Australia and Tasmania possess two animals of this order - the echidna, or spiny ant-eater (hairy in Tasmania), and the Platypus anatinus, the duckbilled water mole, otherwise named the Ornithorhynchus paradoxus.
British salt marshes furnish few instances of spiny plants, though such occur occasionally on the inland salt marshesof continental districts.
For example, the grub of a pea or bean beetle (Bruchus) is hatched, from the egg laid by its mother on the carpel of a leguminous flower, with three pairs of legs and spiny processes on the prothorax.
The larvae have soft-skinned bodies sometimes protected by rows of spiny tubercles, the legs being fairly developed in some families and greatly segments to the foot, but there are really five, the fourth being greatly reduced.
Shell with moderately long spire and canal, ornamented with ribs, often spiny; foot truncated anteriorly.
Several of them, such as Echinomys and Loncheres, are rat-like creatures with spiny or bristly fur (see Rodentia) .
Giant cacti and spiny scrub abound.
But, on the ground of their air-bladder being closed, or deprived of a pneumatic duct communicating with the digestive canal, such as is characteristic of the Malacopterygians, they were removed from them and placed with the flat-fishes, or Pleuronectidae, in a suborder Anacanthini, regarded as intermediate in position between the Acanthopterygians, or spiny-finned fishes, and the Malacopterygians.
SPINY SQUIRREL, a book-name for a group of African ground squirrels, characterized by the spiny nature of the fur of the more typical forms. They form the genus Xerus, which is split up into a number of subgenera; Xerus rutilus of Abyssinia and East Africa belonging to the typical group, while the striped North African X.
The more typical species are characterized by the coarse spiny hair, the small size, or even absence of the ears, and the long, nearly straight, claws.
Typical spiny squirrels differ from true squirrels in being completely terrestrial in their habits, and live either in clefts or holes of rocks, or in burrows which they dig themselves.
The leaves are generally lance-shaped with a sharp apex and a spiny margin; but vary in colour from grey to bright green, and are sometimes striped or mottled.
They are succeeded by succulent fruits, which are exserted, and frequently scaly or spiny, in which respects this genus differs both from Melocactus and Mammillaria, which have the fruits immersed and smooth.
The margins of these leaf-like branches are more or less crenately notched, the notches representing buds, as do the spine-clusters in the spiny genera; and from these crenatures the large showy flowers are produced.
Another species, Acanthus spinosus, is so called from its spiny leaves.
High, of flowers with spiny bracts.
Spinosissimus have narrower, spiny toothed leaves.
That they are essential is evident from the circumstance that the African spiny squirrels Xerus (see SPINY SQUIRREL) come between Sciurus and some of the other African genera.
PORCUPINE (Fr., pore-epic, "spiny pig"), the name of the largest European representative of the terrestrial rodent mammals, distinguished by the spiny covering from which it takes its name.
The enlarged spiny scales scattered over the back look as if it were sprinkled with the dried husks of seeds.
Its fruit, called " tuna " by the natives, is refreshing and wholesome and is a staple food in spite of its spiny covering.
It is the northernmost home of the armadillo, ocelot, jaguar, red and grey cats, and the spiny pocket mouse, and in southern Texas especially it is visited by several species of tropical birds.
Spondylus; shell with spiny ribs, adherent by the spines.
The legs are stout and spiny, and well adapted for clinging to the hair or feathers of the host animal.
In Assam there is a small spiny hare (Caprolagus hispidus), with the habits of a rabbit; and an allied species (Nesolagus nitscheri) inhabits Sumatra, and a third (Pentalagus furnessi) the Liu-kiu Islands.
The fur varies exceedingly in character, - in some, like the chinchillas and hares, being fine and soft, while in others it is more or less replaced by spines on the upper surface, as in spiny rats and porcupines; these spines in several genera, as Xerus, Acomys, Platacanthomys, Echinothrix, Loncheres and Echinomys, being flattened.
In Xerus itself, which is represented by the terrestrial African spiny squirrels, the ears are short, there are only two teats, and flat spines are mingled with the fur; while the skull, and more especially the frontals, is elongated, with a very short post-orbital process, and the crowns of the molars are taller than usual (see Spiny Squirrel).
A distinct sub-family, Lophiomyinae, is represented by the Central African arboreal spiny rats, Lophiomys, of which there are two or three species.
- African Spiny Rat (Lophiomys imhausi).
The spiny mice, Acornys (or Acanthomys), of Western Asia, Cyprus and Africa, take their name from the fur being almost entirely replaced by flattened spines, and are further distinguished by the rudimentary coronoid process of the lower jaw.
Blyth long ago proposed the name Caprolagus for the remarkable spiny rabbit of the western Himalayas, while the generic name Oryctolagus was suggested later for the rabbit, and Sylvilagus for the American "cotton-tails"; but none of these was accorded general acceptation.
In 1899 Dr Forsyth Major proposed a classification of the family in which a number of species were grouped with the spiny rabbit in the genus Caprolagus, whilst Oryctolagus was taken to include not only the common rabbit, but likewise the Cape hare.
Netscheri, which apparently differs from the spiny rabbit mainly by the pattern of the cheekteeth.
The spiny rabbit, separated from Lepus by Blyth in 1845 under the name of Caprolagus hispidus, is an inhabitant of Assam and the adjacent districts, and distinguished by its harsh, bristly fur and short ears and tail.
Myriophylla have pretty spiny heads of flowers.
Spinosissimus have narrower spiny toothed leaves.
The hardening of the extremities of the fibro-vascular tissue is the cause of the spiny margin of many leaves, such as the holly, of the sharp-pointed leaves of madder, and of mucronate leaves, or those having a blunt end with a hard projection in the centre.
At the base of the leaf the spiny stipules are seen.
To the same cause is due the spiny margin of the holly-leaf.
But the way in which they usually diverge just over and in front of the eye has suggested the more probable idea, that they serve to guard these organs from thorns and spines while hunting for fallen fruits among the tangled thickets of rattans and other spiny plants.
In the low brushwood scattered over portions of the dreary plains of the Kandahar table-lands, we find leguminous thorny plants of the papilionaceous sub-order, such as camel-thorn (Hedysarum Alhagi), Astragalus in several varieties, spiny rest-harrow (Ononis spinosa), the fibrous roots of which often serve as a tooth-brush; plants of the sub-order Mimosae, as the sensitive mimosa; a plant of the rue family, called by the natives lipdtd; the common wormwood; also certain orchids, and several species of Salsola.
The plants have a large rosette of thick fleshy leaves generally ending in a sharp point and with a spiny margin; the stout stem is usually short, the leaves apparently springing from the root.
Spiny Squirrel >>
The branches are numerous and in some species spiny; the narrow, often short, leaf-blade is usually jointed at the base and has a short stalk, by which it is attached to the long sheath.
Alhagi manna (Persian and Arabic tar-angubin, also known as terendschabin) is the produce of Alhagi maurorum, a small, spiny, leguminous plant, growing in Arabia, Asia Minor, Persia, Afghanistan, Baluchistan and northern India.
The leaf-margins are often spiny, and the leaf-spines of Puya chilensis are used by the natives as fish-hooks.
In some bamboos they are very numerous from the lower nodes of the erect culms, and pass downwards to the soil, whilst those from the upper nodes shrivel up and form circles of spiny fibres.
12) these become consolidated, and the inner ones flattened so as to form a very hard globular spiny case to the spikelets.
In Cenchrus the bristles unite to form a tough spiny capsule fig.
Though usually more or less cylindrical or circular in section, hairs are often elliptical or flattened, as in the curly-haired races of men, the terminal portion of the hair of moles and shrews, and conspicuously in the spines of the spiny squirrels of the genus Xerus and those of the mouse-like Platacanthomys.