Natural history of Victoria : prodromus of the zoology of Victoria; or figures and descriptions of the living species of all classes of the Victorian indigenous animals /
such s3-stematic publications on the subject as might be useful and interesting to the general public, and conti'ibute to the advancement of science. As the geological and botanical investigations have abeady approached completion, and their publication is far advanced, it has been decided to now commence the publication of the thii'd branch completing the subject, namely, that of the Zoology or indigenous members of the different classes of the animal kingdom. As the Fauna is not so well known
... s not so well known as the Flora, it was a necessary preliminary to the publication to have a large number of ch'amugs made, as opportunity arose, from the living or fi'esh examples of many species of reptiles, fish, and the lower animals, which lose their natural appeai-ance shortly after death, and the true characters of many of which were consequently as yet unknown, as they had only been described fi'om preserved specimens. A Proch'omus, or preliminary issue, in the form of Decades or numbers of ten plates, each with its complete descriptive letterpress, will be pubHshed, of such illustrations as are ready, without systematic order or waiting for the completion of any one branch. The many good observers in the country will thus have the means of accurately identifying [ 3 ] PREFACE. various natural objects, tlieir observations ou which, if recorded aud sent to the National Museum, where the originals of all the figures and descriptions are preserved, will be duly acknowledged, aud will materially help in the preparation of the final systematic volume to be published for each class when it approaches completion. This first Decade gives figures and descriptions in the first three plates of three of the most dangerous of our poisonous snakes, which it is of much interest and importance for observers to be able to identify exactly when reporting the effects of their bites, or of the medical treatment, which, to be profitably discussed, must be based on an accurate determination of the species of snake referred to. The three next plates illustrate the living charactei'istics of some of our native fish. The seventh plate represents the new gigantic earthworm, five or six feet long, so abundant in the rich soils of Brandy Creek. The eighth plate is devoted to three species of day-moth, or Agarisfa, with their transformations, of which that so seriously destructive to our vineyards is discriminated from the harmless sorts, so that efforts for destruction of the one may not be wasted on the others. The last two plates show the character and metamorphosis of two species of diurnal Lepidopfera. The succeeding Decades will illustrate as many different genera as possible, and will deal first usually with species of some special interest, and of which good figures do not exist, or are not easily accessible.