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http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/chordata/mammalia/ Order Diprotodontia The diprotodonts, with ten families including 117 species, make up the largest order of marsupials. They can be distinguished from other metatheres because they are both syndactylous (digits two and three of the hind feet are fully fused except for the claws) and diprotodont (a single pair of incisors dominates the lower jaw, although sometimes an additional pair is present). Most diprotodonts have three pairs of incisors in their upper jaws, but this number is reduced to one pair in one family, the wombats. Diprotodonts lack lower canines. Upper canines are present, but they vary in shape from low and smooth to having many sharp, curved ridges (selenodont or lophodont). Most diprotodonts are herbivores, but some have secondarily returned to being insectivorous, and others have become specialized for feeding on sap and nectar. A number of species of diprotodonts are important economically, as a source of meat and leather, or as competitors with domestic livestock. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Literature and references cited Aplin, K. P., and M. Archer. 1987. Recent advances in marsupial systematics with a new syncretic classification. Pp. xv-lxxii in Archer, M. (ed.), Possums and Opossums: Studies in Evolution, Vol. I. Surrey Beatty and Sons PTY Limited, Chipping Norton. lxxii+400 pp. Feldhamer, G. A., L. C. Drickamer, S. H. Vessey, and J. F. Merritt. 1999. Mammalogy. Adaptation, Diversity, and Ecology. WCB McGraw-Hill, Boston. xii+563pp. Marshall, L. G. 1984. Monotremes and marsupials. Pp 59-115 in Anderson, S. and J. Knox Jones, eds, Orders and Families of Recent Mammals of the World. John Wiley and Sons, NY. xii+686 pp. Strahan, R. (ed.). 1995. Mammals of Australia. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C. 756 pp. Vaughan, T. A. 1986. Mammalogy. Third Edition. Saunders College Publishing, Fort Worth. vi+576 pp. Wilson, D. E., and D. M. Reeder. 1993. Mammal Species of the World, A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. 2nd edition. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington. xviii+1206 pp. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Click on a family below to learn more: * Acrobatidae * Burramyidae * Macropodidae * Petauridae * Phalangeridae * Phascolarctidae * Potoroidae * Pseudocheiridae * Tarsipedidae * Vombatidae ===== Acrobatidae Feathertail gliders This small family of marsupials contains two genera, each with a single species, Acrobates pygmaeus in Australia and Distoechurus pennatus in New Guinea. Acrobates is a glider and has gliding membrane running from wrist to ankle. Distoechurus has no membrane, but several aspects of the biology of this species suggest that their ancestors had a membrane and the condition in Distoechurus is due to secondary loss. Acrobatids are small, in fact, Acrobates is the world's smallest glider at 10-14 gms. Distoechurus is slightly larger, weighing around 50 gms. Both species feed primarily on nectar, and they both have long, brush-tipped tongues for retreiving nectar and pollen from flowers. They may also eat some insects. These species can be characterized as members of the Diprotodontia with long, stiff hairs on either side of tail, that give it a feather-like appearance. This may originally have been an adaptation for steering while gliding. Like other members of their order, acrobatids are syndactylous and diprotodont. The dental formula of acrobatids is 3/2, 1/0, 2-3/3, 3/3. Their molars are bunodont and quadritubercular; the upper premolars are secodont. In the past, acrobatids have been classified with the burramyids. Recent evidence suggests that they may be more closely related to Tarsipes. Technical characters ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Literature and references cited Feldhamer, G. A., L. C. Drickamer, S. H. Vessey, and J. F. Merritt. 1999. Mammalogy. Adaptation, Diversity, and Ecology. WCB McGraw-Hill, Boston. xii+563pp. Marshall, L. G. 1984. Monotremes and marsupials. Pp 59-115 in Anderson, S. and J. Knox Jones, eds, Orders and Families of Recent Mammals of the World. John Wiley and Sons, NY. xii+686 pp. Strahan, R. (ed.). 1995. Mammals of Australia. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C. 756 pp. Vaughan, T. A. 1986. Mammalogy. Third Edition. Saunders College Publishing, Fort Worth. vi+576 pp. Vaughan, T. A., J. M. Ryan, N. J. Czaplewski. 2000. Mammalogy. Fourth Edition. Saunders College Publishing, Philadelphia. vii+565pp. Wilson, D. E., and D. M. Reeder. 1993. Mammal Species of the World, A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. 2nd edition. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington. xviii+1206 pp. ==== Burramyidae Pygmy possums Pygmy possums are found in Australia and New Guinea. Five species, placed in two genera, are known. These possums are small animals, ranging from 6 gms to about 80 gms. Besides traits from their diprotodont heritage, characteristics of burramyids include a conical head with short muzzle, large eyes, and short rounded ears. Their tail is long, slender, and prehensile. They have an opposable hallux on their hind feet, and their pelage is soft, thick, and wooly. Burramyids are diprotodont, with dental formula 3/2, 1/0, 2-3/3, 3-4/3-4. The molars are quadrate and have low, smooth cusps (bunodont). The third upper premolar is bladelike or plagiaulacoid. Their well-developed pouches open anteriorly, like those of most other marsupials. Newly fertilized eggs go through a period of embryonic diapause, a common trait among diprotodonts. Burramyids are mostly insectivorous, but also feed on nectar and sometimes lizards. They are nocturnal, and arboreal or scansorial in habit. Burramys parvus, which lives at high elevations, is the only marsupial known to undergo extensive periods of hibernation. ? ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Literature and references cited Feldhamer, G. A., L. C. Drickamer, S. H. Vessey, and J. F. Merritt. 1999. Mammalogy. Adaptation, Diversity, and Ecology. WCB McGraw-Hill, Boston. xii+563pp. Marshall, L. G. 1984. Monotremes and marsupials. Pp 59-115 in Anderson, S. and J. Knox Jones, eds, Orders and Families of Recent Mammals of the World. John Wiley and Sons, NY. xii+686 pp. Strahan, R. (ed.). 1995. Mammals of Australia. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C. 756 pp. Vaughan, T. A. 1986. Mammalogy. Third Edition. Saunders College Publishing, Fort Worth. vi+576 pp. Vaughan, T. A., J. M. Ryan, N. J. Czaplewski. 2000. Mammalogy. Fourth Edition. Saunders College Publishing, Philadelphia. vii+565pp. Wilson, D. E., and D. M. Reeder. 1993. Mammal Species of the World, A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. 2nd edition. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington. xviii+1206 pp. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Species included in the Animal Diversity Web: Burramys parvus (Mountain Pygmy Possum) -t- Cercartetus caudatus (Long-Tailed Pygmy Possum) -t- Cercartetus lepidus (Little Pygmy-Possum) -t- Cercartetus nanus (Eastern Pygmy-Possum, Dormouse Possum, Possum Mouse) -t- Accounts marked with a p contain pictures, t contain narrative text (student authored), a contain anatomical still/QTVR images, and s contain digitized sound clips. ==== Macropodidae Kangaroos, wallabies, hare-wallabies, nail-tail wallabies, rock-wallabies, pademelons, quokka, swamp wallaby, tree-kangaroos, forest wallabies This is the second largest family of marsupials (after Didelphidae), with around 54 species placed in 11 genera. Macropodids are found in Australia, New Guinea, and on some nearby islands. Members of this family are of medium to large size (0.5 - 90 kg). Their posture is plantigrade. They have long, narrow hind feet and powerful hind limbs. The fourth toe of the hind foot is the longest and strongest. It lies in a line with the main limb elements and transmits the thrust of hopping (this toe is secondarily somewhat reduced in rock wallabies and tree kangaroos). The outside (fifth) toe is also large. As is true of all members of their order (and members of the order Peramelemorphia as well), macropodids are syndactylous, that is, the second and third toes are fused for most of their length, but end in separate nails that are used for grooming. The hallux is greatly reduced or (usually) absent. The tail is long and heavy in most macropodids, but it is not prehensile. Instead, it is used as a balancing or stabilizing organ. The tails of members of one group of macropodids, the nail-tail wallabies (genus Onychogalea), have a horny tip. This tip is pressed into the substrate for purchase when the animal jumps. To move fast, most members of this group use a bipedal form of hopping. The animal takes off with a push from its large and muscular hind limbs and lands on its hind feet and tail. At high sppeds (up to 50 km/h!) the tail remains off the ground and is used for balance. At slow speed, macropodids land on their forelimbs and tail, while swinging their hindlimbs forward. Curiously, they can't walk backwards. At low speeds, hopping locomotion is inefficient and expensive energetically. At high speeds, however, it is highly efficient. While a tail and hind feet specialized for hopping characterize most macropodids, a few have shorter and broader hind feet and a shorter tail than the kangaroos and wallabies. These forms include the tree-kangaroos (genus Dendrolagus), which are excellent climbers; pademelons (genus Thylogale), which often walk with a quadrupedal gait; and the relatively short-tailed quokkas (genus Setonix). Macropodids have a long and narrow skull, usually a long rostrum, and a head that seems small relative to the size of the body. The masseteric fossa on the lower jaw is deep, and a masseteric canal is present. The macropodid dental formula is 3/1, 1-0/0, 2/2, 4/4 = 32-34 (one species has additional, supernumerary molars). Macropodids have enlarged first lower incisors (diprotodont). Their second and third upper incisors lie lateral to the first (vs. behind first in other diprotodonts). This arrangement results in a continuous cutting edge at the front of the mouth. When the animals bite, the procumbent lower incisors do not meet the upper teeth; rather, they press into a tough pad on the roof of the mouth, located just posterior to the upper incisors. This arrangement is very much like that seen in bovid and cervid artiodactyls. The canines are absent or vestigial, and a substantial diastema separates incisors and cheek teeth. The pattern of tooth replacement is unusual. A young kangaroo has 2 blade-like upper premolars, which are soon shed and replaced by a third premolar (which is also blade-like). The molars erupt in succession, with the first falling out and others moving forward as the animal grows. The molars of macropodids are hypsodont, quadritubercular, and either selenodont or lophodont or a combination of the two forms Macropodids are grazers and browsers. They have a complex sacculated stomach, and the compartments serve as sites for fermentation (digestion) by microorganisms. Some species even regurgitate food for additional chewing. Most macropodids are nocturnal, while a few are diurnal or crepuscular. Macropodids have a well developed pouch that opens anteriorly. Their reproductive cycle is characterized by a period of embryonic diapause, during which the blastocyst suspends implantation and development. At times, females of most species may be supporting young of 3 litters -- one in the uterus, one residing full-time in the pouch and attached to a nipple, and the third living out of the pouch but returning to nurse. Some of the large macropodids have thrived since European colonization, while others have declined as a result of hunting, habitat destruction, and predation and competition by introduced species. A few species have been lost entirely. Technical characters ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Literature and references cited Feldhamer, G. A., L. C. Drickamer, S. H. Vessey, and J. F. Merritt. 1999. Mammalogy. Adaptation, Diversity, and Ecology. WCB McGraw-Hill, Boston. xii+563pp. Marshall, L. G. 1984. Monotremes and marsupials. Pp 59-115 in Anderson, S. and J. Knox Jones, eds, Orders and Families of Recent Mammals of the World. John Wiley and Sons, NY. xii+686 pp. Strahan, R. (ed.). 1995. Mammals of Australia. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C. 756 pp. Vaughan, T. A. 1986. Mammalogy. Third Edition. Saunders College Publishing, Fort Worth. vi+576 pp. Vaughan, T. A., J. M. Ryan, N. J. Czaplewski. 2000. Mammalogy. Fourth Edition. Saunders College Publishing, Philadelphia. vii+565pp. Wilson, D. E., and D. M. Reeder. 1993. Mammal Species of the World, A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. 2nd edition. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington. xviii+1206 pp. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Species included in the Animal Diversity Web: Dendrolagus bennettianus (Bennett's Tree-Kangaroo) -t- Dendrolagus goodfellowi (Tree Kangaroo) -t- Dendrolagus inustus -a- Dendrolagus matschiei (Matschie's Tree Kangaroo, Huon Tree Kangaroo) -t- Dorcopsis atrata -t- Macropus agilis -t- Macropus bernardus (Black Wallaroo) -t- Macropus eugenii (Tammar Wallaby) -t- Macropus fuliginosus -pt- Macropus giganteus (Gray Kangaroo) -pt- Macropus parryi -t- Macropus robustus (Euro, Wallaroo) -t- Macropus rufogriseus (Red-Necked Wallaby) -pt- Macropus rufus (Red Kangaroo) -pt- Petrogale assimilis (Allied Rock-Wallaby) -t- Petrogale brachyotis (Short-Eared Rock Wallaby) -ta- Petrogale lateralis (Black-Footed Rock-Wallaby) -t- Setonix brachyurus (Quokka) -ta- Thylogale billardierii (Tasmanian Pademelon) -t- Wallabia bicolor -t- Accounts marked with a p contain pictures, t contain narrative text (student authored ===== Petauridae Striped possum, Leadbeater's possum, and wrist-winged gliders The petaurids include the striped possum, Leadbeater's possum, and wrist-winged gliders. All told there are 10 species currently recognized, placed in 3 genera. Petaurids are found in forested areas of Australia and New Guinea. These small to medium-sized marsupials all have a dark dorsal stripe that runs from the rump to the head. Their tail is long, very furry, and prehensile. Many species have a well-developed gliding membrane that extends from the wrists to the ankles. Other species, however, lack this membrane or have only a vestige of it. Like other members of the order Diprotodontia, petuarids are syndactylous and diprotodont. Digits 1 and 2 on the forefeet are opposable to digits 3-5, and the hindfoot has a well-developed hallux. Petaurids have long, sharp, and procumbent (outwardly projecting) lower incisors. Their molars are low-crowned (bunodont) and have smooth cusps. The dental formula is 3/2, 1/0, 3/3, 4/4 = 40. The cranium has strongly developed zygomatic arches. Members of this family have a well-developed pouch, which opens anteriorly. Petaurids feed on insects and on the sap and gum of eucalypts and acacias. They obtain sap by making wounds in tree bark with incisors. One group, the dactylopsilines, have a remarkably long fourth digit on their forefeet. They forage by thumping on branches with their hands, then listening for the movement of insects inside. They open a hole with their rodent-like incisors and extract their prey with their elongated fourth finger and long tongue -- a manner of foraging very much like the primates, aye-ayes. Technical characters ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Literature and references cited Feldhamer, G. A., L. C. Drickamer, S. H. Vessey, and J. F. Merritt. 1999. Mammalogy. Adaptation, Diversity, and Ecology. WCB McGraw-Hill, Boston. xii+563pp. Marshall, L. G. 1984. Monotremes and marsupials. Pp 59-115 in Anderson, S. and J. Knox Jones, eds, Orders and Families of Recent Mammals of the World. John Wiley and Sons, NY. xii+686 pp. Strahan, R. (ed.). 1995. Mammals of Australia. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C. 756 pp. Vaughan, T. A. 1986. Mammalogy. Third Edition. Saunders College Publishing, Fort Worth. vi+576 pp. Vaughan, T. A., J. M. Ryan, N. J. Czaplewski. 2000. Mammalogy. Fourth Edition. Saunders College Publishing, Philadelphia. vii+565pp Wilson, D. E., and D. M. Reeder. 1993. Mammal Species of the World, A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. 2nd edition. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington. xviii+1206 pp. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Species included in the Animal Diversity Web: Gymnobelideus leadbeateri (Leadbeater's Possum) -t- Petaurus australis (Yellow Bellied Glider) -t- Petaurus breviceps (Sugar Glider) -ta- Petaurus norfolcensis (Squirrel Glider) -t- ==== Phalangeridae Brushtail possums, cuscuses, scaley-tailed possums Members of this marsupial family make up a fairly diverse group of around 18 species placed in 6 genera. They inhabit Australia, and New Guinea and several smaller islands. These are medium-sized animals with a stocky and powerful body, short face, eyes directed forward, and a prominent rhinarium. They have a relatively long tail, which is heavily furred in some species and prehensile in most. All phalangerids are good climbers, although some tend to be semi-terrestrial. The first 2 digits of their forefeet are opposable to the other three in the more arboreal species. This is not the case for brushtail possums, which are relatively terrestrial. As is true of all members of their order, they are diprotodont and their hind feet are syndactylous. Phalangerids have bilobed, bunodont molars. The upper third premolar is strikingly plagiaulacoid. The dental formula is 3/2, 1/0, 1/1-2, 4/4 = 34-36. Their skulls are strongly built, flattened in profile, with deep zygomatic arches. Members of this family have a well developed marsupium that opens anteriorly. They usually give birth to a single young per litter. They are omnivores, foraging nocturnally or around dawn and dusk. One species, the brush-tailed possum (Trichosurus vulpecula), often lives arounds houses and feeds on cultivated plants. Technical characters ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Literature and references cited Feldhamer, G. A., L. C. Drickamer, S. H. Vessey, and J. F. Merritt. 1999. Mammalogy. Adaptation, Diversity, and Ecology. WCB McGraw-Hill, Boston. xii+563pp. Marshall, L. G. 1984. Monotremes and marsupials. Pp 59-115 in Anderson, S. and J. Knox Jones, eds, Orders and Families of Recent Mammals of the World. John Wiley and Sons, NY. xii+686 pp. Strahan, R. (ed.). 1995. Mammals of Australia. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C. 756 pp. Vaughan, T. A. 1986. Mammalogy. Third Edition. Saunders College Publishing, Fort Worth. vi+576 pp. Vaughan, T. A., J. M. Ryan, N. J. Czaplewski. 2000. Mammalogy. Fourth Edition. Saunders College Publishing, Philadelphia. vii+565pp. Wilson, D. E., and D. M. Reeder. 1993. Mammal Species of the World, A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. 2nd edition. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington. xviii+1206 pp. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Species included in the Animal Diversity Web: Ailurops ursinus (Bear Cuscus) -t- Phalanger lullulae (Woodlark Island Cuscus) -t- Phalanger orientalis (Common Cuscus) -t- Spilocuscus maculatus (Spotted Cuscus) -pta- Spilocuscus rufoniger -a- Trichosurus arnhemensis (Northern Brushtail Possum) -t- Trichosurus caninus (Mountain Brushtail Possum) -t- Trichosurus vulpecula -ta- Wyulda squamicaudata (Scaly-Tailed Possum) -t- Accounts marked with a p contain pictures, t contain narrative text (student authored), a contain anatomical still/QTVR images, and s contain digitized sound clips. ==== Phascolarctidae koalas This marsupial family is restricted to wooded areas of eastern Australia and contains a single living species, the familiar koala (Phascolarctus cinereus). Koalas are of medium size (7-15 kg). Their tail is short. Their ears are large and rounded, and white on the edge. The pelage is densely wooly. Koalas have a large, bulbous nose. Their marsupium is well developed, opens to the rear, and contains only 2 teats. Their stomachs are unusual, long and folded and with a unique gastric gland. Koalas also have an enormous cecum and substantial cheek pouches. Like other members of the order Diprotodonta, koalas are diprotodont; their dental formula is 3/1, 1/0, 1/1, 4/4 = 30. A large diastema separates incisors and post incisor teeth. All teeth are rooted. The molars appear selenodont and have a highly folded enamel pattern. Also like other diprotodonts, koalas are syndactylous, with digits two and three of the hind feet fused up to (but not including) the claws. On the forelimbs, digits one and two are opposable to three through five. Koalas are unusual among marsupials in that they briefly form a placenta during the gestation of their embryos. Members of the families Peramelidae , Peroryctidae, and Vombatidae are the only other marsupials with placentae. Koalas inhabit eucalyptus woodlands where they feed on eucalyptus leaves, stems, flowers, and bark. These trees contain chemicals that are poisonous to most animals. It is likely that the unusually well-developed stomachs and gastric glands equip them to handle the toxins in their diet. This material is also not very nutritious. The large cecum (in which microbial fermentation augments the koala's digestive processes) and cheek pouches, along with dentition highly developed for grinding plant cells, facilitate handling large amounts of forage. Further, koalas have an unusually low metabolic rate, which also reduces their need for food. Technical characters ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Literature and references cited Feldhamer, G. A., L. C. Drickamer, S. H. Vessey, and J. F. Merritt. 1999. Mammalogy. Adaptation, Diversity, and Ecology. WCB McGraw-Hill, Boston. xii+563pp. Marshall, L. G. 1984. Monotremes and marsupials. Pp 59-115 in Anderson, S. and J. Knox Jones, eds, Orders and Families of Recent Mammals of the World. John Wiley and Sons, NY. xii+686 pp. Strahan, R. (ed.). 1995. Mammals of Australia. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C. 756 pp. Vaughan, T. A. 1986. Mammalogy. Third Edition. Saunders College Publishing, Fort Worth. vi+576 pp. Vaughan, T. A., J. M. Ryan, N. J. Czaplewski. 2000. Mammalogy. Fourth Edition. Saunders College Publishing, Philadelphia. vii+565pp. Wilson, D. E., and D. M. Reeder. 1993. Mammal Species of the World, A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. 2nd edition. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington. xviii+1206 pp. ? ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Species included in the Animal Diversity Web: Phascolarctos cinereus (Koala) -pta- Accounts marked with a p contain pictures, t contain narrative text (student authored), a contain anatomical still/QTVR images, and s contain digitized sound clips. ==== Potoroidae Rat-kangaroos, potoroos, bettongs The potoroids are a family of diprotodont marsupials believed to be closely allied with the kangaroos and wallabies (Macropodidae) and sometimes grouped as a subfamily within that family. The Potoroidae includes 9 species placed in 5 genera. They are found in Australia. Like macropodids, these small and secretive animals are diprotodont and syndactylous. Also like macropodids, they have enlarged hind feet and powerful hind limbs. At high speeds they are adept hoppers. At slower speeds, their movement is more rabbit-like; they land with their weight on their forelimbs as well as hind, then transfer weight to the hindlimbs for the next hop. The forelimbs are smaller than the hindlimbs, but the disparity in size is not as great as in kangaroos and wallabies. As in the case of macropodid hind feet, the fourth toe is the longest and strongest. It sits in a line with main limb elements and transmits thrust of hopping. It is not as well developed, however, as the fourth toe in macropodids. The tail is semiprehensile. The dental forrmula of potoroids is 3/1, 1-0/0 2/2, 4/4 = 32-34. The second and third upper incisors are small and placed lateral to and behind the first incisor, not lateral as in macropodids. In other respects, the skull is simiilar to that of kangaroos. Canines are present and well large. The molars are stationary, that is, they don't show pattern of forward movement with aging that is seen in macropodids. Potoroids also possess anterior premolars that are lost in macropodids. Members of this family are omnivores and herbivores, feeding mainly on underground fungi and tubers also taking some seeds and insects. They have a well developed marsupial pouch that opens anteriorly. Their reproductive pattern includes an embryonic diapause like that of macropodids. Their stomachs are less elaborately pouched than those of macropodids; instead, they are unspecialized in some species and with a few simple chambers (with bacterial fermentation) in others. Several members of this family have not fared well following the European colonization of Australia. Two species are believed to be extinct and two additional species are currently threatened with extinction. Technical characters ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Species included in the Animal Diversity Web: Aepyprymnus rufescens -ta- Bettongia penicillata (Brush-Tailed Bettong) -ta- Caloprymnus campestris (Desert "Rat" Kangaroo) -t- Hypsiprymnodon moschatus (Musky Rat Kangaroo) -t- Potorous longipes (Long-Footed Potoroo) -t- Potorous tridactylus (Long-Nosed Potoroo) -ta- Accounts marked with a p contain pictures, t contain narrative text (student authored), a contain anatomical still/QTVR images, and s contain digitized sound clips. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Literature and references cited Feldhamer, G. A., L. C. Drickamer, S. H. Vessey, and J. F. Merritt. 1999. Mammalogy. Adaptation, Diversity, and Ecology. WCB McGraw-Hill, Boston. xii+563pp. Marshall, L. G. 1984. Monotremes and marsupials. Pp 59-115 in Anderson, S. and J. Knox Jones, eds, Orders and Families of Recent Mammals of the World. John Wiley and Sons, NY. xii+686 pp. Strahan, R. (ed.). 1995. Mammals of Australia. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C. 756 pp. Vaughan, T. A. 1986. Mammalogy. Third Edition. Saunders College Publishing, Fort Worth. vi+576 pp. Vaughan, T. A., J. M. Ryan, N. J. Czaplewski. 2000. Mammalogy. Fourth Edition. Saunders College Publishing, Philadelphia. vii+565pp Wilson, D. E., and D. M. Reeder. 1993. Mammal Species of the World, A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. 2nd edition. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington. xviii+1206 pp. ?------------------------------------------------------------------------ ===== Pseudocheiridae Ringtail possums, great glider The Pseudocheiridae, a family of the marsupial order Diprotodontia, contains 5 or 6 genera and 14 species. They are found in Australia and New Guinea. Until recently, members of this family were classified with the petaurids. While there is probably a close phylogenetic relationship between the two groups, pseudocheirids can be distinguished by their sharply crested, selenodont teeth, which contrast with the more rounded, bunodont teeth of petaurids. Most pseudocheirids have a strongly prehensile tail (weakly so in the great glider and rock ringtail). They are medium sized animals, with most weighing between 0.5 and 2 kg. Like other members of the Diprotodontia, they are syndactylous and diprotodont. Their dental formula is 3/2, 1/0, 3/3, 4/4 = 40 . On the forefeet, digits 1 and 2 are opposable to 3-5. There is a well developed hallux on each hindfoot. The pouch is large and opens anteriorly. One member of the family, Petauroides, has a gliding membrane much like that of petaurids. It differs, however, in that the membrane extends to the wrist in petaurids but only to the elbow in Petauroides. Pseudocheirids are generally herbivorous and feed on leaves. Most are arboreal. They have a simple stomach but large cecum, in which bacterial digestion takes place. At least some species are known to be coprophagous, reingesting special feces voided from the cecum ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Literature and references cited Feldhamer, G. A., L. C. Drickamer, S. H. Vessey, and J. F. Merritt. 1999. Mammalogy. Adaptation, Diversity, and Ecology. WCB McGraw-Hill, Boston. xii+563pp. Marshall, L. G. 1984. Monotremes and marsupials. Pp 59-115 in Anderson, S. and J. Knox Jones, eds, Orders and Families of Recent Mammals of the World. John Wiley and Sons, NY. xii+686 pp. Strahan, R. (ed.). 1995. Mammals of Australia. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C. 756 pp. Vaughan, T. A. 1986. Mammalogy. Third Edition. Saunders College Publishing, Fort Worth. vi+576 pp. Vaughan, T. A., J. M. Ryan, N. J. Czaplewski. 2000. Mammalogy. Fourth Edition. Saunders College Publishing, Philadelphia. vii+565pp. Wilson, D. E., and D. M. Reeder. 1993. Mammal Species of the World, A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. 2nd edition. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington. xviii+1206 pp. ===== Tarsipedidae Honey possum, noolbender The marsupial family Tarsipedidae contains a single species, the honey possum or noolbender (Tarsipes rostratus). Honey possums are found in southwestern Australia, where they are still common in some areas. These animals are small (7-12 gm) and have a long pointed snout, slender dentary and zygomatic arch, and unusually poorly developed chewing muscles. The tail is long and fully prehensile. Like other members of the order Diprotodontia, they are syndactylous and diprotodont. Their syndactylous toes (hind toes 2 and 3) are unusual in that they have nails, not claws, at the ends. All toes except the syndactylous pair end in expanded pads. The teeth are small in size and reduced in number; the dental formula is 2/1, 1/0, cheekteeth 3/3 (usually). The cheekteeth are small, peglike, and variable in number. Honey possums feed largely on nectar. They have no cecum, but their stomach has a large diverticulum. This structure apparently serves for storage, not bacterial digestion. The elongated tongue has a cluster of bristles at the tip. The development of the tongue and reduced dentition are reminiscent of the nectar feeding bats in the family Phyllostomidae. Like these bats, honey possums feed by probing flowers with their tongues. Honey possums are important pollinators for some species of plants. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Literature and references cited Feldhamer, G. A., L. C. Drickamer, S. H. Vessey, and J. F. Merritt. 1999. Mammalogy. Adaptation, Diversity, and Ecology. WCB McGraw-Hill, Boston. xii+563pp. Marshall, L. G. 1984. Monotremes and marsupials. Pp 59-115 in Anderson, S. and J. Knox Jones, eds, Orders and Families of Recent Mammals of the World. John Wiley and Sons, NY. xii+686 pp. Strahan, R. (ed.). 1995. Mammals of Australia. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C. 756 pp. Vaughan, T. A. 1986. Mammalogy. Third Edition. Saunders College Publishing, Fort Worth. vi+576 pp. Vaughan, T. A., J. M. Ryan, N. J. Czaplewski. 2000. Mammalogy. Fourth Edition. Saunders College Publishing, Philadelphia. vii+565pp. Wilson, D. E., and D. M. Reeder. 1993. Mammal Species of the World, A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. 2nd edition. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington. xviii+1206 pp. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Species included in the Animal Diversity Web: Tarsipes rostratus (Honey Possum, Noolbenger) -pt- Accounts marked with a p contain pictures, t contain narrative text (student authored), a contain anatomical still/QTVR images, and s contain ===== Vombatidae Wombats This family of marsupials contains 2 genera and 3 species, all Australian. Like other members of the Diprotodontia, they are syndactylous and diprotodont. Wombats are medium to large size animals (19-39 kg) with a stocky body, short limbs, small ears, and a very short tail. The head is compactly built and is used in constructing tunnels. The limbs are especially powerfully, with short broad feet and strong, flat claws (except on the hallux, which is vestigial). Posture is plantigrade. Wombats are burrowers, building impressive burrow systems with many burrows. Some burrows exceed 20 m in length. Wombats have a remarkably rodent-like skull. They have a single pair of incisors. These teeth are heavily built and rodent-like in form. Also like the incisors of rodents, the incisors of wombats have enamel on anterior and lateral surfaces only. The incisors are followed by a large diastema. The cheek teeth are hypsodont and unrooted. The molars are relatively simple; their surfaces contain two major lophs (bilophodont). The dental formula is 1/1, 0,0, 1/1, 4/4 = 24. On the skull itself, the coronoid process of dentary reduced and the masseter is the primary muscle used in mastication. Wombats have a strongly built zygomatic arch and short rostrum. The pouch of wombats is well developed, but it is oriented so that it opens to the rear, rather than forward as is more usual in marsupials. The embryo forms an allantoic placenta, as is true of at least some peramelids and koalas but not other marsupials. Wombats are strictly herbivorous grazers; they have a simple stomach and a short, broad cecum. Koalas and wombats are probably each other's closest relatives. Some of the characteristics they share include pouch opening to rear, vestigial tail, presence of a peculiar glandular patch in the stomach, formation of a placenta, loss of some premolars, and details of muscle morphology. A close relationship has also been suggested by molecular studies. During the Pleistocene, herds of giant wombats the size of a rhinoceros roamed the plains of southern Australia. Technical characters ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Literature and references cited Feldhamer, G. A., L. C. Drickamer, S. H. Vessey, and J. F. Merritt. 1999. Mammalogy. Adaptation, Diversity, and Ecology. WCB McGraw-Hill, Boston. xii+563pp. Marshall, L. G. 1984. Monotremes and marsupials. Pp 59-115 in Anderson, S. and J. Knox Jones, eds, Orders and Families of Recent Mammals of the World. John Wiley and Sons, NY. xii+686 pp. Strahan, R. (ed.). 1995. Mammals of Australia. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C. 756 pp. Vaughan, T. A. 1986. Mammalogy. Third Edition. Saunders College Publishing, Fort Worth. vi+576 pp. Vaughan, T. A., J. M. Ryan, N. J. Czaplewski. 2000. Mammalogy. Fourth Edition. Saunders College Publishing, Philadelphia. vii+565pp. Wilson, D. E., and D. M. Reeder. 1993. Mammal Species of the World, A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. 2nd edition. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington. xviii+1206 pp. ? ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Species included in the Animal Diversity Web: Lasiorhinus krefftii (Hairy-Nosed Wombat) -t- Lasiorhinus latifrons (Southern Hairy-Nosed Wombat) -t- Vombatus ursinus (Common Wombat) -pta- Accounts marked with a p contain pictures, t contain narrative text (student authored), a contain anatomical still/QTVR images, and s contain digitized sound clips.