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.
Family Acrobatidae Family Burramyidae Family Macropodidae Family Petauridae Family Phalangeridae Family Phascolarctidae Family Potoroidae Family Pseudocheiridae Family Tarsipedidae Family Vombatidae
<<<<<<<>>>>>>>ARTIODACTYLA CARNIVORA CETACEA CHIROPTERA DASYUROMORPHIA DERMOPTERA DIDELPHIMORPHI DIPROTODONTIA HYRACOIDEA INSECTIVORA LAGOMORPHA MACROSCELIDEA MICROBIOTHERIA MONOTREMATA NOTORYCTEMORPHIA PAUCITUBERCULATA PERAMELEMORPHIA PERISSODACTYLA PHOLIDOTA PRIMATES PROBOSCIDEA RODENTIA SCANDENTIA SIRENIA TUBULIDENTATA XENARTHRA