Letter | Published:

The Antiquity of New Caledonia

Nature volume 127, pages 338339 (07 March 1931) | Download Citation



I HAVE just received from my friend M. Lucien Borland a very interesting discussion of the spider fauna of New Caledonia, with special reference to its origin.1 It is stated that M. Piroutet (1917) has published a detailed account of the stratigraphy of New Caledonia, in which it is established that the island was entirely submerged about the end of the Eocene. The spiders, which were described by Berland in 1924, if we add a few later records, number 153 species from New Caledonia and the adjacent (and faunally similar) Loyalty Islands. These include nine endemic genera, and no less than 95 endemic species. It is suggested that this fauna, or rather its ancestors, reached the island during Oligocene time. Since then, various oscillations have occurred, but the island has not been completely submerged. The close resemblance of the fauna of the Loyalty group clearly indicates connexion with New Caledonia in comparatively recent times.

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  1. 1.

    Comptes rendus Acad. Sciences, Paris, vol. 176, p. 1668. See also an account of the spiders of the loyalty Islands, Bull. Soc. Ent. France, vol. 54, p. 387; 1929.

  2. 2.

    Platyrhitida balli (Brazier) on Lord Howe Island. I am indebted to Mr. Iredale for a specimen.

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  1. University of Colorado, Boulder, Jan. 12.

    • T. D. A. COCKERELL


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