Wyulda squamicaudatascaly-tailed possum

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Geographic Range

The scaly-tailed possum is restricted to the Kimberly division in the north of Western Australia.

Habitat

The scaly-tailed possum inhabits areas with trees and rocks in the broken sandstone country of savannah woodlands in hot tropics.

Physical Description

The pelage of the scaly-tailed possum is short, fine, and dense. The general dorsal color is pale or dark ashy gray while the underside color is white. A dark stripe, which may be obscure or distinct, runs along the mid-dorsal line from the shoulders to the rump. The scaly-tailed possum has a prehensile tail that is densely furred at the base and has nonoverlapping, thick scales for the remainder of its length. The head is short and wide with short ears. The claws are short and not strongly curved.

  • Average mass
    1400 g
    49.34 oz
  • Average mass
    1700 g
    59.91 oz
    AnAge

Reproduction

The scaly-tailed possum is known to breed in the dry season. The recorded litter size is one. Information on the reproductive behavior of the scaly-tailed possum is limited.

  • Key Reproductive Features
  • gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)
  • sexual
  • Average number of offspring
    1
    AnAge
  • Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
    Sex: female
    730 days
    AnAge
  • Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
    Sex: male
    540 days
    AnAge

Lifespan/Longevity

Behavior

The scaly-tailed possum is nocturnal and scansorial. It shelters by day among the rocks and emerges at night to feed. It is also known to be a solitary species.

Communication and Perception

Food Habits

The diet mainly consists of fruits, blossoms, and leaves of Eucalyptus, Terminalia, etc. The scaly-tailed possum has also been known to feed on insects and small vertebrates.

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

No information

Conservation Status

The scaly-tailed possum was once considered endangered but is now less threatened.

Contributors

Ryo Sekine (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Phil Myers (editor), Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.

Glossary

Australian

Living in Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, New Guinea and associated islands.

World Map

bilateral symmetry

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.

chemical

uses smells or other chemicals to communicate

endothermic

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.

motile

having the capacity to move from one place to another.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.

sexual

reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female

tactile

uses touch to communicate

threatened

The term is used in the 1994 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals to refer collectively to species categorized as Endangered (E), Vulnerable (V), Rare (R), Indeterminate (I), or Insufficiently Known (K) and in the 1996 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals to refer collectively to species categorized as Critically Endangered (CR), Endangered (EN), or Vulnerable (VU).

tropical savanna and grassland

A terrestrial biome. Savannas are grasslands with scattered individual trees that do not form a closed canopy. Extensive savannas are found in parts of subtropical and tropical Africa and South America, and in Australia.

savanna

A grassland with scattered trees or scattered clumps of trees, a type of community intermediate between grassland and forest. See also Tropical savanna and grassland biome.

temperate grassland

A terrestrial biome found in temperate latitudes (>23.5° N or S latitude). Vegetation is made up mostly of grasses, the height and species diversity of which depend largely on the amount of moisture available. Fire and grazing are important in the long-term maintenance of grasslands.

References

Hume, I. 1999. Marsupial Nutrition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Nowak, R. 1991. Walker's Mammals of the World. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Taylor, J. 1984. Mammals of Australia. Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

Tyndale-Biscoe, H. 1973. Life of Marsupials. New York: American Elsevier Publishing Company, Inc..