Fauna of Oriental Region


This region includes Indian subcontinent, southern China south of 30o latitude, Malaya, Philippines and Indonesian islands up to Wallace’s Line. There are rainforests in the east, high mountains in the north and the western part is arid. Along the south-western coast there is a forested low mountainous belt.

Mammals. There are 30 families of mammals out of which 5 are endemic that include Cynocephalus (=Galeopithecus), which is called Calugo, a gliding mammal with furred membrane stretched between fore limb and hind limb. Tree shrews (Tupaiidae) and arboreal tarsiers (Tarsiidae) of Philippines are restricted primates. Spiny dormouse is arboreal rodent.

Twenty five percent of the fauna is shared with Africa that includes, old world monkeys, lorises, apes (Gibbon and Orang-Utan), pangolin or scaly anteater (Manis), bamboo rat (Rhizomyidae), Elephant (Elephas maximus), Rhinoceros unicornis and a lion population in Gir forest.

Fauna shared with Palaearctic includes hedge hog, porcupine, civets, Lynx, hyenas, pigs, bear (Ursus arctos), red panda.

Tapir (Tapirus) found in Sumatra and Borneo is Neotropical element.

There are moles, tapirs, bears and deers which are absent in Africa.

Aves.Out of 66 families of birds 53 are eurytopic or widespread. Woodpeckers and barbets are widespread. There are also peacocks, argus pheasants, cattle egrets (Bubulcus ibis) and jungle fowl.

Sunbirds, hornbills, parrots and cuckoos and shared with Africa.

Shared with Palaearctic are pheasants.

Exclusive birds are fairy blue bird (Irena puella) which is found in Philippines where it follows troupes of monkeys to feed on insects disturbed by their movement. There are 4 genera and 14 species of leaf birds.

Whitehead’s trogon (Harpactes whiteheadi) is found in Indonesia and monkey-eating eagle is endangered species found in the dense forests of Philippines.

Reptiles. There are plenty of lizards, turtles, poisonous snakes, pythons and crocodiles. Lizards belong to Agamidae and Varanidae and include geckos, skinks, calotes, draco and chameleon. There are king cobras, common cobras, typhlops, xenopeltid snakes, uropeltid snakes and sea snakes (Hydophidae).

Crocodiles include Crocodylus porosus, C. palustris, Gavialis gangeticus.Tomistoma is found in Sumatra and Borneo. Alligator sinensis is found in southern China.

Amphibia. Frogs and toads bound. Caecilians are represented by Ichthyophis and Gegenophis found in Indo-Malayan region. Tree frogs belong to family Polypedatidae and Hylidae family is absent. Flying frog, Rhacophorus malabaricus found in Western Ghats in India. Tailed Amphibia are few and found in northern Indo-china.

Fire-bellied toads are exclusive and extend to Palaearctic range.

Fishes. Fishes are dominated by carps and catfishes (Cypriniformes). Loaches, mullets and mud-eels are exclusive to this region. One species of the Chondrostean paddlefish (Polyodon) occurs in Yangtze River of China. Another species of this group occurs in American rivers.

Fauna shows similarity with the Ethiopian Region because of their proximity and similar environmental conditions.

SUBREGIONS OF ORIENTAL REGION

1. Indian. Indian subcontinent up to the foot of Himalaya and south up to Mysore. East and Western Ghats are tropical rain forests. There are rocky hills in the central part and desert in the north-west.

Fauna is varied. Tibetan Wild Ass found in Ladakh and Himachal Pradesh. Wild Ass found in Runn of Kutch. Golden Langur (Presbytes geei) found in Assam. Indian Pangolin (Manis crassicauda) and great Indian Bustard (Ardeotis nigriceps).

2. Indo-Ceylonese. Sri Lanka and southern parts of India containing Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

Fauna includes lorises and elephants. Slender Loris (Loris tardigradus), slow loris (Nycticebus caucang), lion-tailed monkey (Macaca silenus) and giant squirrel (Ratufa macroura).

 3. Indo-Chinese. China south of 30o latitude, Burma and Thailand.

Fauna includes panda, gibbons (Hylobates), flying lemur, lynx, bear (Ursus), Chinese pangolin, red panda, snow leopard (Panthera uncia) and clouded leopard. Red-shanked douc langur is completely arboreal and endemic to Southeast Asia and Cat Ba Langur is endemic in Vietnam. There are Indo-Chinese warty pig and Javan warty pig, Sumatran and Annamite striped rabbits.

Crested Argus pheasant (Rheinardia ocellata) is endemic to Laos and Vietnam and possesses 70 inches long tail feathers, longest for any bird in the world.

Rhinoceros snake (Rhynchophis boulengeri), the green, arboreal snake and green pricklenape lizard (Acanthosaura capra) are endemic to Indo-china.

Whipping frog (Polypedates dugritei) also present.

4. Indo-Malayan. Malayan peninsula and islands of Malay Archipelago and Indonesia.

Fauna includes Orang-Utan, proboscis monkey, Malayan badger, Tupaia, gibbons, flying lemurs, tapirs and broad bills. Rhinoceros sondaicus is the lesser one-horned rhinoceros which is found in Java and Rhinoceros unicornis is found in India and Tarai regions of Nepal. Swamp deer (Cervus duvauceli).