoral region and that of the Amur." t

In the Kamchatkan region among the mammals are the bear
{Ursus arctos, L.), the badger (Meles taxus, Schr.), the glut-
ton (Gulo borealis, NUss.), the Russian sable (Mustela zibeU
Una, L.) and several other species of the Mustela, amcmg

* Siberia and the Great Siberian Railway, pp. 5^59.
tibid. p. 69.

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which is found the species Flavigula, common only to Japan
and the northeast coast of Asia, the European otter (Lutra
vulgaris, Erxl), several species of wolf, the European shrew,
three species of deer (Cervus alces, L,, C. tarandus, L., and
C capreolus, L.) and the musk-deer {Moschus tnoschiferus,

The birds of Kamchatka, according to the list in the Rus-
sian Government report on the " Okhotsk-Kamchatka R^on,"
number 263 species of which twenty-eight belong to the Ra-
paces, ninety-four to the Passeres, twelve to the Scansores, one
to the Columbidae, seven to the Gallinaceae, thirty-nine to the
Grallatores, and eighty-two to the Natatores. Of these five
are found only along the northeast coast of Asia. Four of
them (Cinclus Pallasii, Temm., MotacUla lugens, Kittl, Corvus
macrorhynchus japonensis, Tacz.; and Pyrrida rosacea, Seeb.)
are Passeres. The other one, common only to this part of
Asia, is the species of Scansores, (Gecinus canus, Gm.),

From the lists in the Russian Government report on Man-
churia, a few facts of interest might be mentioned concerning
the fauna of the North Pacific coast of Asia. Of the fifty-five
species of Mammals found in Manchuria, fifty are common
to the Amur provinces ; forty-three to the Maritime Province ;
thirty-eight to China, Japan, and Korea; thirty-eight to East-
em Mongolia; thirty-seven to Eastern Siberia; fifteen to
Arctic Siberia; and twenty-seven to Europe. In Manchuria
there are 268 species of birds, of which 238 are common to
the Amur provinces; 259 to the Maritime Province; 230 to

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China, Japan, and Korea; 194 to Eastern Mongolia; 173 to
Eastern Siberia; 70 to Arctic Siberia; and iii to Europe.

Turkestan and the Steppes

In marked contrast to the faupa of all the sections of Asiatic
Russia thus far described, stands that of Turkestan. Shut off
by snow-dad mountains on the south and by arid desert wastes
on the north, its faunal development has been peculiar and
interesting. For the collections from which most of our knowl-
edge of the fauna of Turkestan has been derived, we are in-
debted to Professor A. P. Fedchenko, who with his wife spent
the years from 1868 to 1871 in making zoological collections
in Turkestan. His energy and enterprise can be judged from
the fact, that, during his first trip in the Zerafshan Valley,
during four months he collected 7,800 zoological specimens,
comprising 1,700 different species. Later, during a more ex-
tended trip, he collected 57,000 specimens, among which there
were over 5,000 species of animals.

Professor Fedchenko laid great plans for identifying his
specimens and drawing generalizations from the results, but
unfortunately he died with his work but scarcely started.
Henry Lansdell in the second volume of his book on " Russian
Central Asia " (pages 506-617) gives the lists of Fedchenko's
collections as identified and enlarged by different scientists.
To this we are indebted for the following facts on the fauna
of Turkestan.

Before taking up Turkestan proper, however, it may be

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well to consider the fauna of the Kirghiz Steppe, which is a
sort of middle grotind between the Siberian and Turkestan

" The fauna of the invertebrates in the Kirghiz Steppe region is
as peculiar and original as the flora. The difference between it and
that of Western Siberia and European Russia is striking. On the
other hand it is beyond doubt that this fauna differs very little from
that of the deserts and steppes of the Aral-Caspian depression. The
fauna of the sub-mountainous zone presents quite a different character,
bearing a close resemblance to that of Turkestan and the Pamir.
Among the cdeopterous insects, not only of the sandy desert of the
steppe zone, but throughout the whole of it, the sluggishly moving
Tenehrionidae, without wings under their hard coherent elytra, pre-
dominate. On the contrary, in the mountainous zone of the Tian-
Shan and Ala-tau, as in the dry stq>pe, the Tenehrionidae, are met
with in smaller numbers, while here occur numerous kinds of Cara-
bidae, among which are very rare mountain forms characteristic of
the Central Asiatic mountainous zones.

"Of the vertebrates a great number of birds come during winter
from the ht north, and nestle in the steppe and sub-mountainous re-
gions. The ornithological fauna of this region is especially rich. In
the warm valleys exist different species of fowls, as also the most
beautiful sorts of Asiatic pheasants ; on the rivers and lakes is found a
great variety of birds, native of the Mediterranean basin, among which
are covies of pelicans; and on the alpine zone, numbers of mountain-
ous birds, the greater part of which are natives of the Asiatic moun-

'' Even the feiuna of the mammals is much richer and more varied
than in Siberia. The tiger and the irbis (Felis irbis) reach the northern
limit of their distribution in the reeds of Balkash, but occasionsdly
stray northward into the neighborhood of the Ala-tau. Wild boars

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occur in all the tub-mountainous zone, in the Tian-Shan and Trans-
Ilian Ala-tau. There are two species of bear belonging to the Pamir
and the range of the Himalaya (Ursus thibetanus and isablelinus).
Besides the arkhar (Otns argoli), extremely common in the alpine
and subalpine zones of the Tian-Shan and both Ala-tau, the kochgar,
(a mountain sheep first described by the celebrated traveler, Marco
Polo, and subsequently called in his honor, Ovis Polii, from the
horns and skeletons found in abundance on the Pamir), breeds in the
wildest parts of the Tian-Shan. This species was long considered
extinct, until discovered by the most recent Russian travelers, Seme-
nov, Sievertsov, and Przhevalsky. In the mountainous zone of the
sub-mountainous region also breed the Cervus Pygargus, Capra sxbirica,
several species of Saiga (for example, Antilope snbgutturosa) and
the porcupine (hystrix) ; while the steppe zone contains kulans
(Equus hemionus) ," *

Still further south in Turkestan the difference from the
European fauna is even more marked. Out of the eighty-
three mammals described, there are five new species entirely
peculiar to this region; Plecotus leucophaeus, Aryan mouse
(Mus wagneri major), Meriones Collium, Lagomys rutUus, and
Lepus Lehmanni.

Among the birds (Aves) there are nine nev»r species out of
the 384 mentioned ; Falco Tscherniaievi, Saxicola melanogenys,
Salicaria macronyx, S. eurhyncha, S, sphenura, S. tamariceti,
S. concolor, Cettia fusca, Acridiornis sframinea.

Among the fishes (Pisces) there are fourteen new species
out of the forty-two mentioned : Scaphirhynchus Fedchenkoi,
Kessl, Capoefa Sfeindachneri, Kessl, Barbus lacertoides,

* Siberia and the Great Siberian Railway, pp. 82-83.

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KessL, Oreinus euryslomus, O. minutus, Schizothorax Fed-
ckenkoi, S. Aksaiensis, Diptychus Seversovi, Squalius inter-
medius, S, squaliusculus, Alburnus iblioides, Acanthobrama
Kuschakewitschi, Cobitis longicauda, and C. uranoscopus.

There are fifty species of Mollusca found in Turkestan, and
twenty-six of them are characteristic of the region. Of the
146 species of spiders (Araneae) sent to Alexander Krone-
berg for identification, he found forty-five new species.*
Among the fifty-one species of Crustaceae in Fedchenko's
collection there are seventeen species which are new;
one Amphipoda, seven Isopoda, eight Copepoda, and one
Cladocera.'f The land Crustaceae are only represented by the
one genus, Porcellio, The beetles (Coleoptera) of Turkestan,
according to S. M. Solsky's list, have 128 new species and
one new genus (Oxycorythus), most of which were described
by Solsky.§ Fedchenko's collection of bees {Melliferae) is
remarkably interesting, though he died before having described
any of them except the Anthophora, and Ferdinand Moravitz
completed the work. This full list contains 438 species, of
which 282 are new, and also one of the genera (Stelido-
morpha), under the Anthidiutn.

The wasps (Sphegidae) furnish forty-two genera, three of
which are new. Of the Sphegidae there are twenty-three
species, eight of which are new; of the Pompilidae there are
forty species, eighteen of which are new; of the Larridae

* For list see Russian Central Asia. Vol. 2. i>p. 543-547*
tibid. pp. 548-556.
8 Ibid. pp. 552-561.

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twenty species, ten of which are new; under the Nyssonidae
are found the two new genera, Olgia Rad. and Kaufmannia
Rod,, also eighteen new species out of the twenty-eight ; eight
out of the eleven Bembecidae are new species; seventeen of
the thirty-five species of Pkilantkidae are new ; and under the
Crabronidae there is one new genus Oxybeloides, and also
fourteen new species out of the twenty-nine.

Among the ants (Formicid(ie) there are seven new species
out of thirty-six. The butterflies and moths (Lepidoptera)
of Turkestan have been studied by Nicholas G. Erschoff, whose
conclusions are the following:

"Concerning the character of the fauna o£ Turkestan Lepidoptera
the collections made there permit some deductions, but only very gen-
eral ones to be drawn. In all there are known, 367 species in Turkes-
tan. Of these, ninety-two, or twetaty-five per cent, constitute new
spedes, and fourteen, or four per cent, appear there in new forms,
some of which will in the future probably be regarded as independent
species, and twenty-five spedes, according to present information,
must, with the new species, be recognized as peculiar to the fauna of

" Respecting the position that the fauna of Turkestan should occupy
in the fauna of European territory, it may be without hesitation as-
signed to the south, or so-called Mediterranean province. The 261
known spedes, or seventy-one per cent o£ the whole fauna of Turkes-
tan, as is seen from the list, represent a mixture of the spedes of
Asia Minor, with Southern European and steppe spedes of the Volga
and Ural"

"The following are particularly interesting from a geographical
point of view : Plusia Hochenwarthi, Hochenw., previously found only

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in Lapland, Scandinavia, Switzerland, and Labrador; Hypena revolU"
talis, Z,, first fonnd in CafFraria, then in Syria and Persia; Phaskme
Rippertaria, Dup., only to be found elsewhere in Provence, in the
south of France; Eurycreon mucosalis, H. S., allotted to the Balkan
Penhisula; and Staintonia medineUa, Stgr,, known only in Andalusia;
but all now found in Central Asia." *

Mr. Robert MacLachlan observes concerning the Neuroptera
that its fauna is " thoroughly marked European " in character.
The most interesting of them are the Planipennia, which con-
tains seventeen new species and one new genus.

The Ortkoptera collected by Fedchenko were identified by
H. De Saussure, who says :

"The Orthopterus feuna of Turkestan presents a very strange re-
semblance to the European fauna; it is particularly like the &una of
South Russia, and contains a large quantity of West-European qiectes.
It is distinguished not so much by ioms exclusively peculiar to it,
as by the concurrence of species which are not found together in other
countries. This founa, together with that of the Caspian, South-
Siberian and Aral steppes, and probably that of Asia Minor, might
be called the ' fauna of the Asiatic steppes.' " t

Extinct Fauna of Northern Siberia

A chapter on the fatma of Siberia would not be complete
without some reference to the Post-Tertiary mammals which
did not become extinct till after the advent of man mto the
region. These remarkable remain^, especially of the mammoth,

* Russian Central Asia. VoL a. pp. 583-584- For complete list see
pp. 581, 595.
flbid. p. 613.

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are so numetx)us that the principal industry along the northern
rivers and on the New Siberian Islands has been the ivory
trade. An idea of the enormous number of these remains can
be gained from some of the reports on the ivory exported. In
1840 Middendorff calculated that during the previous two
hundred years, 20,000 mammoths had been discovered. Re-
dus speaks of the annual output of ivory as fifteen tons, which
represents the tusks of about two hundred animals; while
Stadling says that at the present time there are seventeen tons
of ivory taken out annually in the Yakutsk district alone.

The most important and interesting of these mammals found
are the mammoth (EUphas primigentus, B.), and two varieties
of rhinoceros (Rhinoceros antiquitatis, Blumb., and Rhinoceros
Maerckii, Jag.), A carcass of the former was found frozen in
the tundra of the Yakutsk district so well preserved that the
skin and long red hair, with which it was covered, were in
perfect condition, and showed well its difference from the
practically hairless elephants living at present in the warm
regions of India and Africa. One of these well-preserved
carcasses found in Yakutsk, the skeleton of which is now in
the Museum at St. Petersburg, was exhumed by Mr. Adams
of the St. Petersburg Academy in 1806, who found that the

" entire carcass measured nine feet four inches high, and sixteen feet
four inches from the point of the nose to the end of the tail, without
including the tusks, which were nine feet six inches in length if meas-
ured along the curves. The two tusks weighed 360 pounds, and the
head and tusks together 414 pounds. The skin was of such extraor-
dinary weight that ten persons found great difficulty in carrying it

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About fortjr poimdf of hair, too, were collected, thoui^ anidi more
of this wa« trodden into the sand by the feet of bears whidi had eaten
the flesh.''*

Prof. Henz of the St. Petersburg Zoological Museum who
discovered last September near the Ebrosowka, Siberia, the
remains of a mammoth, states in a recent letter sent from
Snedni Salymsk, Siberia, that the mammoth is on the road to
St. Petersburg on a lOO pack sledge escorted by a troop of
G>ssacks, and will probably reach its destination about the
first of May. It is undoubtedly the most perfect specimen
ever recovered. He describes his great Und as follows :

"Above all, it is all there; for, while the bears and wolves tore
some of the minor bones from their moorings, they were powerless, or
unwilling, to carry them ofiF. I am certain I got away with all the
bones, being more fortunate in that respect than Mr. Adams, whose
fossil mammoth, now in the Imperial Museum, lacks one hind foot.
Aside from the bones, I collected enough of the flesh and coat to allow
the most thorough scientific investigation. I believe that it is the most
perfect specimen of fossil flesh and skin ever shown in a scientist's
laboratory, and after our authorities have passed on it we will be able
to decide, approximately at least, whether the story that the Alaska
Indians greased their boats with mammoth fat attached to a skeleton
found on the bank of the Yukon, can be credited or not I say right
here that it is not impossible, even though I found no traces of fat on
or about the carcass I dug up myself.

** I secured large portions of the skin of this monster, aside from that
attached to the one perfect leg— the fragments show that the creature
was so clothed as to be able to withstand the utmost cold— that does
away with the theory that the bones were swept to this place by the

* Through Siberia, by Henry Lansdell. Vol l p. ago.

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deluge. The hairy coat is extremely thick, thicker than that on the
neck of a bull buffala Its average length is seven inches, but the mane
must have been five or six times as long. It is thicker than horse hair,
of dark brown color, lighter at the hoofs. At that point, too, it grows
luxuriously, as is sometimes the case with horses of coarse breed.

" The hair described belongs to the outer coat and is stiff and wiry,
calculated to throw off wet and wind. Under this grows a wool, very
closely, and from five to ten centimetres thick. Like the covering of a
young camel, the wool is of a light yellow color. It would be impossi-
ble for an animal so protected to feel even the extremest cold.

"Up to now we had absolutely nothing to guide us in searching for
the period when the mammoth became extinct, particularly as regards
Siberia and North America, where the theory that this giant was ex-
terminated by early man, obviously doesn't apply, as in both hemi-
spheres there were, and are, vast territories never trodden by man's
foot I am now inclined to think that the mammoth perished of starva-
tion, when overtaken by a period of ice and flood. This, however, did
not happen to my mammoth, as we will presently see.

"As already stated, foxes, bears, and wolves relieved me of the
necessity of carting away the greater portion of flesh and skin, but,
happily, they left the stomach undisturbed, permitting me to secure this
important organ intact. Seeing that, curiosity got the best of me— I

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Online LibraryH[enry] Justin RoddyComplete geography → online text (page 19 of 22)