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blown to Charles Island, which has its own mockingthrush; why should it succeed in establishing itself there? We may safely infer that Charles Island is well stocked with its own species, for annually more eggs are laid and young birds hatched, than can possibly be reared; and we may infer that the mocking-thrush peculiar to Charles's Island is at least as well fitted for its home as is the species peculiar to Chatham Island. Sir C. Lyell and Mr. Wollaston have communicated to me a remarkable fact bearing on this subject; namely, that Madeira and the adjoining islet of Porto Santo possess many distinct but representative species of landshells, some of which live in crevices of stone; and although large quantities of stone are annually transported from Porto Santo to Madeira, yet this latter island has not become colonised by the Porto Santo species; nevertheless both islands have been colonised by European land-shells, which no doubt had some advantage over the indigenous species. From these considerations I think we need not greatly marvel at the endemic species which inhabit the several islands of the Galapagos Archipelago, not having all spread from island to island. On the same continent, also, preoccupation has probably played an important part in checking the commingling of the species which inhabit different districts with nearly the same physical conditions. Thus, the south-east and south-west corners of Australia have nearly the same physical conditions, and are united by continuous land, yet they are inhabited by a vast number of distinct mammals, birds, and plants; so it is, according to Mr. Bates, with the butterflies and other animals inhabiting the great, open, and continuous valley of the Amazons.
The same principle which governs the general character of the inhabitants of oceanic islands, namely, the relation to the source whence colonists could have been most easily derived, together with their subsequent modification, is of the widest application throughout nature. We see this on every mountain-summit, in every lake and marsh. For Alpine species, excepting in as far as the same species have become widely spread during the Glacial epoch, are related to those of the surrounding lowlands; thus we have in South America, Alpine humming-birds, Alpine rodents, Alpine plants, &c., all strictly belonging to American forms; and it is obvious that a mountain, as it became slowly upheaved, would be colonised from the surrounding lowlands. So it is with the inhabitants of lakes and marshes, excepting in so far as great facility of transport has allowed the same forms to prevail throughout large portions of the world. We see this same principle in the character of most of the blind animals inhabiting the caves of America and of Europe. Other analogous facts could be given. It will, I believe, be found universally true, that wherever in two regions, let them be ever so distant, many closely allied or representative species occur, there will likewise be found some identical species; and wherever many closely-allied species occur, there will be found many forms which some naturalists rank as distinct species, and others as mere varieties; these doubtful forms showing us the steps in the progress of modification.
The relation between the power and extent of migration in certain species, either at the present or at some former period, and the existence at remote points of the world of closely-allied species, is shown in an
other and more general way. Mr. Gould remarked to me long ago, that in those genera of birds which range over the world, many of the species have very wide ranges. I can hardly doubt that this rule is generally true, though difficult of proof. Amongst mammals, we see it strikingly displayed in Bats, and in a lesser degree in the Felidæ and Canidæ. We see the same rule in the distribution of butterflies and beetles. So it is with most of the inhabitants of fresh water, for many of the genera in the most distinct classes range over the world, and many of the species have enormous ranges. It is not meant that all, but that some of the species have very wide ranges in the genera which range very widely. Nor is it meant that the species in such genera have on an average a very wide range; for this will largely depend on how far the process of modification has gone; for instance, two varieties of the same species inhabit America and Europe, and thus the species has an immense range; but, if variation were to be carried a little further, the two varieties would be ranked as distinct species, and their range would be greatly reduced. Still less is it meant, that species which have the capacity of crossing barriers and ranging widely, as in the case of certain powerfullywinged birds, will necessarily range widely; for we should never forget that to range widely implies not only the power of crossing barriers, but the more important power of being victorious in distant lands in the struggle for life with foreign associates. But according to the view that all the species of a genus, though distributed to the most remote points of the world, are descended from a single progenitor, we ought to find, and I believe as a general rule we
do find, that some at least of the species range very widely.
We should bear in mind that many genera in all classes are of ancient origin, and the species in this case will have had ample time for dispersal and subsequent modification. There is also reason to believe from geological evidence, that within each great class the lower organisms change at a slower rate than the higher; consequently they will have had a better chance of ranging widely and of still retaining the same specific character. This fact, together with that of the seeds and eggs of most lowly organised forms being very minute and better fitted for distant transportal, probably accounts for a law which has long been observed, and which has lately been discussed by Alph. de Candolle in regard to plants, namely, that the lower any group of organisms stands the more widely it ranges.
The relations just discussed,-namely, lower organisms ranging more widely than the higher, some of the species of widely-ranging genera themselves ranging widely,—such facts, as alpine, lacustrine, and marsh productions being generally related to those which live on the surrounding low lands and dry lands,—the striking relationship between the inhabitants of islands and those of the nearest mainland—the still closer relationship of the distinct inhabitants of the islands in the same archipelago—are inexplicable on the ordinary view of the independent creation of each species, but are explicable if we admit colonisation from the nearest or readiest source, together with the subsequent adaptation of the colonists to their new homes.
Summary of the last and present Chapters.
In these chapters I have endeavoured to show, that if we make due allowance for our ignorance of the full effects of changes of climate and of the level of the land, which have certainly occurred within the recent period, and of other changes which have probably occurred, if we remember how ignorant we are with respect to the many curious means of occasional transport,-if we bear in mind, and this is a very important consideration, how often a species may have ranged continuously over a wide area, and then have become extinct in the intermediate tracts,--the difficulty is not insuperable in believing that all the individuals of the same species, wherever found, are descended from common parents. And we are led to this conclusion, which has been arrived at by many naturalists under the designation of single centres of creation, by various general considerations, more especially from the importance of barriers of all kinds, and from the analogical distribution of sub-genera, genera, and families.
With respect to distinct species belonging to the same genus, which on our theory have spread from one parent-source; if we make the same allowances as before for our ignorance, and remember that some forms of life have changed very slowly, enormous periods of time having been thus granted for their migration, the difficulties are far from insuperable; though in this case, as in that of the individuals of the same species, they are often great.
As exemplifying the effects of climatal changes on distribution, I have attempted to show how important a part the last Glacial period has played, which affected