Some Notes on the African Squirrels of the Genus Heliosciurus


  • Major C. M. Ingoldby R.A.M.C., F.L.S., F.Z.S.


H. gembianus Of the only species of this genus as at present restricted, inhabits the whole of Equatorial Africa. Its Iiuinerous forms are climatic phases.

It would follow from this t h a t while some forms iniglit be restricted to a de6nite single area, others would be found patchily in various and often widelyseparate areas. 'Phis proves to be the case, and the same form has been described by various names according to the particular area in which i t was discovered. So that within a relatively small area which happens to include a variety of environmental conditions, “high-rain forest,”“clearings,”“orchard bush” and other types of Savannah forest and grassland, such as Nigeria, or that area usually known as “Congo-Poko-Uele,” several races of this species occur in close proxiniity, euch of wliich races may crop of again and again

in other siinilar but perhaps distant and quite unconnected localities.

The importance of this from the point of view of systematic zoology needs no emphasis. It is perhaps not too much to hope that work on soinetliiiig like these lines will eventually throw light on the physiological basis of reaction to climatic conditions, and so on the whole question of the formation of new species.