United New England

Descriptions & discussions of member nations' flora & fauna.
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Bears Armed
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United New England

Post by Bears Armed » Mon Oct 14, 2019 6:59 pm

Location
The section of this nation that is located in the IDU basically occupies a peninsula extending southwards from the South Continent’s southern coast. It is not this nation’s main territory, which centres in the area that the name would presumably lead you to expect on a more RL-like version of Earth instead: This is just an outlying territory, called ‘Diamant, which the nation’s people reached using their advanced spacecraft.
(The nation’s player and people say that they travelled across the stars, to a different solar system, and that — although they agree with me about wildlife from Earth ending up here — the physical similarities between this planet and Earth [and between their solar systems, too] are just a happy coincidence: I think, however, that their vessels’ ‘interstellar’ drive must actually have turned out to be an ‘inter-dimensional’ one that moved them between two alternative versions of the same solar system instead. We’ll probably have to agree to disagree about this…)

The 'Basic Presumptions & Overview’ from which I am currently working place this nation approximately from 6oS to 9oS, with a maximum width of approximately 2 degrees of longitude: This would give it a N-S distance of around 210 standard miles, and a maximum E-W distance of around 150 standard miles, unless a “Tardis Effect” applies and it’s actually bigger on the inside than on the outside.
From what I remember of the region’s old topographical map, and as agreed by this nation’s player, there is a line of mountains running roughly N-S through the peninsula. I see that OOC the CTEd nation which formerly occupied these lands (although IC memories have presumably been retconned to say that it, like so many other CTEd nations, never existed at all…) apparently had one of its main cities on the eastern coast: This version of the peninsula is being retconned, however, to have all of its best “habitable” areas in the west instead. This change seems advisable due to the change in latitude involved now that we’ve expanded the map’s presumed scale, and I’m calling it a side-effect of whatever cosmic incident caused the latter retconned alteration in the structure of Reality… Making this change means that the “habitable” areas now all in the west are shielded from some of the equatorial rains and heat — and from hurricanes — by those mountains. The western side has a ‘dry season’ & ‘wet season’, but due to the different pattern of lands & seas these are be less extreme than those in RL experienced by [e.g.] India (i.e. the ‘Monsoons’).

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Basic Ecotypes
The nation’s natural habitats are basically arranged in a series of strips, running approximately north-south parallel to each other and mostly widest (where the nation as a whole is) in the north. Between the opens seas in the west and the open (and stormier) seas in the east, these, are:

Coral reefs

Coastal waters, sheltered to some extent by the reefs, and some enclosed as lagoons; some of these areas include ‘seagrass meadows’.

Shoreline: mostly consists of sandy beaches, although near the peninsula’s southern tip a branch of the mountains reaches the shore and provides both cliff-backed coves and offshore islets where (with reasonably safety from land-based predators) sea-lions emerge from the water to breed or just to rest.

Coastal plain: This is mostly covered by forests that are ‘tropical evergreen’ but are not actually ‘rainforest’.

Inland plains: There is a fairly gentle & long slope from the coast up to the actual foothills of the mountainous spine. Tropical evergreen forests extend inland along the river valleys, but further from the waters (inland and/or uphill) they shade through ‘tropical seasonal forest’ (including ‘thorn forest’) and scrub into wooded savannah, and then into open grassland. Some areas have sandy soils, low in both nutrients and moisture, within which those transitions in vegetation occur over shorter distances.
There is a significant area of marshland where two of the main rivers that join these plains meet, inland from the coastal forests, which usually undergoes flooding during the ‘west season’ to become a wider swamp. This area is generally considered to mark a “boundary” between the northern and central sections of those plains.
For approximately the southern one-third of the peninsula’s length, the seasonal forests & scrub inland from the coast merge almost directly with those of the mountain’s foothills, with little or no wooded savannah — let alone open grassland — in between.

Foothills: The last of the rain brought by winds from the east flows down from the mountains “behind” these, allowing the river valleys and the hills’ lower slopes to bear more wooded savannah, scrub, or even woodland, than generally exists along the stretches of the same rivers that flow through the open plains below. (Some areas may be suitable for growing Coffee.)

Mountain slopes (western side): These become steeper after the foothills, but still typically less so than on the eastern side. Scrub exist near the base but becomes patchier with height, leading into a predominantly grassy cover that includes quite sizeable stretches of relatively level ‘meadows’ in places. There are patches of scrub and even small trees in hollows where water can temporarily collect, but then there are also expanses of bare or almost-bare rock where the surface is so close to vertical that plants — and soil itself — cannot sit there easily.

Mountain summits: The almost-continuous cover of vegetation that exists lower down is replaced by scattered clumps, as one gets close to the snow-line (on any mountains high enough to have one…), and the seed-bearing plants largely give way to more primitive types.

Mountain slopes (eastern side): With much more water & a bit more warmth available, there is only a relatively thin belt of meadow before the ‘scrub belt’ starts. Bamboo, and “giant” forms of both heather and stinging nettles, are common members of the latter level’s plant communities. Below this is a belt of ‘’cloud forest’, where lower temperatures at higher altitudes cause humid air rising from below to release much of its moisture, resulting in extensive fogs and a considerable reduction in the direct sunlight received by plants: This is thickest in the ‘saddles’ between peaks, or other hollows, where that moisture is likeliest to be deposited, and may be “broken” by areas of direct connection between the two adjacent belts in between those. Ferns and mosses fare relatively well alongside the seed-bearing plants in these damp — but not too sunny — conditions. Below this, again, is a belt of ‘tropical montane rainforest’, largely containing species of trees that are better adapted to steeper slopes & thinner soils than are those of the lowlands.

Coastal plain: This is basically covered by ‘tropical lowland rainforest’. Its relative narrowness, combined with the way in which it slopes towards the sea, means that it has numerous small rivers but these don’t manage to combine into just a few large ones as would happen in larger & flatter expanses of this habitat (such as the RL basins of the Amazon or the Congo…): These conditions also mean that there are no large expanses of ‘flooded forest’ or swamps such as would also occur in larger & flatter rainforests. However, there is an intermittent line of lakes & swampy areas running parallel to — and only a few miles inland from — the middle half of the coastline [more-or-less], because a seam of relatively soft rock reaches the surface here and has been eroded more deeply than the harder rocks to either side. To the south of this, much of the area between the mountains and the shore is occupied by a ‘karst’ landscape of heavily-eroded limestone with some quite spectacular landscape features (including at least one major set of caves, containing an underground river).

Shore: Much of the eastern coast is formed by cliffs, although fairly low ones, where relatively soft rocks have been eroded away leaving more resistant strata along the modern shore. Some of these have ‘wave-cut platforms’ at their bases. There are some lower areas, where certain rivers meet the sea and at this coast’s northern end where the main rock-types are different, and these have mangrove swamps present. Coral is relatively scarce here, compared to the more sheltered western side, but some smallish outcrops do occur particularly offshore from the karst region.

Coastal waters, less sheltered (and narrower) than those on the western side, shading quite quickly back into open seas.

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Post by Bears Armed » Mon Oct 14, 2019 7:02 pm

Animals: Overview

So far I have been presuming that the southern continent received fewer species from RL Earth in relatively recent times than did the northern one, so that most wild animals locally — even if obviously related to ones from RL Earth — belong to endemic species and often to endemic genera or even endemic families. There are also some cases of groups that became extinct in RL but that have survived here, possibly because rivals that outcompeted the RL forms didn’t reach the IDU. On the other hand, some groups of animals that occupy comparable habitats in RL have apparently never managed to establish native populations anywhere in the IDU (unless any nation’s player now insists on having them within their own territories, of course…), either because they simply were never in the right place at the right time to move here or because they did try to move in but were out-competed quite quickly by various rivals.
Some of the larger Carnivorans and — for those nations that formerly had (or maybe even that still have them) — elephants would almost certainly be the newest ‘large mammal’ arrivals (other than Humans, and their domesticated livestock, of course) on land, and probably the only ones from after the end of the Pliocene, although in the ocean various species of whales & dolphins may well have arrived more recently… or might even be capable of crossing freely between worlds whenever they want!

Based on the selection of species that I am listing here, for the continent in general and this nation in particular, you might be thinking “Africa”: The original source for most of these stocks’ ancestors is, however, actually supposed to have been southern or south-western Asia before (a) it dried out, and (b) Humans started hunting the local megafauna to extinction.

The following orders of Mammals are currently confirmed as present: Carnivora, Pholidota, Persissodactyla, Artiodactyla and Cetacea (It now seems that the latter two should be merged as ‘Cetariotdactyla’, but I find it easier to continue listing them separately… ), Myrmecoryctida *, Chiroptera, Primates, (†) Plesidadapiformes, Lagomorpha, Rodentia, (†) Anagalida, Boreodidelphimorphia *, Formicitheria *, Quadriprotodonta *, (†) Deltatherida, (†) Spalacotherida.

Unless RL prevents this I will [eventually] go into greater detail about the endemic and “survivor” species or larger groups listed here, most of which would occur in others of the IDU’s resident nations as well, in separate threads that are specifically about the types of animals rather than about the fauna of any one nation. Some notes about such matters that I am currently storing in this thread will be moved when I do that.

In the following sections I will use one or more asterisks* after a name to indicate that lineages endemic to the IDU, with the number of these marks indicating the number of taxonomic levels (starting, obviously, with the last one listed) for which this is the case: I will note in the accompanying text if a species or subspecies is actually endemic to just this one nation alone. A bracketed ‘dagger’ before a (†) name indicates the survival here of a lineage that is extinct in RL, but in this case you will need to check the following notes to find out how many levels of taxonomic rank are actually involved. I will note in the accompanying text if a species or subspecies is either actually endemic to just this one nation alone or not endemic to this continent at all.

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Post by Bears Armed » Mon Oct 14, 2019 7:06 pm

Mammals: ‘Ferae’

1.) From the order Carnivora, the following families and species have members native to this nation:

Canidae (Dogs & close relatives)

Cuon rufus* = Red Dog, or Southern Dhole
Dholes might be similar in fur colour to RL’s Red Foxes, but they are significantly larger and hunt in packs: The ones surviving in RL Asia are around the upper size limit for Coyotes, but more robustly built, which puts them not far short of the smallest Grey Wolves; their closest living relative is the ‘African Hunting Dog’ which you might have seen in documentaries (fur marked in irregular patches of three colours; fairly large ears, also hunts in packs) which averages slightly larger than that; and some extinct relatives matched the largest Grey Wolves in size. Here, without wolves as competition unlike the situation in RL Asia, their average size is probably around the middle of that for Grey Wolves. Those hunting mainly in open country might tend to be a bit larger and would have proportionately longer legs than those hunting predominantly in woods & forest, but enough interbreeding takes place between populations to prevent a split into two distinct subspecies. Their preferred prey consists of fairly large mammals (antelopes, the larger types of deer, hasses, pigs & peccaries, and the young of larger herbivores). They may also be the main factor now limiting the Giant Ground Porcupine’s numbers: As they hunt in packs some individuals can distract the adult Porcupines while others carry off the more vulnerable young.

Australocanis macrotis** = Large-eared Laughing Dog
Australocanis occidentalis** = Western Laughing Dog
This belongs to a continent-endemic subfamily of “native dogs”, the Australocaninae* (‘Southern Dogs’), descended from a very early member of the Canidae which came to the IDU’s world before the RL canids had diverged into their currently-surviving lineages. In size, shape, and lifestyle, they are approximately comparable to RL's 'Black-backed Jackal or 'Side-striped Jackal'. They mate for life, and hunt as couples. The "Large-eared" species most commonly frequents open plains and wooded savannah, wheres the "Western" species -- which belongs to a larger grouping of "Small-eared Laughing Dogs", each found in a different section of this continent -- favours areas with heavier vegetation (although it generally avoids tropical lowland rainforest) instead. Their shared common name of "Laughing Dog" refers to the fact that they use cries that sound a bit like human laughter (but it is described "friendly-sounding", rather than eerie like that of the RL Spotted Hyaena) to keep in contact when hunting out of each other's sight or when two pairs are challenging each other over food or a good sleeping place. Both species have fur that is mainly light or medium brown in colour, but with areas of "brindling" in which darker brown or even black hairs are scattered heavily enough within this to darken the overall appearance: In the 'large'eared' species this effect is normally limited to the upper sides of the head, body, & tail, but in the 'Western' species (and all of the other 'Small-eared' ones) it normally also extends down the sides of the body onto the upper parts of the legs, and from under the muzzle down the front of the body as well. The hairs' colours are usually, but not always, darker in the various 'Small-eared' species than in the 'Large-eared' one.

Australocuon nobilis** = Tallfox
This is another member of the Australocaninae. It is approximately “wolf-sized” in length & height, but quite lightly built. It normally hunts alone or in pairs, although wider sets of relatives may live closely together if suitable sites exist and may then combine to defend territory, and basically specializes in smaller prey than the Dholes prefer: large rodents, rabbits & hares, whatever the area turns out to have in the way of partridge-like or bustard-like birds, and such (and also, sometimes, fruit). This difference in prey doesn’t always keep the Dholes from chasing it away, if they come into contact, but if food is plentiful enough — and the Dholes currently don’t have puppies to protect — then they may tolerate it. Another reason for its survival is that the larger prey favoured by the Dholes is relatively scarce above the treeline in the mountains, where this species can hunt more happily in the upland meadows… and from which “surplus” individuals or couples may trickle down to recolonize the lowlands. (For approximate RL counterparts to this species, consider the Maned Wolf, of South America, and the [Abyssinian/Ethiopian/Simien] [Wolf/Fox/Jackal] of Ethiopia…)

Vulpesimilis brunneus** = Brown Fox
This is also a member of the Australocaninae. Its genus name Vulpesimilis’ translates into English as “Fox-like”, and this ‘Brown Fox’ quite closely resembles the ‘Red Foxes’ of RL apart from having darker fur and a less bushy tail. It can be found in almost any habitat, from the shoreline to the snowline, except that (a) on the eastern side of the mountains it probably doesn’t descend below the bottom of the ‘cloud forest’ level into the deeper parts of the rainforest, and (b) it might not yet have become accustomed enough to Human presence to start foraging in towns.


Ursidae (Bears & close relatives)

Ursus (Melursus) balooi* = Shaggy Bear
This is a close relative of RL southern Asia’s ‘Soth Bear’, primarily an omnivore but with some adaptations specifically for feeding on termites & ants. It lives in woodland & scrub, but does not venture far into either rainforest or open grassland.

Ursus (Melursus) (Ursus) arborealis* = Treetops Bear
This is the smallest species of Bear that is now native to the IDU. Its members have dark brown fur, usually with a cream-coloured patch extending from about halfway back along the underside of its muzzle to cover the front of the neck and a small section of the upper chest. As the names suggest, these bears spend most of their time up in the trees — being the most arboreal of the IDU’s ursine species, too — and they have claws that are relatively long (but “sturdy”) to help them climb. The closest RL equivalent, in both form and ecological role is the ‘Sun Bear’ of south-eastern Asia.
(UPDATE)
The most recent studies (as of 08th November 2019) indicate that although the 'Shaggy Bear' is indeed most closely related to the 'Sloth Bear' of [RL] Asia, this 'Treetops Bear' is more closely related to that pair of species rather than to any other Bears: It has therefore been moved into their sub-genus, '(Melursus)'.

Mustelidae (Weasels & close relatives)
Parvonyx bicolor** = Small-clawed Otter
This is a bit smaller than the river otters of RL Europe & North America, and has relatively shorter claws. It is called bicolor because it has fur in two contrasting shades, mostly a grey so dark that it is almost black but with the belly & underside of the chin in white instead. It still includes some fish in its diet, but also uses its “fingers” to turn over stones in search of smaller prey or to pick shellfish off of surfaces (and, like some otters, may also take other small vertebrates — on shore, as well as in the water — if opportunity arises). Its molar teeth are relatively broad, and adapted for better effectiveness when crushing shellfish. Habitat includes rocky shores (not cliffs, but areas with rock-pools and shellfish-encrusted rocks where it can forage) as well as rivers, on both sides of the mountains, but it tends to avoid the wider rivers — especially on the rainforest side — because other predators in those may be large enough to menace it. Unlike the RL Sea Otter it hasn’t yet learned to open shellfish by using loose stones as hammers… but is has learned that smashing the shellfish onto larger rocks can work.

Tarqua fluviensis** = River Otter
This is an otter of the “standard”, primarily fish-eating, type and is very similar in appearance as well as in lifestyle to the otters of RL Europe & North America: In fact some zoologists would treat ‘Tarqua’ as just a subgenus within those RL species’ genus ‘Lutra’ instead, or even abolish it altogether and just absorb its species into Lutra directly alongside those RL counterparts. The population native to this nation lives in rivers and some lakes on both sides of the mountains, but normally does not enter the seas as well.

Mellivora iduiensis* = Austral Badger
This is a sister-species to the ‘Ratel’ or ‘Honey Badger’ (Mellivora capensis) of RL Africa & SW Asia, which it very closely resembles. As with the few other genera of non-Cetacean mammals that this nation shares with RL Earth, Mellivora seems to be a fairly recent arrival on this continent with its presence here dating only from the latter end of the Pliocene epoch or even from the Pliestocene. Austral Badgers normally live & forage alone once they leave their mothers, and can be found in almost any terrestrial environment except for mountain-tops and swamps.

Mustelasimilis melanoleuca** = Striped Ferret
It is not yet clear whether this species belongs to the ‘Striped Weasel’ group that has members native to various parts of RL Earth, is another offshoot of the same branch within the Mustelidae that led to the genus Mellivora (as some preliminary studies seem to indicate, although they also suggest a divergence from the line leading to those relatives at a date significantly before the latter’s arrival on the IDU’s world), or has a separate branch of the family to itself. It is around the size of a RL ‘Polecat’ (i.e. larger than a stoat or weasel, but considerably smaller than a wolverine), and — like many other Mustelids — has an “elongated” body with relatively short legs. Members of this species live mostly in open country, where the native ‘Mongooses’ who compete with them in other habitats are relatively scarce, feeding mostly on rodents or lagomorphs but also happy to take any other small vertebrates that come their way (alive or as carrion) and even some or large invertebrates as well. They often take over & expand the burrows of rodents or lagomorphs to use as dens, but their main defence against larger predators is the ability to spray a noxious fluid — although not as noxious a one as is available to RL’s Skunks — from their anal glands: Their fur’s conspicuous pattern of lengthwise black & white stripes presumably evolved as a warning signal, telling those potential threats that attacking them wouldn’t be a good choice. Although they normally hunt alone, they are capable of living in together in “colonies” (whose members are all fairly close relatives) where suitable prey is abundant and have recognisable warning cries with which they can warn each other about the approaches of different basic types of threat.


Otariidae (Sea-lions & Fur Seals)

Thalasso leo** = Black Sea-lion
This hunts in the seas off of both of this nation’s coasts, and has breeding sites near the west coast’s southern end.


(†) Barbourfelidae
(This is only one out of three distinct groups whose members have been called ‘Sabre-tooth tigers’ or ‘Sabre-tooth Cats’: Any such animals that previously occurred —or maybe that even still survive — on the region’s northern continent belong to a different group, the family Felidae’s subfamily Machairodontinae, instead.)

Iduismilus charwinni** = Sabre-tooth, or Sabre-tooth Tiger
Several RL genera in that family have names with the “-smilus” ending, whose meaning should be obvious: ‘charwinni’ commemorates the famous Ursine biologist Darrles Charrwin (who also has various other life-forms, some in Bears Armed and some elsewhere] already named after him… Suitable camouflage patterns for predators in reasonably dense cover include stripes, so this species has black-on-tan striped markings which would justify the “Sabre-tooth Tiger” nickname…
Maintaining a viable population of this species will need fairly substantial stocks of large herbivores for its prey. Its build would make it significantly better at ambushes than at chases, and it hunts alone rather than in prides, so it can’t make much use of the antelopes and wild ox of the open plains. Also, as a ground-based predator (rather than one that can also climb quite well, like Leopard or Puma) it would probably have trouble competing with the more versatile Tiger if they shared a range so it must grow large enough to keep that potential rival out of the area. Therefore, it must have a fairly complete monopoly of the “big predator” role in the country’s western woods. Its main prey species here would be Rhinoceros, Chalicothere, Allocorn, the largest antelopes, sometimes “Giraffe” (although that prefers the woods’ open edges, where there is less cover for ambushes) and occasionally [as it sometimes visits that habitat to graze in the scattered clearings] ‘Sun-ox’. Wild pig have enough meat on the adults, but are probably too nimble & well-protected for it to take very often, and sabre-teeth would not be very useful against the Giant Ground Porcupine’s coat of protective quills. If people try keeping domestic cattle there then those might be at risk…


Felidae (Cats, big & small)

Panthera leo australis* = Lion
These can be found, hunting in prides, on the open plain and in wooded savannah. This subspecies belongs to the same species as the Lions of RL Asia & Africa, and is closer to the former in ancestry although its adult male generally do have manes as fine as those of the African type. There are apparently no Lions native to the IDU’s northern continent.

Panthera tigris = Tiger
These, although hunting alone, are the dominant predators within the rainforest. They sometimes occur elsewhere as well, but have not yet been able to establish permanent populations in those areas where either Sabre-tooths or Lions are already well-established. They belong to the same species as those of both RL and the IDU’s northern continent, so this is one of the few non-endemic species with a native population on this continent. Zoologist disagree about how many sub-species they should be divided between.

The above two species are the only species of terrestrial mammal that are native both to this nation and to RL Earth.

Pardopuma pardus pardus*** = Spotted Puma or Panther
Pardopuma pardus meridonalis*** = Jungle Puma or Panther
Pardopuma velox** = Swift Puma or Panther, or Iduvian Cheetah

The name ‘Pardopuma’, means “Panther-puma”, reflecting the fact that this genus of large, spotted cats is a sister-group to the genus Puma (as found in the RL Americas, and also on the IDU’s northern continent). There is some evidence that the Puma lineage originated in Asia before spreading to the Americas (where they increased in maximum size), with those parts of its ‘Old World’ remnant that weren’t evolving into Cheetahs subsequently replaced ecologically there by Pantherine ‘big cats’ (i.e. Lion, Tiger, Leopard, Snow Leopard). I have already written member of that ancestral stock into the origins of our northern continent’s cats, so doing it here as well makes sense especially bearing in mind the predominantly-Asian origins of this continent’s fauna in general. The ones on the southern continent belong to a separate genus because they diverged from the main stock at an early date (although after the Cheetahs did), probably while it was still in Asia.
Members of the Spotted Puma’s ‘nominate’ subspecies (i.e. the one that repeats the species’ name as its sub-species label) occur widely, in most habitats, with their abundance normally determined by the relative abundances of both suitable prey and serious competitors. They include some ‘flavistic’ individuals, in which both the spots and the rest of the fur are distinctly yellower so that the spots are less visible: The latter are most common in the more open habitats, and may be called ‘Blonde Pumas’ or ‘Blonde Panthers’’. In the west coast’s forest the Sabre-tooths would almost certainly “object” to any Puma that they met hunting largish prey, and hunting on the ground, so any Puma present would probably have to be smaller on average than those elsewhere and spend more time in the trees. That niche was already filled by a species of ‘Golden Cat’ from an earlier lineage when the Pumas arrived, however, and competition with those has limited Pumas’ ability to evolve a distinct stock with such traits so that they are rare in that part of the country. In the areas of more open country where Lions hunt in strength you are most likely to see Pumas fairly close to large trees or steep rocks up which they can retreat if threatened.
In the rainforest of the east, though, the already-present relatives of the Golden Cat were apparently smaller than their western kin so that Spotted Pumas were able first to become the dominant predator there and then to cope with the arrival of Tigers by becoming more arboreal and smaller but still maintaining a size advantage over that older native species (whose average size also decreased during this period). Their own modern descendants the ‘Jungle Panthers’ are not only typically smaller than the nominate subspecies’ members but also more arboreal and with slightly more flexible paws bearing more powerful claws for use in climbing trees. They include some ‘melanistic’ (i.e. darker-furred) individuals that may be called ‘Black Pumas’ or ‘Blacks Panthers’’.
Some geographical races of either basic type that live in different parts of the continent are also sometimes raised separately to subspecies status, although with varying levels of agreement among zoologists (of course), as well.
The ‘Swift Puma’ or ‘Iduvian Cheetah’ is longer-legged and more lightly built than its relatives here, approximately halfway in shape and size between them and a RL Cheetah. It is mainly hunts in the grasslands of the plains but also ventures into wooded savannah and up the gentler slopes in the lower parts of the uplands, and can be seen mostly in the country’s north-western areas where those bands of habitat are widest. It evolved on this continent, and is definitely more closely related to the Spotted Puma than it is to either the modern RL African/Asian Cheetah or the no-extinct RL ‘American Cheetah’ (which itself evolved in situ, from an ancestor shared with the America’s own modern Puma, instead of being from more closely related to the African/Asian type).

Most of this continent’s native species of small-to-medium cats (including all of those that are native to this particular nation) belong to an endemic tribe, the Aureofelini* (‘Golden Cats’), which branched off from the overall feline family tree at around the same time as — but separately from — the group existing in RL today that contains the African Golden Cat, Caracal, and Serval.

Aureofelis ferox** = (Iduvian) Golden Cat.
Aureofelis campestris** = Plains Cat
Silviailurus parvopardus** = Greater Jungle Cat
Silviailurus ailurinus** = Lesser Jungle Cat
Potamoailurus natans** = Fishing Cat

Golden Cats are a bit smaller than a typical leopard, but significantly larger than a bobcat: They can take prey up to the size of medium antelopes or the local deer, although they risk being driven from their kills by a Sabre-tooth unless they can get the carcass up into the branches above its reach quickly and although they are good climbers they cannot carry heavy prey as easily as leopards could… They occur in the coastal forests of the west, with their population density decreasing inland as the trees become sparser. Their fur is indeed basically golden-orange in colour, but many individuals have lighter & darker stripes appearing in this.
Plains Cats are smaller than their woodland-dwelling cousins, and feed mainly on rodents, lagomorphs, and birds. Their fur is typically has a lighter shade of yellow as its main colour, but with varying degrees of brown striping. Its closest RL counterpart, in form & ecological role, is the Serval.
The two species of ‘Jungle Cat’ are both found primarily in the rainforest, although the ‘Greater’ one’s range also extends up through the cloud forest and into the scrub belt above that. As already explained, they are smaller than the local ‘Panthers’, let alone the Tiger: Members of the ‘Lesser’ species are only around the size of [non-overweight] domestic cats, in fact. Their fur is yellowish-brown with darker spots, and the ‘Lesser’ species (which is more purely arboreal than the ‘Greater’ one) has very flexible ankle-joints such as are also seen in some arboreal mammals from RL. Their closest RL counterparts, in form & ecological role, are the Ocelot and the Serval respectively.
The ‘Fishing Cat’ can be found, as its name suggests, mainly around rivers and lakes. Unlike the preceding two species it occurs not only in the rainforest of the east but also in the coastal forest of the west. Its colouration & markings are very similar to the Jungle Cats, but its legs are proportionately a bit shorter than theirs. Its diet includes prey taken both ashore, mainly in the undergrowth close to water, and from the water itself: In the latter case it will normally rely on sudden pounces from the bank, or even just “fishing” with an extended paw, rather than prolonged chases by swimming… but it does swim very well, and is likely to rely on this rather than on climbing a tree if threatened by larger predators.


Hyaenidae (Hyaenas & close relatives)


Species from this family that were formerly present here but are now extinct include at least one large ‘hunting hyaena’, which has been placed in a genus of its own as Leocrocuta*.

Carnopraedo pictus**, or Nyctolestes pictus** = Painted Hyaena
This is basically analogous to RL’s ‘Striped Hyaena’ in form as well as in ecological role, but its fur has an irregular pattern of black, ginger, & off-white, patches (rather like the fur of the RL ‘African Hunting Dog’, whose scientific name also uses the label ‘pictus’…). It forages alone, or sometimes in mated pairs, rather than in packs. It will take carrion, small vertebrates (and already-weakened larger ones), suitable parts of waste thrown out by humans, and even some fruit. Its ancestors that co-existed with Lecrocuta were smaller than the modern form, to reduce competition for food with that more powerful rival.

The original name assigned to this genus was Sarkolestes, but it turns out that the alternative spelling ‘Sarcolestes’ had already been assigned to a genus (in RL, of dinosaurs) and as that would be pronounced identically it makes this usage “illegal”. The two alternative names were actually proposed IC in the same issue of a particular scientific magazine, although by different authors, and which of them will become official is still under debate. The former keeps the same literal meaning, ‘Flesh robber’, replacing the original’s two elements which were both actually Greek-derived with genuinely Latin counterparts; the latter keeps the second element unchanged and just replaces the first one with another [also Greek-derived] term instead but changes the literal meaning to ‘Night robber’ instead. UPDATE: This matter has now been properly resolved.
The ICZN rules that govern such matters include a ‘Principle of the first reviser’, under which conflicts in naming that cannot be settled on the basis of ‘Priority’ can be decided by the first author who publishes their opinion on it [in an appropriate publication] subsequently. When the originators of the two alternative names that had been suggested (whose own names & relevant details I’ll probably come up with eventually…) saw that this problem had arisen they agreed with each other to ask Professor Sermharn Keeper (who is currently the ‘Summerlee Professor of Zoology and Palaeontology’ at National University [Council Groves]…) if he would handle this, and he agreed: His choice, announced in the following issue of the same magazine (Again, I’ll think about details for this later…) in which those other authors had published the two rival names, was to accept Carnipraedo pictus as the Painted Hyaena’s new ‘official’ binomial name. The rationale that he gave was that this not only conserved the entire meaning of the already-discarded name Sarkolestes pictus (as “ Painted Flesh-robber”) more accurately than the suggested alternative Nyctolestes pictus (“Painted Night-robber”) would do, it also had the additional minor benefit of harmonising the linguistic roots of the name’s two parts. The smaller version of this animal that had existed in the time when there was also a “Lion-sized” predatory Hyaena present, by the way, now has the binomial Carnipraedo antiquis.


Super-family: Notiovenatoroidea

This superfamily is endemic to the IDU’s southern continent & some of the associated islands. It belongs to the suborder Feliformia (i.e. is more closely related to Cats than to Dogs) but its members’ possession of certain [minor] “primitive” anatomical features suggests strongly that their last common ancestor branched off from the Feliforms’ family tree before all but [maybe] one of the seven families that survive today in RL: Their auditory canals are not divided and cartilaginous at the end, a trait that they share (along with the shape of their temporal bones’ ‘mastoid’ parts) only with the ‘African Palm Civet’ — the sole extant member of the family Nandiniidae — among modern Feliforms.

Notiovenatoroid species are mostly at the lower end of the size scale for members of the order Carnivora, and fill similar ecological roles here to those that are occupied on more RL-like Earths by various civets & genets, mongooses, mustelids, and other smallish Carnivorans. Unlike the RL civets & some closer relatives of those, they do not have perineal or anal scent-glands. It is probable that the basal members of this clade were arboreal, and nocturnal or crepuscular, in their habits.

Although the names ‘civet’ and ‘mongoose’ have been used colloquially for various members of this superfamily, some scientists object to this practice on the grounds that not only are the animals concerned not “true” civets and mongooses but they are in fact less closely relates to either of those two groups than the two are to each other. They have therefore suggested alternative terminology, which has already entered use as the “proper” names in some official documents as well as in scientific journals: Members of the “mongoose-like” branch are to be called ‘Stalkers’ (mostly as ‘Groundstalkers’, although a smaller lineage of ‘Treestalkers’ — from which the ‘Sanglins’ are an offshoot — is also recognised), whereas the “civet-like” types are to be called ‘Prowlers’ (mostly as ‘Treeprowlers’, although there are also several kinds of ‘Groundprowler’ (which probably don’t comprise a single, monophyletic lineage) — including the species that was originally named as the ‘Austral Ground Civet’, which is now “officially” the ‘Common, or Greater, Groundprowler’ — as well. However the ‘Sanglins’ retain their existing name, as too — at least for now — do the so-called ‘Jungle Dogs’, and some other types have less standardised designations as well.

Until recently all of these animals were most commonly treated by taxonomists as forming just a single family, the Notiovenatoridae although (as with the RL Earth’s civets and mongooses) there was also a longstanding minority opinion that supported a two-family classification instead.
The most recent studies (as of 08thNovember 2019) indicate that the two basic branches within this group, containing the “mongoose-like” and “civet-like” lineages respectively, had already split from each other before the end of the Eocene epoch. That is significantly earlier than the splits within some other pairs of related groups in which the two halves have been classified already as pairs of separate families, and the level of differences between the two lineages here is at least as great as the levels for various of those other pairs, so re-defining this group as a ‘superfamily’ in which each of its two basic lineages now holds ‘family’ rank separately from the other is now becoming more widely accepted as a logical change to its taxonomy and is the system that I will use here.

Thus,
Family: Notiovenatoridae
Subfamily: Notiovenatorinae (Groundstalkers, Treestalkers & Sanglins)
Subfamily: Noctoscansorinae (Treeprowlers, Groundprowlers, [Jungle Dog ?], etc.)”

becomes
Superfamily: Notiovenatoroidea
Family: Notiovenatoridae (Groundstalkers, Treestalkers & Sanglins)
Family: Noctoscansoridae (Treeprowlers, Groundprowlers, Nightweasels, Jungle Dog, etc.)”

with the former ‘infra-families’ and ‘parv-families’ within those branches now upgraded to ‘subfamilies’ and ‘infra-families’ respectively.

Note that some of the phylogenetic connections within both of these groups have been also been redefined as a result of those same studies, and that the ‘Jungle Dog’ is now placed definitely within the “civet-like” lineage (although in a separate subfamily to all of that group’s other extant members) rather than either with the “mongoose-like” types or as a distinct third lineage of equal rank to each of the basic pair.
An updated phylogeny for the now-reduced family Notiovenatoridae, showing the relationships between all of its extant genera (and one extinct genus, as well) can be seen in the section below about that taxon: One for the “new” family Noctoscansoridae will be posted, as well, once a few last questions about its internal arrangements have been settled with reasonable confidence.

Notiovenatoridae*

Image

This chart is at https://i.imgur.com/LURRrC0.png .
The former chart is at https://i.imgur.com/jehL6Cn.png .

All the species in this family normally possess five digits on each paw, although in all of the subfamily Notiovenatorinae’s members the third & fourth digits on each forepaw are at least partially fused: It is thought that the latter trait was selected-for because it strengthens the forepaws for digging. The claws are non-retractile in all Notiovenatorinae, but semi-retracile in Dendrovenatorinae.
Only in the genera Nyctovenator, Furoides, and Avilestes, do the eyes contain a ‘tapetumlucidum’ (i.e. light-reflecting layer, to boost night-vision), and in the first two of these a slight difference in the arrangement of its blood supply suggests that it was actually re-evolved at some stage [by one of their common ancestors] after the basal stock for the Notiovenatorinaeas a whole had lost the version that they (and, originally, the Dendrolestinae as well) had originallyshared with the Noctoscansoridae.
Members of the subfamily Notiovenatorinae live mainly in seasonal forest, scrub, and more open terrain, and any exceptions to this will be mentioned in the notes on the relevant genera or species. Dendrovenatorines live mainly in forest, including tropical rainforest, and sometimes in fairly dense scrub.


Genus-by-genus
Notiovenator (‘South-Hunter’) = Groundstalker, or “Mongoose” (multiple species, widespread) = the ‘typical’ form i.e. basically shaped like a typical RL mongoose, weasel, or polecat: a relatively long but narrow body (adult length [head + body] typically 2-3 feet in most genera of Notiovenatorines, 1-2 feet in the others and in Dendrovenatorines), a relatively short tail, and relatively short legs as well; teeth include a well-developed carnassial arrangement. Adults are generally solitary outside the mating season, except in the genera Parvovenator and [sometimes] Furoides, and do not show any sexual dimorphism. Each animal’s fur is usually a single colour, without markings, but variations in shade may occur within a single species. Mainly diurnal, but possibly crepuscular in some cases; primarily carnivorous, relying mainly on small vertebrates (especially rodents & lagomorphs) as prey but also possibly taking some invertebrates as well and even supplementing their diets in some cases with fruit, may consume some carrion but does not appear to seek this out deliberately and does not have a significant ‘bone-crunching’ capability; basically terrestrial, and may dig small prey out from leaf litter or topsoil, generally willing to pursue vertebrate prey into burrows;may take some food from low branches of shrubs or trees, but probably only if it can reach or “scramble” that far up without having to climb a trunk; also may take some prey from streams or other [usually shallow] stretches of fresh water, with at least one species
(OOC: that I’ve made notes on so far: It’s the “Marsh Mongoose” [Notiovenatorplaustrianus], which would be present in the marsh/swamp area on your north-western plains…) possessing semi-webbed paws for a better swimming ability.

Melanovenator (‘Black Hunter’) = Black Groundstalker, or “Black Mongoose” (two species, eastern end of the continent, forests including tropical rainforest) = verysimilar to the “basic” genus, within which they were formerly placed, although thought by some zoologists to constitute a distinct sub-genus there, but from which they have now been split due to DNA studies. The ‘Swampland Black Groundstalker’ or ‘Water Mongoose’ [M. aquaticus] possesses semo-webbed paws, whereas the ‘Common Black Groundstalker’ or ‘Black Mongoose’ [M. melanus] does not.

Pisciovenator (‘Fish-hunter’) = Fish-stalker, or “Nottotter”(several species; along rivers & lakesides & swamps, including those within tropical rainforest) = basically “otter-like” in form (including in their possession of fully-webbed paws) and ecological role, although perhaps even more inclined to ‘ambush’ prey than are otters and also probably more likely to take prey ashore as well. Any particular body of water will almost certainly have either these or otters, not both: The availability of different prey-types and the extent of vegetation to provide cover are probably the main factors that determine this, although of course relative ease of access from the species’ other populations elsewhere may also be a factor.

Erythovenator (‘Red Hunter’) = Rufous Groundstalker, or “Gingery Mongoose” (one species, E. rufus, south-eastern parts of the continent [but not as far west as this nation] often at higher altitudes than other species; several distinct populations seem to exist without much gene-flow between them, and it is suspected that the most westerly stock might no longer be fully compatible reproductively with the most easterly one) = also very similar to the “typical” Groundstalkers, and split from them only on the basis of recent DNA studies.

Serpentivorator (‘Snake-Eater’) = Snakeslayer, or “Friendly Mongoose” (several species, western parts of the continent plus both north-western &southern lowlands) = body proportionately a bit shorter & legs proportionately a bit longer than for “typical” Notiovenatoride, possibly because this makes it easier for them to dodge snakes’ strikes; do prey extensively on snakes, as some of their names suggest, and have evolved a greater resistance to some venoms although still by no means fully immune, but will usually also take rodents and other prey if easy enough opportunities to do so come their way.

Ophiovorator (‘Snake-Eater’) =Snakeslayer, or “Friendly Mongoose” (several species, eastern parts of the continent — with some of its members ranging deeper into rainforest than do any of the preceding genus’s species — plus north-eastern lowlands) = basically identical in form & nature to the preceding genus, with the two apparently having diverged from each other due to geographical separation rather than differences in ecological role.

Orcyctopraedo (‘Digging Thief’) = ‘Squat Groundstalker’, “Diggeroo”, or “Austral Badger” (number of species uncertain, due to possible but so far unmapped genetic differences between externally-identical stocks; currently all populations are grouped together as Oryctopraedotetradactylos…) = body proportionately shorter & heavier than in any of the preceding genera, and legs both longer & stronger as well, with the third & fourth toes on each forepaw fused completely in the modern species although not in all fossils. They are more likely to dig prey out from underground than to pursue it into burrows, and also attack ‘ground porcupines’ (although not adults of the ‘giant ground porcupine’, of course…) with a higher rate of success than do any other Carnivorans here. A layer of toughened skin extends along the upper surfaces of the head & body, as a defence against larger predators.
(OOC: ecologically, they’re basically comparable to the American Badger but with the porcupine-hunting ability of the Fisher added…)

Macroryctes (‘Big Digger’) = ‘Big Digger’, or “Giant Diggeroo” (Extinct; number of species uncertain, as its is known only from fossils [with dates ranging from mid-Oligocene to end-Miocene, approximately] so that there is no DNA available for comparison) = similar to a ‘Squat Groundstalker’ in general form, although with the third & fourth toes on each forepaw not completely fused, but about twice as long and maybe up to ten or more times as heavy. It seems to have relied on larger prey than its modern relatives, and at least sometimes to have dug routes into the burrows of this instead of either digging the prey out or pursuing that prey down its own existing tunnels, but to have died out when that prey (which was a terrestrial relative of the Slowths? Or verrry big Rodents?) itself became extinct for some reason. There is some evidence to suggest that it often hunted in pairs, presumably so that one individual could guard their underground prey’s most obvious escape route while the other dug their private entrance into that hide-out.

Parvovenator (‘Little Hunter’) = Pygmy, or Sociable, Groundstalker / “Pgymy, or Sociable, Mongoose” (several species, typically either denser vegetation than do “typical” Notiovenatorines or surviving in areas of “short” grassland where this is normally insufficient prey to support populations of those). These are not only smaller than the “typical” Notiovenatorines, and take a higher proportion of invertebrates in their diet than is usual for those, they also differ from their larger cousins in the fact that they live in groups or ‘bands’ — which are matrilineal, with temporarily-attached adult males, and may hold specific territories over several generations — rather than as individuals: The members of each band will normally forage closely together, either diurnally or on a crepuscular basis depending on species (and maybe also on relative availability of different food sources), taking it in turns to concentrate on keep watch for the other predators to which their own small size makes them vulnerable. Ecologically, you could compare them to the ‘Dwarf Mongooses’ of RL Africa (such as the Kusimane, and the Meerkat), or perhaps even to the [Procyonid] ‘Coatis’ of the RL Americas.

Nyctovenator (‘Night-Hunter’) = Nightstalker, or “Night Mongoose” (several species) = similar in shape & ecological role to the “typical” Notiovenatorines, but possess a ‘tapetumlucidum’ in their eyes which improves their night-vision and are therefore more likely than those relatives to hunt at night.
(What advantage the “typical” type possess in daylight, which keeps them from being out-completed completely by these, is a question that I still need to answer…)

Furoides (‘Ferret-like’) = Pygmy Nightstalkers, or “Ferrettenes” (several species) = distinctly smaller relatives of the preceding genus, but may hunt in groups or “broods” each of which is normally composed of siblings from a single litter; a “brood” initially may include both males & females, but if so then they split apart into two single-sex groups when the females first enter heat and seem not to recombine afterwards. This cooperative hunting is much more likely to be used for improving the chance that at least one member at a time will capture some relatively small mammal (e.g. a ‘Notioavaurid’ lagomorph, a ground squirrel, or even a mouse) or ground-foraging bird, rather than to bring down types of prey that are too large & powerful for individuals to tackle by themselves.

Dendrovenator (‘Tree-Hunter’) = Treestalker, or “Tree Mongoose” (several species; western end of the continent, plus the north-western & south-western lowlands; in forests, including rainforests, and fairly dense & extensive scrub) = similar to the ‘Pygmy Groundstalkers’ in basic shape as well as in size, but have semi-retractile rather than non-retractile claws and also have longer & bushier tails (to assist with balance while on branches) for climbing; arboreal or semi-arboreal; crepuscular or [especially in dense vegetation, or under “closed” canopies] diurnal. They hunt individually, taking mainly invertebrates but also some lizards, frogs, and more rarely other small vertebrates as well, and in some species might even take some fruit (including over-ripe fruit that neither ‘treeprowlers’ nor monkeys are very likely to consume) too.

Altivenator (‘High-Hunter’)= Treestalker, or “Tree Mongoose” (several species; eastern end of the continent, plus the north-eastern & south-eastern lowlands) =basically identical in form & nature to the preceding genus, with the two apparently having diverged from each other due to geographical separation rather than differences in ecological role.

Avilestes (‘Bird-Robber’) = Sanglin(several species, in forests and fairly dense & extensive scrub) _ see the ’Speckled Sanglin’ for a typical example of this genus.

- - - - - - - - - - - - -


Some of this family’s members that are confirmed as having resident populations within this nation are:

Notiovenator unicolor** = Plain-coated Groundstalker (or “Plain-coated Mongoose”)
Around the size of RL’s ‘Large Indian Mongoose’, and basically comparable to this in both form and ecological role. Its fur is always brown, but can vary quite widely between individuals in its exact shade.


Avilestes agilis* = Speckled Sanglin
There are several different species of ‘Sanglin’ known to exist in various areas on this continent, but only the ‘Speckled’ one is native to this nation.
Sanglins are arboreal predators, hunting alone and relatively small in size, that belong to this family’s ‘Tree Mongoose’ group. They live in tropical forests whose plants’ activity is “permanent” rather than seasonal in nature, and are usually nocturnal or crepuscular in their activities. Roosting or nesting birds — along with the latter’s fledglings and eggs — are a major component of their diet, as the genus name (which translates as “Bird-robber”) suggests, but they will also take rodents, roosting fruit-bats, lizards, large spiders, some fruit, and possibly other items as well if opportunity occurs. They have sinuous bodies, with bushy tails that they use to assist with balance. Their legs are proportionately short, and their paws bear semi-retractile claws that are mainly used for assistance in climbing and for anchoring the animals to branches but are sometimes also employed — along with the Sanglin’s sharp teeth, which include quite prominent (but not ‘sabre-toothed…) upper canines — against both attackers and the larger types of prey. Unlike some other arboreal species they rely almost entirely on stalking or even running along branches, and only rarely leap between branches. They prefer to sleep and raise their young in holes in trees, but have also been known to appropriate large enough birds’ nests for this purpose if suitable cavities were not available. The fur of this particular species is mostly a light brown in colour, but has small patches of a yellower hue scattered irregularly across its surface.
The origin of the name ‘Sanglin’ is disputed. The first mention of this genus in a scientific journal described a species to which the author entry — a travelling ‘collector’ by the name of Henry Smith — had given the binomial of Ornilestes sanguinis because its fur’s reddish-brown colour “rather closely resembled the shade of dried blood”, so it might be derived from the second part of that name: Alternatively, ‘Sanglin’ might have been a label already used for such animals by a people resident somewhere or other on this continent before then, and perhaps influenced Smith’s decision when assigning the scientific name. (There is also an unconfirmed story that he actually called it ‘sanguinis’ because when he was handling a live specimen “the bloody thing bit me!” ^_^ )
(OOC: I actually formed the name ‘Sanglin’ by re-arranging the name ‘Linsang’, which belongs to a type of small Carnivore that lives in some parts of RL Asia’s tropics. That RL animal is fairly comparable to this IDU endemic in size, shape, & lifestyle, although the Sanglin does not share the latter’s usual degree of sexual dimorphism.)



Noctoscansoridae*

Some of this family’s members that are confirmed as having resident populations within this nation are:


Anticivetta terrestris** = Common, or Greater, Groundprowler [strike]](formerly listed here as ‘Acivetta acivetta’, 'Austral Ground Civet').[/strike]
This is one of the family’s largest members, with adults potentially reaching weights of around 40 pounds. It is primarily terrestrial in its habits, although capable of swimming and to a lesser extent climbing as well. Adults forage alone, with an omnivorous diet that includes fruit, tubers, large invertebrates, small vertebrates of various kinds (and possibly already-injured medium-sized ones as well), and anything else that looks suitable. It survives despite sharing these appetites with the larger Painted Hyaena because it needs less food overall and because in addition to foods whose possession they would dispute it takes both more plant material than the Hyaena does and items that its rival would usually consider too small to be worthwhile as well: The fact that it is the better of these two at both swimming and climbing probably also helps. Ground Civets can be found any habitats where sufficient food is likely to be available, apart from the most open grassland (which they avoid due to the lack of cover for protection from predators) and the densest forests (where they would be at risk of ambush from above by large felids): Individuals roam widely enough that the mainland continent’s population has not yet split into local subspecies, although the populations more-or-less isolated on certain islands might qualify for that status. It has tough skin on its back and forehead, and claws & teeth capable of inflicting nasty wounds, so even larger predators tend to be wary about tackling it if alternative prey is reasonably available. The closest RL counterpart, in form and ecological role, is the African Ground Civet (although see also the Ratel, or Honey Badger). (I have changed the scientific name for this genus from the previously-given 'Acivetta' -- meaning, if I got it right "No civet" -- to 'Anticevtta' -- meaning [hopefully] "Opposite of civet". This is because people accidentally confusing 'Acivetta' with the "true" civets' 'genus name ’Civetta' would probably have been too likely... and I then changed the second part of this species' scientific name to an even greater extent because I felt that repeating the lengthened replacement Genus name would have been a bit much. Consider the revised version to have been "always" the case IC...)


Caniculus venaticus** = Jungle Dog
Despite its names (‘Caniculus’ translates as “Little Dog”) this species definitely belongs to the Noctoscansoridae rather than to the Canidae, although its phylogenetic position relative to the family’s more civet-like types [strike]& more mongoose-like types has not yet been[/strike] has only recently been determined for certain. It is native to the rainforest, sometimes ranging up into the cloud forest, and in some other parts of the continent has been found in [non-‘rainfrorest’] tropical evergreen forest as well. They have relatively shorter legs than the Ground Civet but are still basically civet-like in build, although with teeth slightly better-suited for carnivory than any of this family’s “true” civet-like species possess. Individuals only reach weights of around 10-14 pounds as adults, but they hunt in packs. Their build lets them pass easily under or through fairly dense undergrowth, which is their preferred hunting ground, and they can swim quite well too: Common items in their diet are large rodents, small ungulates, ground-foraging birds, waterbirds, frogs, fish (if it can be cornered quickly enough in the shallows), and the larger freshwater crustaceans. Their closest RL counterpart, in form and ecological role, is the ‘Bush Dog’ (which is a member of the Canidae) of South America.


___________________________________________



2.) From the order Pholidota, which contains only the Pangolins or ‘Scaly Anteaters’ (and some extinct relatives of theirs), the following family and species have members native to this nation:

Paramanidae*

Paramanis cikotoumii** = (South-coast) Pangolin or Scaly Anteater
The name ‘Cikotoumi’ appeared on an old mariners’ map, used by the first naturalists who came this way in more recent times and who named this species [among others], for this peninsula… or, at least, for the cape at its southern end: The derivation of this name is unknown. (That’s the IC version, anyway: OOC it was the name of nation a that formerly existed in this location, but that has since CTED and apparently been retconned out of the IC history & memories, whose former existence I would like to commemorate by using the name for [at least] this species… especially when I can’t think of a good alternative within a reasonable amount of time… ^_^ )
The native Pangolins of this continent are now given an endemic family of their own, rather than included within the RL species’ family Manidae, because molecular studies have determined that both groups are monophyletic (i.e. all the species of each group share a common ancestor which is not also ancestral to any known species outside that group) and fossils suggest that they have undergone separate [but parallel] evolution from ancestors that were less pangolin-like (and are not themselves included in the Manidae) before that. This species can be found in the non-swampy parts of the rainforest, in the west coast’s tropical evergreen forests, and in any denser parts of the west’s other woods and scrub that they can reach without crossing too much open ground (or water) and in which they can find nests of the termites & ants that are their only food. They can climb to some extent, but this species does not seek out insect nests up in the trees’ trunks much above ground level or in the branches. (The rainforest has a marsupial anteater which is arboreal.) They share this role in more open country with the ‘Ant-pig’, which ventures further out into the plains as well, and in all of their range outside the rainforest with the ‘Shaggy Bear’: Both of those animals are distinctly larger than this one, letting them drive it away from food (and, in the Bear’s case, even threaten to eat the pangolin…), but then that fact itself tends to make both of them concentrate on the larger nests and leave the smaller ones for this species instead.

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Post by Bears Armed » Mon Oct 14, 2019 7:08 pm

Mammals: Odd-toed Ungulates

1.) From the order Persissodactlya, the following families and species have members native to this nation:

Equidae

Metahipparion monodactylos** = Plains, or Striped, Hass
Metahipparion montanus** = Upland Hass

Although these species belong to the ‘Horse’ family they are more closely related to the extinct-in-RL genus Hipparion (which still had three toes on each foot, although with the ones on each side reduced in size relative to the central one) than to any of the species (all placed in the genus Equus, and all with only one toe per foot) that survive in RL today. The name “Hass” was coined because they aren’t exactly proper Horses, and they aren’t exactly Wild Asses, but they appear rather similar to both if you don’t look too closely at their feet. They are both grazers, the ‘Plains Hass’ living in open grassland and wooded savannah (or even the in more open parts of the actual woodland, sometimes) below the [western] foothills of the mountains while the ‘Upland Hass’ — whose legs are proportionately a bit shorter — occupies the grassy areas on the slopes above and even those at the top of the eastern slopes as well. The Plains Hass has only one toe on each foot, although some remnant bones [of reduced size] from the other toes that their quite recent ancestors possessed form slight bulges on either side above this. The Upland Hass still has three toes per foot, although the outside ones are smaller than the centre one: It normally walks or runs on just the centre toes, but when descending slopes may bring the others into contact with the ground behind those as well which improves stability and thus allows higher speeds. The fur of the Plains Hass is basically a light brown in colour, but with thin stripes of a darker brown to individually varying extents on the head, body (except the belly), and upper legs: The fur of the Upland Hass is solidly a fairly light greyish-brown in colour. Both species have a “typical equine” social structure, with small herds that each consist of one adult stallion with a number of mares and their immature offspring while ‘bachelor’ stallions roam individually. Both species will sometimes graze alongside or amidst herds of antelopes, just as the also-equine Zebras do in RL Africa. Only a few attempts have been made so far at taming any members of either species, and none yet has been successful.

(†) Chalicotheriidae
Neochalicotherium gigas** = ‘Chalicothere’ (At least some of U.N.E.’s colonists here call it the "Sasquatch Horse")
Large browser, found in the woodlands along the western coast and sometimes found even in wooded savannah. Around the size of a large horse, capable of sitting on its haunches and using its long forelimbs — whose toes are tipped with claws rather than with hooves — to pull branches down to its mouth. Those claws are also a useful defence against predators.


Rhinoceratidae

This continent’s native Rhinoceroses all belong to its endemic subfamily Monceratinae* (“One-horns”). They are divided into two tribes, one of browsers and one of grazers.

Monoceras griseus notus*** = Southern Grey Rhinoceros
This is a grazer, occurring in the more open of the habitats west of [and below] the mountains.
Breviceras hespereus** = Western Short-horned Rhinoceros, or Western Jungle Rhinoceros
This is a browser, both in the rainforest and in the denser & lusher of the west coast’s forests. As the name indicates it has a relatively short horn, although this is still quiet sturdy, and it is rather smaller than either of the other native species.
Aresiceras brunneus** = Brown, or Belligerent, Rhinoceros
This is also a browser, but in the drier forests, scrub, and wooded savannah, inland from the west coast. It generally relies on coarser vegetation than does the species above, and has more powerful teeth for crushing this. Like the ‘Black Rhino’ of RL Africa, it is noted for its tendency to charge at perceived threats. (Hence the reference to Ares, the Ancient Greeks’ God of War, in its genus name.)


Hippydridae*

Hippydor oceanicus** = Southern Water-horse
This family is only distantly related to any of the other Perissodactyls, and evolved from a now-extinct family of rather tapir-like animals called the Anthracobunidae (which were also formerly present, but are now extinct, in RL). Its modern members are aquatic herbivores that fill similar ecological niches to RL’s modern ‘Sea-cows’ (manatees & dugong) in suitable areas around the coasts of both the IDU’s continents, but because of their ancestry they are commonly called ‘Water-horses’ instead. The range of one species extends into ‘sea-grass meadows’ near this nation’s western coast, where its members graze.

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Fossils of various “Condylarths” (animals that were formerly grouped together as into a now–discredited ‘Order’ called Condylarthra, some of which were probably quite close relatives to particular “true” Ungulate lineages (such as the Perissodactyla [see above] or the Artiodactyla [see next post]) but others of which possibly were not closely related to any other ‘Ungulates’ at all, might also be found here.

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Post by Bears Armed » Mon Oct 14, 2019 7:11 pm

Mammals: Even-toed Ungulates

1.) From the order Artiodactyla — which, for the purposes of this list does not include the Cetaceans (whales & dolphins) even though modern studies now place them within this overall group — the following families and species have members native to this nation:

Erythrohyidae*

This family is endemic to the IDU’s southern continent & some nearby islands. Its name translates as “Red Pigs”, with the first part referring to their generally red-tinted fur, although in fact the most pig-like forms became extinct quite long time ago due to competition from actual pigs & peccaries. They do have rather pig-like heads, including the presence of tusks, but without the bony plate in the snout that helps real pigs to dig up food items from underground.
Two branches of this family, whose members differ sufficiently from each other that they have been classified as forming two separate sub-families, survive with species still alive today. {The existence of fossil forms of a clearly intermediate nature is why they aren’t classified as fully separate families.) Both lineages’ surviving members live only in tropical rainforest and the other reasonably dense types of tropical or sub-tropical woodlands. All of their species possess digestive systems that are slightly more advanced than those of most “true” Pigs, although less so than those of Ruminants (c.f. from RL, in the ‘Pig’ family itself, the Babirusa of RL Sulawesi…): Some zoologists think that slight differences between the two lines’ versions of this feature indicate that they evolved it separately in parallel rather than inherited it from a single common ancestor, but this is still under debate.
The subfamily ‘Erythrohyinae’ consists of relatively small animals (max. head+body length c.24 inches, max. height at shoulder c.18 inches) with two-toed feet and a rather more gracile build than is usual for actual pigs. They are commonly called ‘Piggles’ or ‘Hoggles’, and forage (usually individually or in pairs, except when young offspring are still accompanying their mothers, although larger groups may form temporarily where & when food is particularly plentiful) for a mixed diet that includes not only some of the higher-quality browse but also fallen fruit, fungi, invertebrates, and even the occasional small vertebrate. Thus, they fill basically the same ecological niche here that is occupied in RL Asia & Africa by the chevrotains & some of the smallest antelopes.
The other subfamily is the ‘Ipakoinae’. This contains fewer species (and has fewer individual animals alive at any one time) than does the first one. Its members are distinctly larger than Piggles at “horse-sized”, tend to have — as the species found in this nation does — mottled fur, still have four-toed feet & use all four toes when walking. have proportionately longer necks that are more ‘upright’ in orientation than those of either Piggles or true Pigs, and also have relatively long lips that are muscular enough to be projected forwards together as a short ‘trunk’ [about two-thirds as long as the rest of the head) to help gather food. They are browsers, usually foraging alone (except when young offspring are still accompany their mothers), filling a comparable role to RL Africa’s Okapi (to which they bear some resemblance in size & general shape, too) and in fact are most commonly called ‘Notanokapi’ in English. Their only genus has been given the “Latin” name of [iIpako[/i], which is obviously just ‘Okapi’ spelled backwards.

This nation’s fauna includes members of one Notanokapi species, and of three Piggle species with one of the latter — the ‘’Heights Hoggle or Hairy Hoggle’ (‘Erythrohus altimontanus[/i]), whose range is limited to the belts of ‘cloud forest’ and higher-altitude scrub on the upper slopes of the mountains’ eastern side — actually endemic to this nation alone. The other two species live only in lowland forests, and consist of the ‘Common Red Piggle’ (Erythrohyus erythrohyus (which lives in the ‘tropical evergreen’ forests of this nation’s western coasts, and also in both the same habitat & tropical rainforest in the lands to the west) and the ‘Southern Red Piggle’ (E. notus) (whose range extends from this nation’s tropical rainforests into comparable habitats further east).
The piggles that live in the karst terrain forming the local rainforest’s southern end comprise a distinct and endemic form, distinguishable visually due to having white rather than red fur on their snouts. It is normally classified as a subspecies of the Southern Red Piggle, under the names of ‘Karst Red Pig’ and E. notus albirostris): It may also sometimes be called the ‘White-nosed Piggle, but this is officially disapproved of by zoological authorities in certain other countries on the basis that such a name would look more appropriate for a full species instead (and maybe also on a suspicion that some people using the term are — either consciously or subconsciously — trying to exaggerate this nation’s number of endemic species…). Some researchers suggested at one stage that it was actually a subspecies of the ‘Common Red Piggle instead but a recent DNA-based study of the entire genus found that for those genes which are not common to all of its species the members of this particular population have about eight times as many that are shared with other stocks of the ‘Southern’ species alone as are shared with the ‘Common’ species alone… although it also has almost one-&-a-half times the latter number of genes that are not shared with either of its neighbours (so, around 76% vs. 09.5% vs. 14%) which indicates either a relatively high rate of evolution locally or (or “and”) hybridisation with an older endemic population that no longer exists in a ‘pure’ form. For now, though, the current classification remains the official one as far as international bodies are concerned.

Ikapo arcanus** = Notanokapi
Erythrohyus altimontanus** = Heights, or Hairy, Hoggle
Erythrohyus erythrohyus** = Common Red Piggle
Erythrohyus notus notus*** = Southern Red Piggle
Erythrohyus notus albirostris*** = Karst Red Piggle


Suidae

Sus barbaricus* = Wild Pig
This is closely comparable to its counterpart RL Europe in size and habits. It can be found in the western side’s woodland & scrub.

Notochoerus melanus cikkotoumii*** = Cikkotoumi Black Forest Hog
This is slightly smaller than the ‘Wild Pig’, on average, and lives in the rainforests of the east with its range extending well uphill into the montane rainforest but only rarely into the cloud forest.


Tayassuiidae

Notiopeccari striata** = Striped Pecccary
This occurs mainly west of the mountains, where its range extends across the more open areas of woodland, scrub, and wooded savannah, into parts of the open grassland. There is also, however, a separate population in the ‘scrub belt’ (maybe sometimes ranging into the ‘cloud forest’) on the mountains’ eastern slopes as well. Peccaries arrived on this continent from among the stocks that lived prehistorically in RL Asia, rather than from those of the RL Americas, although North America was the source of those on the IDU’s northern continent. They can compete with the Wild Pig well enough, although individually smaller, because — in addition to usually being more successful than it in the more open areas where there is less cover and less suitable food, anyway — they typically go around in larger groups.


Cervidae

“True” Deer; members of a continent-endemic “parvfamily” (a level of classification that is three steps down from ‘family’) called the Australocervirae*, whose closest RL relatives would be a parvfamily that contains the diminutive Muntjacs of RL southern & south-eastern Asia.; Austalocervire deer are generally a bit larger than muntjacs, with more complex antlers (although they’ve lost their cousins’ tusks), but are still nowhere near the Deer family’s upper limits for either of those aspects. Five species, all of which are purely browsers, have populations native to this country _

Australocervus (Torbocervus) maculatus *** = Spotted Torbeck
Australocervus (Australocervus) reevei *** = Reeve’s Torbeck
Australocervus (Australocervus) parvus notus **** = (Southern) Pygmy Torbeck
Australocervus (Amazamu) amazamu *** = Jungle Deer
Palustricervus amazamu ** = Marsh Deer

The names ‘Torbeck’ and ‘Amazamu’ are referred to by the IC taxonomist who assigned them to species as “old names, traditional on that continent”, although it is not clear who the people that he thought used those “traditional” names actually were. (OOC, assume these names to have originated in the language of a people living there whose home nation has since CTEd, with this minor detail having somehow survived the retcon that removed those nations not only from the region’s history but also IC from [almost] everybody’s memories. In fact, I really derived them from names of some RL deer that live in South America — genus Mazama, the ‘Brockets’ — which are a reasonably good comparison to these IDU species in form & lifestyle…)
Spotted Torbecks have medium-brown or reddish-brown pelts with off-white spots. They are larger in size than any of the other deer that occur here, roughly comparable to RL ‘Fallow Deer’. Their main home is ‘Tropical Evergreen’ forest along the western coast, but they extend their range into the ‘Tropical Seasonal’ forest beyond this as well when vegetation there is at its lushest after the rains have come and may also occupy parts of the ‘gallery forest’ that lines the larger rivers if these provide sufficient food & cover for their needs.
Reeve’s Torbeck (whose first name commemorates a naturalist by the surname of ‘Reeve’… not the ‘Reeves’ after whom one species of RL ‘Muntjac’ deer is named…) reaches around maximum heights & lengths approximately two-thirds those of the ‘Spotted’ species. It occupies the same habitats at this does, typically feeding at a slightly lower level, but also remains in the ‘Tropical Seasonal’ forests all through the year and may venture into the less dense areas of scrub as well. A separate population, typically slightly smaller in size than its western relatives but not classified as a distinct sub-species, occurs in the ‘scrub belt and upper edge of the ‘cloud forest’ along the mountains’ eastern slopes.
Pygmy Torbeck prefer the denser areas of either ‘Tropical Evergreen’ forest or scrub for shelter, but will also venture out of these to feed. They are relatively common in the western foothills of the mountains, but apparently have not yet spread into the eastern slopes’ ‘scrub belt’ as well. Reported sightings from the ‘Tropical Montane Rainforest’ further down those slopes remain unconfirmed by photographs or material evidence but, if correct, would probably involve members of a population that had entered this area separately from the north-east.
Jungle Deer and Marsh Deer are both residents of the rainforests in this nation’s eastern portion, preferring drier ground (including the less-steep sections of the ‘Montane’ rainforest) and the wettest areas respectively. Both are basically comparable in size to Reeve’s Torbeck, but have less complex antlers than any of the non-rainforest species.


Bovidae

This is the family that includes not only cattle but also sheep & goats, and antelopes & gazelles. It is the most recently arrived here of the Artiodactyl families.

Heliobos longicornis**, ‘Sun Ox’ or ‘Longhorn’.
This belongs to the subfamily Bovinae and the tribe Bovini. It resembles the ‘Cape Buffalo’ of RL Arica in form & habits, but has an ochre-coloured pelt rather than a black one and is probably more closely related to the now-extinct ‘Aurochs’ (the ancestor of domestic cattle) instead. It grazes, in herds, in open grassland (even on some of the less-steep sections of the mountains’ western slopes) and wooded savannah. It is endemic to this continent, but not to this nation alone.

Quadricornus major major*** = Greater Quadricorn
Quadricornus major medius*** = (Common) Quadricorn
Quadricornus minor** = Lesser, or Dwarf, Quadricorn
Taurelaphus silviitragus** = Jungle Oxelope
These antelopes belong to the subfamily Bovinae and the tribe Boselaphini, sharing the latter with RL Asia’s ‘Chousingha’ (or ‘Four-horned Antelope’) and ‘Nilgai’, In these Quadricorns, as in the Chousingha, adult males have four horns each — rather than just the two that are normal for Antelopes & Gazelles from all the other tribes — while females remain hornless. Quadricorns are “mixed feeders”, meaning that they both browse and graze depending on the opportunities available. In this nation they are most numerous in the seasonal forest and scrub inland from the western coast, including that in the foothills of the mountains which they can reach through the ‘gallery forests’ along certain rivers, (although the ‘Greater’ form rarely goes that far), but also venture into both the denser ‘tropical evergeeen’ forests nearer to the sea and the wooded savannah further inland. A separate population of the Lesser Quadricorn also lives in the ‘scrub belt’ along the mountains’ eastern slopes, from which its members sometimes venture forth to feed either on the grassy heights above or in the ‘cloud forest’ below. The two larger forms were originally thought to be separate species, but recent studies using DNA indicate that this to be incorrect. Hybrids between the two types are rare, however, probably mainly because most inter-subspecies matings involve ‘Greater’ males with ‘Common’ females, and the latter tend to have problems with bearing the embryos (which are normally larger than purebred ‘Common’ ones) to term and giving birth: Hybrids may also be lesser fertile or more prone to some other health problems than purebreds of either kind, but these possibilities have not yet been studied thoroughly. An approximate ratio of relative average heights & [head+body] lengths for the three types would be 8:6:3.
The ‘Oxelope’ is purely a browser, and occurs not only in the western forests — primarily in the lusher sections of those, which tend to be nearer to the coast — but in the less swampy sections of the east’s lowland rainforest as well. Compared to the various types of Quadricorn its average values would be around ‘7’ for height but ‘9’ for [head+body] length. Both sexes have bluish-grey pelts. The DNA-based studies already mentioned suggest that it is more closely related to the RL ‘Nilgai’ than to any other member of this tribe, with that pair of species then slightly more closely related to the RL ‘Chousingha’ than to the Quadricorns. However, it is closer in its general proportions to the RL ’tragelaphine’ browsing antelopes of Africa (such as the ‘Bongo) — apart from the fact that its horns do not share the ‘spiral’ structure of theirs — than to the rather “cattle-like” Nilgai.

Tragotaurus argenteus ** = Silver, or Plains, Oxelope
This is another “Boselaphine” antelope, related to both the ‘Jungle Oxelope’ (which is its closest living relative in this land) and the ‘Quadricorns’: Like the latter, it is a “mixed feeder” (i.e. it both grazes and browses), but unlike them it spends little time inside the woods (where its pale grey colouring would make it conspicuous to predators). Instead, it does most of its browsing in the wooded savannah or along the outer edges of the woods and of patches of scrub. Additionally, like some of RL Africa’s ‘Tragelaphine’ antelopes, it uses its hooves to dig up bulbs & tubers as a further source of food. Migration in search of fresh food supplies occurs. It reaches comparable lengths to its ‘Jungle’ relative, and even greater heights than that species, but is normally a bit less heavily built so that their weights are fairly comparable. Because it cannot shelter in dense vegetation to escape predators, as most other Boselaphines do, it typically forms larger herds for mutual protection than is usual in those other species.

Parantilope magnifica** = Giant Ebon Antelope
Parantilope nigra** = Ebon Antelope
Neogazella (Neogazella) thompsonii *** = Thompson’s Gazelle, or the 'Tompi'
(This species is named after a certain ‘Thompson’ who spelled their surname with a ‘p’, whereas the similar gazelle that exists in RL Africa is named after a different ‘Thomson’ who spelled their name without a ‘p’ instead. There is an OOC literary reference involved here…)
Neogazella (Neogazella) fulva** = Sandy, or Plains, tTan Gazelle
Neogazella (Sylivgazella) brunnea** = Brown, or Bush, Gazelle
Capratragus capratragus** = Goat-gazelle, or Rockjumper
These species are members of the subfamily Antilopinae and the tribe Antilopini, whose current members on RL Earth are the ‘Blackbuck’ (genus = Antilope) of southern Asia and most of the ‘Gazelles’. The names of the first two genera listed here clearly indicate presumed relationships, but some uncertainty still exists and it remains a definite possibility that in fact all of these species — quite possibly even including the Goat-Gazelle, or Rockjumper, as well — actually belong to a single lineage whose members are more closely related to each other than any of them is to any RL stock. The two 'Antelopes' and the 'Sandy Gazelle' are almost purely grazers, and occur mainly in the open grassland west of the mountains but with the the range of the Sandy Gazelle also extending up through the less steep sections of the range’s western slopes. 'Thompson'a Gazelle' is primarily a grazer, but may also browse if & when grazing cannot yield enough food: It ranges from the wooded savanna across the open plains, and up the gentler parts of the mountains' lower of the mountains. 'The 'Brown Gazelle' is a' mixed feeder' (i.e. routinely both grazes and browses), with a range that extends into seasonal forests and the scrubby areas, and may use scrub or woodland as cover from predators: Because of this, its legs are proportionately slightly shorter than those of any of the other 'gazelle' species here. The Goat-Gazelle is also a 'mixed feeder', but occupies the heights & steeper slopes on both sides of the mountains (on both sides of the range) where -- again -- it may use isolated patches of scrub or even woodland for cover.
The two species of Antelope are somewhere between the ‘Blackbuck’ and RL Africa’s “hippotragines” (e.g. ‘Sable Antelope’, ‘Roan Antelope’) in form but with sizes comparable to the latter: In both species the males have black backs but females are all-brown, as in the RL ‘Blackbuck’ itself. Thompson's Gazelle reaches slightly larger sizes than the RL Impala, which it resembles in form, and is primarily tan in colour. The other two 'Neogazella' gazelles are a bit smaller than the Impala, and their usual colouring is actually less different from each other’s -- or form that of Thompson's Gazelle -- than their scientific names might be taken as indicating. The ‘Goat-Gazelle’ is slightly smaller than those two, with shaggier fur and proportionately smaller horns: It has proportionately narrower feet as well, but with a greater ability to move its toes separately in order to get a better grip on sloping footholds, and — as the second of its English names suggests — is quite competent at jumping accurately onto or from fairly small bits of level-enough ground.

(†) Climacoceratidae

Alticlimacoceras clavatus*, Striped Giraffe
This is a distinctly giraffe-like browser, although it uses “broken” stripes (dark brown, on a paler background) rather than more irregularly-shaped blotches for camouflage and — although this probably wouldn’t be obvious except to real experts — its [short] horns develop form a different bone in the skull. It feeds in open woodland and wooded savannah, including the outer edges of ‘gallery forests’ along rivers. It is endemic to this continent, but not to this nation alone.

Allocornus attenboroughi, *, (Attenborough’s) Allocorn
This is a shorter-necked browser, about the size of a RL Okapi, and prefers reasonably heavy woods but not rainforest. It also has striped camouflage, but in darker shades than that of its taller relative.
The genus name means “Different Horn”, and reflects the fact that not only do its adult members have more impressive horns than those of the Okapi but its adult males have noticeably more spectacular horns than do adult females (as in the now-extinct RL Prolibytherium: Take a look!).

This lineage is quite closely related to the Giraffidae, within which its members were previously classified (although usually as a distinct subfamily) for a while in RL. The fact that they survived on this continent, unlike in RL, might actually be because “true” Giraffids never arrived here to compete with them. The RL species seem all to have been relatively short-necked, like the Okapi but with more impressive horns: However, I see no reason why — in the absence of actual giraffes — the ones on this continent couldn’t have evolved in parallel to produce a long-necked species as well.


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The following extinct families of Artiodactyls might be represented here just by fossils:

Gelocidae
These also existed in RL. They basically resembled Chevrotain or Musk Deer, and might have been ancestral to all of the other Ruminant families apart from (the Chevrotain & its closest [all now extinct] relatives.

Paleomerycidae
These also existed in RL, too. They were larger browsers, some with horns of varying patterns, maybe less good at running than are the modern ruminants. Some taxonomist have split them into two or more separate families, maybe even with one of those endemic to this continent.

Tricorniferidae*
Endemic to this continent; typically more lightly-built than the Paleomerycids; adults had three horns, as their name indicates, with two of these on the forehead and one on the nose.

(Various fairly close relatives of the Erythrohyidae* might also be present as fossils, ranging from the size of a hare to the size of a horse, but more work on that group’s taxonomy is needed before I can list them here…)


______________________________________


2.) From the order Cetacea, which is actually included within the Artiodactyla ( or ‘Cetartiodactyla’) by many zoologists today but which I prefer to list separately here:

The waters of the IDU’s world are home to populations of most species from this order that still survive (however precariously) in RL, but few endemic types. Missing here from the RL list are the ‘River Dolphins’, except for one species that is included in the “Amazonian” ecosystem acquired by central Malabra at some stage during the last half-million or so year, and most if not all of the Porpoises. Endemic species are limited (as far as I have determined so far) to several species of Porpoise and one single species of Dolphin: The latter is placed in a family of its own, Iapetidelphinidae*, and lives in waters in & around the Iapetus Sea and thence down this continent’s eastern coast — including the lower reaches of some rivers — but does not reach this nation’s waters except perhaps as a very occasional stray that has been swept west by the current…

This particular nation’s waters could have resident or visiting populations of any species that the IDU shares with RL and for which local conditions are suitable, possibly with one or more types of whale having a “breeding ground” in the seas not far to the west. It shares a species of IDU-endemic Porpoise with other nations along the continent’s southern coast.

Phocoenidae
Phocoena subtitlis = Southern Ocean Porpoise
(The name ’subtilis’refers to its “shy” nature.)


3.) From the order Myrmecoryctida*, which is endemic to this continent, the following family and species has members native to this nation:

Myrmecohyidae*

Myrmecohyus myrmecoryctes** = Ant-pig
This is the only known member (barring a few fragmentary fossils) of not just its genus but its entire Order. It is very similar in both form and lifestyle to RL Africa’s ‘Aardvark’, and was formerly classified in the same order as that animal — although already placed in a family of its own — despite its teeth not having the distinctive structure which gave that order the name ‘Tubulidentata’. However, recent studies [in both RL and the IDU] have revealed that the Aardvark is actually most closely related to several other groups of mammals that are of African origins rather than to the “true” Ungulates with which it (and several of those other groups, too) had previously been linked, whereas the ‘Ant-pig’ is indeed a close relative of the “true” Ungulates. Those same studies place the Myrmecohydiae very close to but outside (as they lack a certain “diagnostic” feature of the ankle joint) the modern order ‘Cetartiodactyla’ (i.e. Artiodactyla plus Cetacea; the latter’s last land-dwelling ancestors are now known to have possessed that distinctive ankle joint, fairly and recent DNA tests say that the Hippopotamuses are their closest living relatives). As the family thus does not fit neatly within any other already-recognized order it has been given one of its own, the ‘Myrmecoryctida’.
There are suspicions that it descended from some member of the extinct Mesonychia (the first wave of large mammalian predators, which appeared only a few million years after the [non-avian] dinosaurs became extinct — in RL, as well as the IDU — and had hooves!), as those were definitely present on this continent, but the Ant-pig’s skeleton is too specialized because of its lifestyle for anatomical comparison to be certain and no definitely Mesonychid fossils are “young” enough to yield DNA for comparison.
(In fact, before the Aardvark was reclassified as an ‘Afrotherian’, descent from a Mesonychid was what I myself suspected to have been its origin...)


4.) From the extinct order Mesonychia (formerly also called Acreodi), various species might be represented by here by fossils. Most of the species found, and some of their families, would have been endemic to this continent.

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Post by Bears Armed » Mon Oct 14, 2019 7:16 pm

Mammals: Primatomorpha

1.) From the order Primates, whose extant forms on RL Earth range from lemurs & bush-babies, through monkeys, to humans & other apes, this continent has native populations of [non-human species from only one family:

Cercopithecidae
On the RL Earth this family consists of all the ‘Old World’ monkey species, i.e. those that are native to Africa or Eurasia rather than to the Americas. It is divided into two subfamilies, the Cercopithecinae which contains all of the more terrestrial species (e.g. Baboons) and the more “generalized” of the arboreal ones, and the Colobinae whose members are all specialist leaf-eaters with mainly arboreal lifestyles (e.g. Colobus Monkeys in Africa, Langurs in Asia). The only Colobine species that might be present on this continent would be in a specific area that received “Himalayan foothills” elements in its fauna relatively recently (in geological/palaeontological terms) and would not have spread into this nation.
All of the Cercopithecine monkey species native to this continent belong to a monophyletic lineage which is a sister-group to the lineage comprising all of the RL species (as well as a few that exist in certain parts of the IDU’s northern continent): This was an old hypothesis, and has now been confirmed using molecular studies. The subfamily is therefore split into two infra-families, the Cercopithecitae (in RL, and on the IDU’s northern continent) and the Australosimiitae (endemic to this continent. The dating of that split is awkward, because the sub-family’s African and Asian branches would seem to have diverged from each other a significant amount of time before the earliest date for which we currently have any evidence of any Australosimiite’s presence here: This is probably just because we haven’t yet found fossils for the earliest species that arrived here, but it is also possible that their basal stock actually continued living on a RL-like version of Earth for a while after splitting from the Cercopitheciitae but before moving here with it being there that fossils from the relevant period would have to be found instead…
As with most ‘Monkey’ species that exist on RL Earth, the members of the species here typically go around in groups that (in some cases] can exceed a hundred in strength rather than just individually or in pairs. They communicate extensively with each other, and some species whose ranges overlap actually share alarm-calls to warn of approaching predators. The use of sticks or rocks as simple tools has been observed in a few species, and is suspected to occur at least occasionally in certain others as well. Most species are fairly omnivorous, with neither specialised leaf-eaters nor “full-time” carnivores occurring amongst them, but even those species that do take some vertebrate prey will generally not make “unprovoked” attacks on any animals significantly larger than themselves even if & when they outnumber the potential targets by significant margins.

There are three main lineages within this infrafamily, currently classified as separate tribes:
Australosimii = small to medium monkeys, including all of the more arboreal species and some of those with more terrestrial lifestyles as well; several genera.
Iduimacaccini = medium to large monkeys, less arboreal than some of the Australosimii but still can & do climb trees; some have only very short tails; only one genus (?). (RL comparisons: Barbary Ape, Japanese Macaque.)
Parapapini = medium to large monkeys, almost entirely terrestrial, higher levels of sexual dimorphism than in the other tribes (adult males are larger than adult females, with relatively larger canine teeth which they use against each other as well as against both prey and predators, and may show other differences from juvenile males as well as all females as well. Two genera (?). Common name = “Moboons” ?). (RL comparison: Baboons.)

Iduimacacca cristata** = Crested Macaque, or ‘Baranxtui Ape’
(Details to follow: I do have most of the important facts already determined, but have been working on a wiki-style article about the ‘Mint- Trees’ — which is now almost complete itself — before typing these up…)



2.) From the order Plesiadapiformes, several families exist on this continent and could have members in this nation.

This order as currently recognised in the IDU is a sister-group to the Primates (with the latter possibly including or at least closer to the ‘Colugos’ or ‘Flying Lemurs’ of RL south-eastern Asia, who are otherwise only just outside the [Primates + Plesidadapiformes] grouping). Most of the families historically classified as being within this order are now recognised on both Earths as having been more basal “Primatomorphs” — either earlier branches from the family-tree that leads to the two modern orders or actually in the shared line of ancestry leading to both of the latter — instead, but the family Plesiadapidae (after whom, of course, the Order was named…) did not appear until slightly too late a date to have been ancestral to the Primates and has numerous descendant lineages in the IDU so the name is retained more specifically here for this lineage. Plesiadapiformes on RL Earth apparently failed to compete successfully against the Primates (or perhaps, in the case of some genera, with Squirrels), and have long been extinct, but they arrived (or evolved) in the IDU several entire Epochs before the Primates did and so were able to spread & diverge “in peace” into a range of forms that were largely able to compete successfully when their “cousins” finally turned up… Some lineages of the largest & most ‘monkey-like’ Plesiadapiformes did become extinct, apparently because the “real” monkeys had an advantage over them in terms of group-size (which obviously would have affected relative ability to control food-sources) and perhaps also in intelligence: The large leaf-eating specialist Plesiadapiformes, however, were able to retain their place due to the absence of comparably specialised forms among the arriving monkeys and the fact that they themselves generally lived in larger groups than was the case for any of the other types so that they could hold on to feeding territories more effectively than those could against the monkeys.

I am currently reorganizing my notes about this Order. Its original home in the IDU was on the large island that subsequently collided with the northern continent & became [most of] the modern nation of Malabra, but it spread at relatively early dates onto both of the continents as well. Previously I left most of its diversity & endemic families in Malabra, saying that the ones that crossed over into the southern continent included members of only two or perhaps three of those lineages and had not diversified much after their arrival here, but considering the time-scale involved and the lack of Primate competition for a long time I now think that — however scanty & un-diverse those original colonists were — the ones living here today should probably be comparable (although not identical) in diversity to the Malabran & Northern ones.

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Post by Bears Armed » Mon Oct 14, 2019 7:18 pm

Mammals: Rodents

The first wave of Rodents to arrive on this continent, whose oldest fossils come from the second half of the Eocene epoch, came from a RL-like Earth and were all members of the members of the suborder Hystricognathi (The RL members of this include both families of Porcupines, a few small families in Africa & tropical Asia, and all the endemic rodent families of South America, Central America, & the West Indies.) They diversified here, similarly to how their relatives did in South America, to fill a range of ecological niches. Squirrels & their close relatives apparently entered the IDU’s northern continent at around the same time, and crossed into the south [in two waves, several million years apart] a bit later on, while Mouse-like rodents were a later arrival that followed the same basic route as the squirrels. Some roles that are filled by rodents on more RL-like Earths, however, are filled here by members of the next order that I’ll discuss instead.
(under work)


Hystricidae
This family includes not only some other IDUvian endemics but also the ‘Old World Porcupines’ of RL. ‘Hystrix’ , as used in the names of genera here as well as in the family's name, is the Latin word for Porcupine and is used [without any prefix] for the family's main RL. In this system of classification the family's RL current members form a subfamily 'Hystricinae' (which also has one or two species on the IDU's northern continent, although it is a fairly recent arrival there by palaeontologists’ standards) while all of the genera & species endemic to this continent form the subfamily 'Australohystrcinae'.

Australohystrix baranxtui** = (Western) Ground Porcupine
Basically comparable to the Rl ‘Crested Porcupine’. It belongs to the tribe ‘Australohystricini’, which includes all but two or three of this continent’s non-arboreal porcupines. The second part of its name comes from a “traditional” name for this continent’s western end, which OOC was the name of a now-CTEd nation there…

Macrohystrix terrens** = Giant Ground Porcupine
This is also a member of the tribe Australohystricini. It is a spiny herbivore that probably reaches around 5 feet long, excluding the tail, and to over 3 feet high at the shoulder! It browses in the more open areas of woodland, in scrub, and on wooded savannah.” with “It lives in the more open areas of woodland, in scrub, and on wooded savannah, where it supplements the Ground Porcupines’ usual diet (mainly roots & tubers, and berries & other fruit) by browsing: Its greater size houses a proportionately larger digestive system than those of other porcupines, within which — with the help of symbiotic micro-organisms — this foliage can be processed It is the sole surviving member of this genus. The prefix ‘Macro’ in its genus's name indicates large size, and ‘terrens’ is a translation of the discoverer’s chosen adjective ‘intimidating’ — “because I certainly wouldn’t try blocking one’s path” — but presumably comes from the same root as the English word ‘terrifying’. (Second name provided via NS forums, ‘Gameplay’ section, ‘Latin Motto Help’ thread.)

Dendrohyrax cikotoumii ** = Cikoutoumian Tree Porcupine
This is a member of the Australohystrinae’s other main tribe, the Dendrohystricini, and within that to a sub-tribe ‘Dendrohystriciti’ which includes all of the continent’s arboreal porcupines. It is roughly comparable in form & size to the arboreal porcupines that can be found in RL South America today. Its range here includes all of the lusher forests, along both coasts and up the eastern slopes of the mountains, and it is apparently endemic to this nation although precise classification of its relatives in the coastal forests to north-west & north-east remains to be determined and so it is possible that one or both of those other populations is actually conspecific with this one despite [minor] differences in appearance.


Sciuridae

This country has one species of ‘Giant Squirrel’, or maybe one in the rain-forests of the east but a separate one in the ‘tropical evergreen’ forests along the west coast. These are not on a comparable scale to the ‘Giant Ground Porcupine described above, they are just comparable to the ‘Giant Squirrels’ of RL southern & south-eastern Asia: Adults of the species from the latter group about which I have most information, the Indian (or ‘Malabar’] Giant Squirrel, reach lengths of around 28-42 inches, although normally with over half of that consisting just of [fluffy] tail, but rarely if ever exceed five pounds in weight. They are tree-dwellers, and are capable for leaping 20 feet or so between branches.

Others (under work)

The internal classification of this family has recently been undergoing significant reorganization in RL, and I’m still sorting out how the IDU’s endemic species fit into the pattern, so no scientific names here yet…

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Post by Bears Armed » Mon Oct 14, 2019 7:19 pm

Mammals: Lagomorpha

On the RL Earth this order has two surviving families, the Leporidae, which contains the Rabbits & Hares (rabbits use burrows for shelter, and give birth to their [“blind”] young underground; hares rely on their speed for safety, and give birth aboveground to fewer [on average] but more-developed young whose eyes are already open), and the Ochotonidae, which contains the Pikas (smaller than rabbits or hares, living in colonies in upland areas, and storing “hay” for their winter fodder). Another family, the Prolagidae, only became extinct in historical times with its latest-surviving species — the ‘Sardinian Pika’ — apparently lasting into the 18th century AD.
The IDU has all three of those families, and more besides: Lagomorphs arrived or initially evolved here in what is now Malabra while that was still an island, and in the absence at that stage of either Rodents or Ungulates they were able to diversify so that they filled a wider range of ecological niches some of which they have managed successfully to continue occupying into the present day. Only two families, however, are likely to have expanded far enough into the southern continent to reach this nation.

Leporidae
There almost certainly “should” be one or more species of Hare present here, in the more open habitats, and it is possible that the western side’s forests & scrublands might house one or more species of Rabbit as well.


Notoavauridae*
This family is endemic to the southern continent, although it has relatives that fill similar roles in the north as well. Its name, which means ‘Southern Miser’ and comes from the name of the genus Notoavarus, refers to its members’ possession of cheek-pouches which they use for collecting the seeds that are their main food and also to their habit of caching food supplies for use at times when less fresh food is available. There are two subfamilies, both of which could have members native to this nation: The Notoavuarinae walk on all fours, burrow for shelter, and store their spare food in chambers within those burrows, whereas the Heteroavaurinae frequently walk or run — or even jump — using just their hind legs, live on the surface, and cache their spare food in multiple relatively shallow pits which they then cover over. All of these animals are smaller than rabbits & hares (Reasonably close RL equivalents would be Hamsters in the first place, and North America’s ‘Kangaroo Mice’ & ‘Kangaroo Rats’ for the second type.)

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Post by Bears Armed » Mon Oct 14, 2019 7:19 pm

Mammals: other ‘Eutheria’

1.) From the order (†) Anagalida, one family could have one or two species native to this nation. This order formerly existed on RL Earth as well, but seems to have become extinct in that ‘Reality’ quite early on during the “Age of Mammals”. Its closest living relatives are the Rodents and the Lagomorphs, although those other two orders are more closely related to each other than they are to this one. It is another group whose arrival or initial evolution in the IDU’s world occurred on the then-isolated ‘Malabra’ and that took advantage of the low level of competition from other Eutherians there to diversify into a wider range of ecological niches than its RL members managed to occupy. Four families still survive in & around Malabra today, although two of those have seen their ranges considerably reduced during the last two million or so years, but only one of these — which happens also to be one of the pair that are still reasonably successful on that side of the sea — has spread onto the southern continent as well.

Erinaceovenatoridae
The name of this family means “Hedgehog-hunters”, but instead of referring to their diet it refers to their form & lifestyle: They quite closely resemble RL’s spiny ‘Hedgehogs’ in general appearance, range of sizes, typical diet, and — except for the fact that they sometimes excavate burrows for shelter — habits. (The IDU’s northern continent has “real” hedgehogs too, with a wider range than these, but they have never entered the southern continent…) From the RL hedgehogs’ traditional alternative name [in England] of ‘Urchins’, I propose that we give these local substitutes for them the common name of ’Urchlings. Those on the southern continent all belong to a specific tribe, which can be distinguished from the others not only genetically but also because the third & fourth toes on each of their feet have fused into a single stronger digit. (Name for this tribe to follow…)
They are probably descended from something very like the RL fossil genus Anagale, which lived in what is now China, whose members were basically rabbit-shaped (although with longer tails) but seem to have fed on worms & insects that they dug up from underground.


(under work)

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Post by Bears Armed » Mon Oct 14, 2019 7:19 pm

Mammals: Marsupials and “primitive” types

Metatheria: Marsupialia

1.) Order = Boreodidelphiformes.
The name of this order means “Northern opossum-shaped (animals)”, and is derived from the name of one of its member families — the ‘Boreodidelphidae’ — for whose various species it is a simple but accurate description (and which is derived in turn from the name of its main genus, ‘Boreodidelphis’). It is endemic to the IDU (where it is found on both continents) nowadays, but two families of opossum-like marsupials that survived in RL Earth’s Eurasia and North America until as recently as the Miocene epoch (over halfway from the end of the “Age of Dinosaurs” to the present day…) might also belong alongside its Iduvian groups. The following families have members native to this nation:

Notodidelphidae
The name of this family means “Southern Opossums”, and is derived from the name of its main genus ‘Notodidelphis’. It is this continent’s endemic counterpart of the north’s ‘Boreodidelphidae’. Its members are mainly of the “basic” opossum type, (unless you want to suggest any ‘plausible’ variations], and can be found in a wide range of habitats. Most if not all of them can climb quite well, and [at least] some species have prehensile tails to help with this.

Arborididelphidae
This family is also endemic to this continent, and is a sister-group to the one described just above. Its name means “Tree Opossums”, and all of its species are highly arboreal in lifestyle: They all possess prehensile tails, which in [at least] some species are strong enough to support their full weights for quite some time without any problems. Although most common in rain-forests and ‘tropical evergreen’ forest they may also be found in ‘tropical seasonal’ forest (where they might sleep, in holes in trees, through the “dry season”) too.

Pterodidelphidae
This is a family of “flying” opossums, which glide using flaps of skin that stretch between their limbs & body (‘patagia’ is the technical term) like RL Australia’s ‘Flying Phalangers’ and ‘Sugar Glider’. They are a sister-group to the northern continent’s family of ‘Tree Opossums’, with these two families together forming one of this order’s two currently-recognized suborders (the other of which contains the two families described above and four more — including the ‘Boreodidelphidae’ — that are endemic to the northern continent instead). Its subfamily ‘Pterodidelphinae’ contains two tribes, both of which are also endemic to the northern continent, but members of the subfamily ‘Notopterinae’ could be found in this nation. The tribe ‘Notopterini’ (which is endemic to this continent) contains omnivorous or insectivorous species, which could occur in any reasonably well-wooded habitat, while the tribe ‘Melissapterini’ (which probably originated on this continent, but can now also be found in some lands near its neighbour’s south-eastern corner as well) feed largely on nectar & pollen like the ‘Pygmy Possums’ of RL Australasia although they bear a greater physical resemblance to that same region’s sap-feeding specialists the ‘Sugar Gliders’ instead, and would be restricted to rainforest or ‘tropical evergeeen’ forest.


2.) From the order Formicitheria, whose name means “Ant-beasts” and refers to their diet, and which is endemic to the IDU (with some members in the northern continent’s more “jungle-y” areas, in addition to the more widespread ones on this continent), the following family has at least one species native to this nation:

Formicitheriidae
This family’s members are all ant-eaters, and have evolved “the usual” adaptations for that role: A long snout housing a long & sticky tongue, closeable nostrils, and powerful claws on their forepaws for opening the nest of ants & termites. They are all tree-dwellers, feeding only on ants & termites whose nests are also up in the trees, and have prehensile tails to help them with this lifestyle. Look at RL South America’s (non-Marsupial) ‘Tamandua’ & ‘Silky Anteater’ to get a general idea of their general form & lifestyle. There could be one or more species (differing from each other in size, preferred diet, preferred altitude, or whatever…) living in this nation’s rainforests, and possibly also — although this might be less likely — in the ‘tropical evergreen’ forests along the west coast.


3.) From the order Quadriprotodonta, whose name means “(Animals with) Four front teeth” and refers to the fact that unlike the herbivorous marsupials of RL Australia they have four rather than just two sets of incisors, the following families have species native to this nation:

Tardiscansoridae
This family’s name means “Slow Climbers” (No, nothing at all to do with Doctor Who…), and its members are basically marsupial equivalents of RL South America’s tree-dwelling Sloths. They are found in parts of the other continent’s south-eastern corner, as well as on this one. There could be one or more species living in this nation’s rainforests, and maybe another one in the ‘tropical evergreen’ forests along the west coast. My suggested English name for them is ‘Slowths’.

Menthoscansoride” ?
(My name for this family is not yet finalised...)
This family, which is endemic to this continent alone, is a sister-group to the family described above. Its members feed solely on the leaves of trees from the ‘Mint-tree’ family, which is endemic to this continent. As those trees are found only in seasonal and “dry” forests these animals sometimes have to walk across the ground between trees and consequently have not become [quite] as slow or clumsy as their jungle-living relatives. The trees protect themselves from insects and other herbivores by secreting a rather ‘mint’-like substance which most of those potential threats find nauseous even though it isn’t actually toxic to all of them, but this particular family’s members have evolved a greater tolerance of it and even concentrate it in their own tissues to deter predators!
I don’t yet have an English name for these animals.
(I still need to decide for certain about this family’s names and its members’ appearance, but they’re probably quite similar in size & general form — as well as in lifestyle — to RL Australia’s ’Koala’. I got the ‘Mint-trees’ idea from the facts that (a) I needed something rather like the Eucalyptus on which Koalas feed to explain why these animals haven’t been out-competed by rodents or primates or other ‘placental mammals; and (b) Mint and eucalyptus are combined in some RL cough sweets. ^_^ )

________________________________________


Metatheria: Deltatheroida
(This group formerly existed in RL, too, but seems to have become extinct there around — or at — the time of the ‘K-Pg Event’ that killed-off the [“non-Avian”] Dinosaurs, Pterosaurs, Mosasaurs, Plesiosaurs, and various other groups as well.

4.) From the order Deltatherida, whose name refers to the triangular shape of their premolar & molar teeth (which are basically specialised for carnivorous diets), the following families — both of which are endemic to this continent, and never existed on RL Earth — have members native to this nation:


Deltasoricoididae
These are basically ‘Marsupial Shrews’, feeding on invertebrates at ground level. “Real” shrews are a fairly new arrival on this continent, and might not yet have expanded this far... or, at least, might not yet have displaced these rivals from some of the habitats (with ‘Tropical Rainforest’ being the most likely exception) here.


Deltadesmanidae
These are larger on average than members of the family described above (smallest = ‘water shrew’-sized, largest = ‘duck-billed platypus-sized’, more or less…), and hunt in freshwater (from mountain streams to the quieter sections of lowland rivers, and in lakes as well) although they are rare in the lowland tropical rainforest’s waters because those contain too many potential threats to their lives.


________________________________________________________________________________



Eusymmetrodonta

5.) From the order Spalacotheriida, which formerly existed in RL as well but also seems to have become extinct there around — or at — the time of the ‘K-Pg Event’ (unless one species currently only known from a single fossil that dates from the later [or 'Upper'] part of the following Palaeocene epoch belonged to it, which is quite likely but not yet considered definite…), the following family (which has never occurred anywhere except on this continent) has at least one species native to this nation:

Pseudotalpidae

‘False Moles’, filling ecological niches comparable to RL’s “real” Moles (and perhaps also, if wide enough areas of sandy soil exist around here, the roles filled by ‘Golden Moles’ in RL Africa and ‘Marsupial Moles’ in RL Australia) which have not yet reached this continent. My suggested [shorter] English name for them is ‘Noles’, as a contraction of “not really Moles”.
I’ve already posted something about them in this forum a while back (viewtopic.php?p=17925#p17925), and that material only needs a few minor changes to fit my current thoughts on the matter.

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Post by Bears Armed » Mon Oct 14, 2019 7:20 pm

Birds: ‘Passeriformes’

(under work)

The roles filled by Hummingbirds in the RL Americas and by Sunbirds in the RL ‘Old World’ are filled by an endemic family the (namely the ‘Nectarimulgidae’, or “Buzzbirds”, which are from the order Passeriformes [or ‘perching birds’] like the Sunbirds) instead. There seems no reason why those shouldn’t be as colourful as the RL hummingbirds…

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Post by Bears Armed » Mon Oct 14, 2019 7:21 pm

Birds: non-‘Passeriformes’ (I)

Order: Coliformes

Colidae
= Mousebirds.
At least one species, in the "drier" forests & scrub.
Probably main seed-dispersal agent for the Mint-Trees.
Possibly curious about Human activity.


(SUGGESTED)
Order: Strigiformes.

Falcostrigidae *
This family contains the ‘Falcon-Owlets’ and [probably extinct] Falcon-Owls.
Its taxonomic position relative to the Order's two "main" [i.e. also existing in currently in RL] families, Strigidae & Tytonidae, has not yet been resolved.
This is a fairly “ancient” lineage, with fossils from at least the Oligocene epoch and possibly even the Upper Eocene. Its early members evolved, in the absence of Falcons from this region at that time, to fill “Falcon-like” ecological roles. Today, although the larger species have been rendered extinct due to competition from falcons (and hawks, too?), a number of species from the smaller ‘Falcon-Owlet’ group (usually classified as a ‘Subfamily: Falcostrigulinae’) still survive on this continent. They live & hunt mainly in the rainforests and other non-‘seasonal’ forests, mainly in daytime, because their specialised eyes give them an advantage in the relatively low levels of illumination that are typical — even in daytime — under the closed canopy there. Their prey consists mainly of small birds and large insects, which they take in the air or from branches rather than on the ground, and their wings have become better for speedy flight than those of “typical” owls but at the cost of reduced ‘silent flight’ capability. There is also one mainly-nocturnal genus, ‘Melanostrigulus’, which preys largely on bats: Its members have hearing optimised for detecting their targets’ echo-location cries, and at least one species is apparently capable of emitting ‘screeches’ of its own at a high enough pitch to interfere with those cries as well.



(under work)

__________________________________________

Flamingos could live there, given the existence of suitable lakes or lagoons in which to feed and to breed.

Order Trogoniformes: one or more members in this nation’s forests? (very colourful!)

Order Coraciiformes: Kingfishers, Rollers, Bee-eaters. (all very colourful!)

including (SUGGESTED)
'Violet Roller'

Oh, and probably parrots — or parakeets, at least — have found their way in by now, either directly from Asia or via some other part of the IDU, as well.


RL Earth has a single species of Osprey, or ‘Fish—Hawk’, belonging to the family Pandionidae and order Acciptriformes, which is found on all of the continents apart from Antarctica. The same situation applies on the IDU’s Earth, although with a separate [but closely-related] species of our own, and as suitable conditions exist in this nation I would expect to see it here. The genus name is Pandion, as for the RL species, but I’m still searching my notes for the exact name that I remember having given to the Iduvian one…

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Post by Bears Armed » Mon Oct 14, 2019 7:21 pm

Birds: non-‘Passeriformes’ (II)

The migration of fauna into this continent from southern Asia means that members of the Pheasant family, quite possibly including at least one species of ‘Jungle Fowl’ (the group from which domestic chickens were developed) would be among the reasonable possibilities.


The scientific name for the ‘Bustrich’ is ‘Struthiotis summerleei’, meaning “Summerlee’s Ostrich-bustard”, to commemorate a renowned [Human] zoologist who did some work in this general area (but who did not himself choose this name for the bird…). The continent-endemic family within which it belongs is the Struthiotidae, which contains only this one genus today — although there are probably a few others described IC (or potentially to be described IC, eventually, anyway) from fossils as well — but with several species inside this. This is a sister-group to the family Otidae, containing the Bustards themselves, which was quite recently recognised [in RL] as being more closely related to the Cuckoos than — as had previously been thought — to the Cranes and was therefore moved out of the Cranes’ order ‘Gruiformes’ into a separate Otidiformes instead.
The Bustrich is slightly smaller than an Ostrich in size, typically, but larger than a Rhea: Adult males tend to be larger than adult females, by maybe 25% in height & length and up to 50% in weight. Their plumage is a mottled brown, significantly lighter on the neck, chest, & underside, with the ‘contrast’ greater (within the mottling itself, as well as between that part of the plumage section and the paler ones) in adult males than in females or young. Although they cannot fly they still retain stubby wings, which are used in displays by the males and to shelter their young from excessive sunshine by brooding females: Possibly the young use them for assistance in propulsion when running up slopes, too. They have three toes on each foot, two in front and one behind, and normally walk or stand using all three but may rise onto just the front pair when running at speed. Their diet consist mainly of seeds and some fruit, lizards and sometimes snakes, large insects, and very occasionally small mammals as well. They may follow herds of grazing mammals around, to exploit prey startled into the open by those, just as Ostriches do. The females do most of the work in incubating their eggs, although the males commonly also take shorter turns and will often stand guard nearby at other times as well. The form of “colonial” incubation seen in Ostriches is not practiced by these birds, but several pairs will often nest quite closely together in order to benefit from each other’s alertness to the presence of possible predators: There is some evidence that this is more likely to occur where the females are siblings.


The main reasons why I want our ‘secretary-bird/seriema equivalent to be related to cranes rather than [also] to bustards are that (1) I want this continent’s prehistoric fauna to have included a now-extinct lineage of ‘Terror Cranes’, rather like those of RL South America in form & function, and although the RL ones are now recognised as being not members of the “true” Cranes’ own order (having been moved, along with the related Seriemas, into a newly-erected order that is more closely related to the Falcons, Parrots, & Passerines…) deriving their counterparts here from a crane-like bird looks easier than doing so from a bustard-like one; and (2) given the name ‘Terror Cranes’, I thought that it would be nice if this lineage really was related to the “true” Cranes after all.
(I could have used certain prehistoric relatives of the RL “true” Cranes as ancestors for our ‘Ostrich’ equivalent, too, but only found out about those after I had already placed Bustriches on my list of the region’s possible birds… Possibly we have those, or at least had them in prehistory, on the northern continent instead…)
I am giving our ‘Secretary-bird’ equivalent the colloquial name of ‘Inspector-bird’, because of the way in which it seems to peer intently at the ground as it walks along foraging… “Specter” for short. The Latin name for its genus will be ‘Invigilator’, if that is available which I still need to check. Its scientific name is Invigilator ambulans (which translates [loosely] into English as “Walking Inspector”…).


‘Turquoise-Crowned Crane’: So the crown feathers are blue enough to show up reasonably well against [most] vegetation, but green enough to show up reasonably well [usually] against the daytime sky, okay. I don’t know the Latin word for “Turquoise” itself — if there even is one — so am giving this species the scientific name ‘Balearica cyanea’ which hopefully conveys the meaning well enough… Okay?

(under work)

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Post by Bears Armed » Mon Oct 14, 2019 7:22 pm

Reptiles

(under work)

Monitor Lizards (agreed)

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Amphibians

(under work)

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Post by Bears Armed » Mon Oct 14, 2019 7:22 pm

Fish


Lungfish, 1 species, in the western plains' marsh/swamp area [color=gray(Agreed)[/color]
(under work)

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Post by Bears Armed » Mon Oct 14, 2019 7:23 pm

Insects

Among many others _

Wasps, including members of the family whose species have specialized to pollinate all the various species of Fig tree (those trees being an important element in tropical forests....)

The butterfly-like Kalligrammatid Lacewings (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalligrammatidae), extinct in RL, whose adults would feed on & pollinate the continent's endemic 'Mint-Trees'.

Termites (actually the main diet for some of the specialized "ant-eating" animals...)


(under work)

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Post by Bears Armed » Mon Oct 14, 2019 7:24 pm

Other 'Invertebrates'

(under work)

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Post by Bears Armed » Mon Oct 14, 2019 7:25 pm

Angiosperms
(as trees & shrubs)



Magnolids

‘Mint-Trees’, which are endemic to this continent (see the section on Marsupials, above). They comprise the full membership of the family Menthodendriaceae, which is in the order 'Laurales'.

Monocots

Bamboo, especially in the 'scrub belt' near the upper levels of the mountains' eastern side.
Coconut Palm (probably introduced deliberately into another nation, and then spread under its own power from there...)


Eudicots

Fig Trees of various species, as an important component in the flora of the tropical forests.

(under work)


(as non-woody plants)

Monocots

various Grasses, of course

Eudicots

Giant Heather

Giant Stinging Nettles

____________________________________________

'Sea-grasses' aren’t really grasses, they’re another branch of the flowering plants (in this case relying on water to carry their pollen, and thus having only simple flowers) instead: They provide food for herbivorous molluscs and fish, sea turtles, and the IDU’s endemic ‘Water-Horses’

(under work)

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Bears Armed
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Post by Bears Armed » Mon Oct 14, 2019 7:26 pm

Gymnosperms

Conifers of various types, of course
Cycads, too

And possibly one group whose last RL members probably died out around the time of the K-PG Event, plus or minus a few million years, to support a particular family of pollinating Insects (google the Kalligrammatidae…) that I like the look of, as well?

(under work)

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Post by Bears Armed » Mon Oct 14, 2019 7:26 pm

Other ‘Land Plants’

Ferns, of course, and as the type called Bracken exists (as a set of closely-related species) on all the RL Earth’s continents except for Antarctica we almost certainly have one or more on this continent — whose range could extend into parts of this nation, most probably in the western foothills of the mountains — as well.
Tree-Ferns would be a possibility in the moister areas of forest, and should do particularly well in the ‘cloud forest’ along the mountains’ eastern slopes.

Mosses, Hornworts, and Liverworts, as well, particularly obvious [also] in the 'cloud forest'.

(under work)

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Post by Bears Armed » Mon Oct 14, 2019 7:27 pm

“Algae”

(under work)

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Post by Bears Armed » Mon Oct 14, 2019 7:27 pm

Fungi

(under work)

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Post by Bears Armed » Mon Oct 14, 2019 7:28 pm

Organisms of other types

(under work)

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Ecosystems notes

Post by United New England » Tue Oct 15, 2019 6:10 am

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Seas,

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Ecosystems notes

Post by Bears Armed » Tue Oct 15, 2019 7:02 pm

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western coast,

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