Thursday, April 24, 2014

Florida Lynx

As an author of historical fiction, I come across information that is not commonly known. The Florida Lynx is such a tidbit. While working on a proposal someone questioned about a Lynx being in Florida. Their understanding was they were more common in northern states. Now, had I put the term "Florida Lynx" how the animal is actually referred to, perhaps I wouldn't have had the question asked of me.

I share this because, one, my manuscript will include the term Florida Lynx and not simply a Lynx. Two, because I think it is something for all historical authors as well as other writers, to keep in mind what the reader may or may not assume when reading our work.

Below is an excerpt from “The Land Mammals of Pennisular Florida and the Coast Region of Georgia” ©1898 concerning the Florida Lynx.
Lynx (cervaria) Ruffus Floridanus (Raf.).
Lynx floridanus Raf., Amer. mon. mag., 1817, vol. 2, p. 46 (based on the Lynx or wild cat of Bartram).
Lynx rufus var. floridanus Baird, Mam. N. Amer., 1857, p. 91, in text. Allen, Bull. Amer. mus. nat. hist., 1893, vol. 5, p. 32, in text.
Lynx ruffus floridanus Rhoads, Proc. Acad. nat. sci. Phila., 1897, p. 32, foot-note.
Type locality. Florida.
The Florida lynx is a common animal all over Florida and extends west to Louisiana and most probably north throughout eastern Georgia. It is a matter of great regret to me that Mr. Brown failed to secure specimens of lynx in Georgia, but undoubtedly L. floridanus is the form found there.

And this tidbit comes from "Birda & Nature" ©1899
Different writers have classified several species of the American lynx, including the Texas lynx, which is found in Texas, and southern California; the Oregon lynx, which inhabits northern Oregon and Washington. There is also a Florida lynx. It is believed there is not much justification for these divisions, which Brehm says are based principally upon the different markings of the fur, and that in a general way it may be said that the specimens obtained from southern climates have shorter fur, which is more brightly colored and more distinctly spotted than-those from the northern regions; but otherwise these animals do not differ in their habits and characteristics, which are those of the lynx group in general.

And finally this description of the Florida Lynx from "Encyclopedia Metropolitana ©1845
F. Floridana, Rafin.; Florida Lynx. Smaller than the Bay Lynx; ears not tufted; coat greyish, the sides varied with yellowish brown spots, and waving black rays. Native of Florida.

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