Preferred habitat of Banksia attenuata (slender Banksia) and B. menziesii (firewood Banksia). Eucalyptus todtiana (coastal blackbutt), E. gomphocephala (Tuart), E. marginata (Jarrah), Allocasuarina fraseriana (Fraser’s sheoak), Nuytsia floribunda (christmas tree) and other Banksia species also occur, but far less frequently. Interspersed throughout the understory are various species in the families Proteaceae, Myrtaceae, Papilionaceae, and Epacridaceae (Maher et al., 2008). ("Restoration of banksia woodlands after the removal of pines Gnangara: evaluation of seeding trials.", 2008; Bradshaw and Bradshaw, 2002)is banksia woodlands, which are rich in floral diversity. The overstory of banksia woodland habitat along the south western coast of Western Australia is dominated by
Honey possums are relatively short lived, with a lifespan of 1 to 2 years. Lifespan of captive individuals has not been documented. (Wooller, et al., 1999)
Honey possums are nocturnal or crepuscular and are relatively nonsocial. In captivity, however, they huddle in large groups when they sleep but no such behavior has been observed in natural populations. There is little evidence of territoriality, however, females are dominant to males. (Bradshaw and Bradshaw, 2002; Rose, et al., 1997; Wooller, et al., 1999)
Females and males have individual home ranges but there is overlap between the home ranges of the different sexes. Male home ranges are much greater than those of females, primarily because they take refuge in a various locations throughout the day to avoid dominant females. Male honey possums can travel up to 114 m during the night to reach their feeding grounds. (Bradshaw and Bradshaw, 2002; Rose, et al., 1997)
Little is known of communication and perception in (Woolhouse, et al., 1994). In other possum species, it has been suggested that secretions from the holocrine gland are used to mark habitats and signal alarm. There is no evidence indicating that possums use scent marking to attract potential mates.
Proteaceae, Epacridaceae, and Myrtacae. prefers to forage on Banksia spp., which are large plants with widely separated and exposed inflorescences from the family Proteaceae. The Mediterranean climate of south-west Western Australia is prone to recurrent fires, which has a significant effect on the population density of . Areas that remain unburnt for longer periods of time have larger plants, which bear more inflorescences. Plants with more inflorescences are correlated with increased abundance of . Its feet and prehensile tail are used for climbing, while their forepaws with elongated digits are used to manipulate flowers during feeding. In order to acquire the necessary nutrients from nectar, a substantial quantity of fluid must be consumed. As a result of the high water content in their diet in conjunction with their inability to concentrate urine, frequently excretes high volumes of dilute urine. (Bradshaw and Bradshaw, 2002; Everaardt, 2008; Richardson, et al., 1986; Slaven and Richardson, 1988; Sumner, et al., 2005; Wooller, et al., 1999)consumes pollen and nectar from a variety of flowering plants. It is the only flightless animal that feeds exclusively on pollen and nectar. Large amounts of pollen and nectar are consumed from plants belonging to the families
Aerial predators of honey possums, include barn owls (Tyto alba) and black-shouldered kites (Elanus caesuleus), and common terrestrial predators include red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) and feral cats (Felis domesticus). In certain parts of their range, Fitzgerald River National Park, other potential predators include tiger snakes (Notechis scutatus), southern monitors (Varanus rosenbergi), square-tailed kites (Lophoictinia isura), Australian kestrels (Falco cenchroides), brown falcons (Falco berigora), and boobook owls (Ninox novaeseelandiae). Honey possums are arboreal and are most commonly found in the lower canopy. As a result, the upper canopy likely provides shelter from aerial predators and being elevated off the forest floor likely decreases predation pressure from terrestrial predators. (Bradshaw and Bradshaw, 2002; Everaardt, 2003; Everaardt, 2008)
Honey possums are important pollinators for a number of different plants and are the principle pollinators of nodding banksia (Banksia nutans), which is common on the southern coast of Western Australia. (Wooller and Wooller, 2003)
There are no known positive effects ofon humans.
There are no known adverse effects ofon humans.
According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, honey possums are a species of “least concern”. Due to their relative abundance and broad distribution, there are no major threats to their existence. However, bushfires can result in significant habitat loss. In addition, water mold (Phytophthora cinnamomi), which is prevalent in many high humidity environments, can cause plant pathogens that could decrease resource abundance for honey possums. Finally, feral cats may have a negative effect on honey possum abundance. (Friend, et al., 2008)
Yengin Loay (author), University of Manitoba, Jane Waterman (editor), University of Manitoba, John Berini (editor), Animal Diversity Web Staff.
Living in Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, New Guinea and associated islands.
uses sound to communicate
having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
active at dawn and dusk
At about the time a female gives birth (e.g. in most kangaroo species), she also becomes receptive and mates. Embryos produced at this mating develop only as far as a hollow ball of cells (the blastocyst) and then become quiescent, entering a state of suspended animation or embryonic diapause. The hormonal signal (prolactin) which blocks further development of the blastocyst is produced in response to the sucking stimulus from the young in the pouch. When sucking decreases as the young begins to eat other food and to leave the pouch, or if the young is lost from the pouch, the quiescent blastocyst resumes development, the embryo is born, and the cycle begins again. (Macdonald 1984)
animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.
parental care is carried out by females
forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.
An animal that eats mainly plants or parts of plants.
offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
an animal that mainly eats nectar from flowers
active during the night
Referring to a mating system in which a female mates with several males during one breeding season (compare polygynous).
communicates by producing scents from special gland(s) and placing them on a surface whether others can smell or taste them
scrub forests develop in areas that experience dry seasons.
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
uses touch to communicate
that region of the Earth between 23.5 degrees North and 60 degrees North (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle) and between 23.5 degrees South and 60 degrees South (between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle).
Living on the ground.
uses sight to communicate
reproduction in which fertilization and development take place within the female body and the developing embryo derives nourishment from the female.
breeding takes place throughout the year
Gnangara Department of Environment and Conservation. Restoration of banksia woodlands after the removal of pines Gnangara: evaluation of seeding trials.. Perth, AU: Murdoch University. 2008. Accessed February 24, 2011 at http://www.water.wa.gov.au/sites/gss/Content/reports/Restoration%20Banksia%20woodlands%20-%20evaluation%20of%20seeing%20trials.pdf.
Bradshaw, S., F. Bradshaw. 2007. Isotopic measurements of field metabolic rate (FMR) in the marsupial honey possum (Tarsipes rostratus). Journal of mammalogy, 88: 401-407.
Bradshaw, S., F. Bradshaw. 2002. Short-term movements and habitat use of the marsupial honey possum (Tarsipes rostratus). Journal of Zoology, 258: 343-348.
Cooper, C., A. Cruz-Neto. 2009. Metabolic, hygric and ventilatory physiology of a hypermetabolic marsupial, the honey possum (Tarsipes rostratus). Journal of Comparative Physiology, 179: 773-781.
Everaardt, A. 2003. "The impact of fire on the honey possum http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/66/2/02Whole.pdf.in the Fitzgerald River National Park, Western Australia." (On-line pdf). Murdoch University Research Repository. Accessed March 04, 2011 at
Everaardt, A. 2008. The impact of fire upon the size and flowering of three honey possum foodplants at the western end of the Fitzgerald River National Park, Western Australia. Western Australian Naturalist, 26: 85-98.
Friend, T., K. Morris, A. Burbidge, N. McKenzie. 2008. "http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/details/40583/0." (On-line). IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Accessed November 11, 2010 at
Nagy, K., C. Meienberger, S. Bradshaw, R. Wooller. 1995. Field metabolic rate of a small marsupial mammal, the honey possum (Tarsipes rostratus). Journal of Mammalogy, 76: 862-866.
Oates, J., F. Bradshaw, S. Bradshaw, E. Stead-Richardson, D. Philippe. 2007. Reproduction and embryonic diapause in a marsupial: Insights from captive female honey possums, Tarspies rostratus (Tarsipedidae). General and Comparative Endocrinology, 150: 445-461.
Richardson, K., R. Wooller, B. Collins. 1986. Adaptations to a diet of nectar and pollen in the marsupial Tarsipes rostratus (Marsupialia: Tarsipedidae). Journal of Zoology, 208: 285-297.
Rose, R., C. Nevison, A. Dixson. 1997. Testes weight, body weight and mating systems in marsupials and monotremes. Journal of Zoology, 243: 523-531.
Slaven, M., K. Richardson. 1988. Aspects of the Form and Function of the Kidney of the Honey Possum, Tarsipes rostratus. Australian Journal of Zoology, 36: 465-471.
Sumner, P., C. Arrese, J. Partridge. 2005. The ecology of visual pigment tuning in an Australian marsupial: the honey possum Tarsipes rostratus. Journal of Experimental Biology, 208: 1803-1815.
Withers, P., K. Richardson, R. Wooller. 1990. Metabolic Physiology of Euthermic and Torpid Honey Possums, Tarsipes rostratus. Australian Journal of Zoology, 37: 685-93.
Woolhouse, A., R. Weston, B. Hamilton. 1994. Metabolic physiology of euthermic and torpid honey possums, Tarsipes rostratus. Australian Journal of Zoology, 37: 685-693.
Wooller, R., K. Richardson, G. Bradly. 1999. Dietary constraints upon reproduction in an obligate pollen and nectar-feeding marsupial, the honey possum (Tarsipes rostratus). Journal of Zoology, 248: 279-287.
Wooller, R., K. Richardson, C. Garavanta, V. Saffer, K. Bryant. 2000. Opportunistic breeding in the polyandrous honey possum, Australian Journal of Zoology, 48: 669-680..
Wooller, R., S. Wooller. 2003. The role of non-flying animals in the pollination of Banksia nutans. Australian Journal of Botany, 51: 503-507.