Papuan Subregion

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Papuan Subregion


(New Guinea subregion), a subregion of the Australian zoogeographic region of the earth. It includes the island of New Guinea and the adjacent islands of Aru and Halmahera, the Bismarck Archipelago, and the Solomon Islands. Sometimes the region is expanded to include the wooded peninsulas of Arnhem Land and Cape York in northern Australia, which are more often assigned to the New Holland, or Australian, subregion.

The fauna of the Papuan subregion is diverse and is dominated by animals whose existence is associated with tropical rain forests. Characteristic mammals are monotremes (Tachyglossus and Zaglossus) and marsupials. The predominance of mountain-forest terrain excludes the possibility of the existence of large species of kangaroos, which live on plains; however, arboreal and small hare wallabies, dasyurids, bandicoots, and arboreal phalangers are typical. Higher mammals are represented only by water rats, Papuan wild boars, and numerous fruit bats. Typical birds include the large ratite birds cassowaries (six species), as well as bowerbirds and birds of paradise, which are closely related to corvids. Among parrots, black and white cockatoos are common, and among pigeons, large crowned pigeons. Kingfishers, Megapodiidae, and silvereyes are numerous and diverse. A common predatory bird is the harpy eagle. The most common reptiles are geckos and skinks. Monitors, crocodiles, and leatherback turtles are also encountered. There are numerous snakes, most of which are poisonous. Frogs are the only amphibians.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.