Pseudocheiridae

Pseudocheiridae

Taxobox
name = PseudocheiridaeMSW3 Groves|pages=50-53]


image_width = 266px
image_caption = "Pseudocheirus peregrinus", Common Ringtail Possum
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Mammalia
infraclassis = Marsupialia
ordo = Diprotodontia
familia = Pseudocheiridae
familia_authority = Winge, 1893
subdivision_ranks = Subfamilies
subdivision =
* Hemibelideinae
* Pseudocheirinae
* Pseudochiropinae

Pseudocheiridae is a family of arboreal marsupials containing 17 extant species of ringtailed possums and close relatives. They are found in forested areas and shrublands throughout Australia and New Guinea.

Characteristics

Physically, they appear very similar to the pygmy possums, except for their greater size. Even so, they are relatively small animals, with the largest being cat-sized, and they weigh between 200 grams and 2 kilograms. They have grasping hands and feet with opposable first toes on their hindfeet, and, in all species save the Greater Glider, a prehensile tail. They are nocturnal, with large eyes.cite book |editor=Macdonald, D.|author= Smith, Andrew|year=1984 |title= The Encyclopedia of Mammals|publisher= Facts on File|location=New York|pages= 856-861|isbn= 0-87196-871-1]

All species feed almost entirely on leaves. To enable them to digest this tough and fibrous food, they have an enlarged cecum containing fermenting bacteria, and, like rabbits, they are coprophagous, passing food through their digestive tracts twice. Their teeth include a battery of grinding molars, and they lack lower canines. Their dental formula is:dentition|3.1.3.4|2.0.3.4

Most are solitary animals, although a few live in small family groups, and they are generally shy and secretive, making them difficult to study. They travel across home ranges of up to 3 hectares (7.5 acres). Gestation lasts up to 50 days, but varies depending on species.

Classification

The 17 species of pseudocheirid possum are grouped into three subfamilies and six genera.

* Subfamily Hemibelideinae
** Genus "Hemibelideus"
*** Lemur-like Ringtail Possum, "Hemibelideus lemuroides"
** Genus "Petauroides"
*** Greater Glider, "Petauroides volans"
* Subfamily Pseudocheirinae
** Genus "Petropseudes"
*** Rock-haunting Ringtail Possum, "Petropseudes dahli"
** Genus "Pseudocheirus"
*** Common Ringtail Possum, "Pseudocheirus peregrinus"
** Genus "Pseudochirulus"
*** Lowland Ringtail Possum, "Pseudochirulus canescens"
*** Weyland Ringtail Possum, "Pseudochirulus caroli"
*** Cinereus Ringtail Possum, "Pseudochirulus cinereus"
*** Painted Ringtail Possum, "Pseudochirulus forbesi"
*** Herbert River Ringtail Possum, "Pseudochirulus herbertensis"
*** Masked Ringtail Possum, "Pseudochirulus larvatus"
*** Pygmy Ringtail Possum, "Pseudochirulus mayeri"
*** Vogelkop Ringtail Possum, "Pseudochirulus schlegeli"
* Subfamily Pseudochiropinae
** Genus "Pseudochirops"
*** D'Albertis' Ringtail Possum, "Pseudochirops albertisii"
*** Green Ringtail Possum, "Pseudochirops archeri"
*** Plush-coated Ringtail Possum, "Pseudochirops corinnae"
*** Reclusive Ringtail Possum, "Pseudochirops coronatus"
*** Coppery Ringtail Possum, "Pseudochirops cupreus"

References


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