The Myrmecobiidae contains a single species, the numbat (Myrmecobius fasciatus).
These marsupials are small to medium in size, weighing 300 to 700 gms, with a pointed head, small ears, and a long, bushy tail. They lack a pouch. Their coat is distinctively banded across the back and rump with transverse dark and white stripes. Large, strong claws are found on all digits. Numbats have a remarkable long and slender tongue, with which they extract termites and ants from their galleries.
The teeth of numbats are relatively small and appear degenerate; nevertheless, they are polyprotodont, with four upper and three lower incisors on each side of their jaws. Following these are upper and lower canines, and behind the canines are a series of molars and premolars that may include extra (supernumerary) teeth. The total number of cheek teeth is usually 7-8 on each side of the upper jaw, 8-9 on each side of the lower. As is true of other dasyuromorphs, numbats are not syndactylous. Cranial characteristics of these peculiar animals include an unusual backward prolongation of the hard palate, reduction in the size and number of palatal vacuities, massive postfrontal processes, and palatal branches of the premaxillae that don't fuse anteriorly.
Numbats often forage during the day.
Numbats are found in southern Australia. Once widespread, they have been reduced to few isolated populations by habitat destruction and predation by the introduced red fox.
numbat (marsupial anteater)
Family Dasyuridae - (dasyurids) Family Myrmecobiidae - (numbat or marsupial anteater) Family Thylacinidae - (extinct thylacine or Tasmanian wolf)
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