Members of this marsupial family are found in New Guinea and Australia. Currently, 4 genera and 11 species are recognized: Echymipera (New Guinea, Indonesia, Australia); Microperoryctes (Indonesia, New Guinea); Peroryctes (New Guinea); and Rhynchomeles (Indonesia). They tend to be found in areas of rainforest.
Peroryctids are syndactylous and polyprotodont. They resemble the other family of peramelemorphs, the Peramelidae, in most respects and in fact have only recently been recognized as a separate family. They can be distinguished from peramelids by the shape of their crania, which are cylindrical in contrast to the more flattened skulls of peramelids. They are usually found in humid tropical forests, while peramelids usually prefer drier habitats. All species of peroryctids are insectivorous or omnivorous and solitary. They forage at night.
Literature and references cited
Feldhamer, G. A., L. C. Drickamer, S. H. Vessey, and J. F. Merritt. 1999. Mammalogy. Adaptation, Diversity, and Ecology. WCB McGraw-Hill, Boston. xii+563pp.
Marshall, L. G. 1984. Monotremes and marsupials. Pp 59-115 in Anderson, S. and J. Knox Jones, eds, Orders and Families of Recent Mammals of the World. John Wiley and Sons, NY. xii+686 pp.
Strahan, R. (ed.). 1995. Mammals of Australia. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C. 756 pp.
Vaughan, T. A. 1986. Mammalogy. Third Edition. Saunders College Publishing, Fort Worth. vi+576 pp.
Vaughan, T. A., J. M. Ryan, N. J. Czaplewski. 2000. Mammalogy. Fourth Edition. Saunders College Publishing, Philadelphia. vii+565pp.
Wilson, D. E., and D. M. Reeder. 1993. Mammal Species of the World, A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. 2nd edition. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington. xviii+1206 pp.
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
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.
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
uses touch to communicate