Dasyuromorphiadasyuromorphia, dasyuromorphia definition
The order Dasyuromorphia meaning "hairy tail" comprises most of the Australian carnivorous marsupials, including quolls, dunnarts, the numbat, the Tasmanian devil, and the thylacine In Australia, the exceptions include the omnivorous bandicoots order Peramelemorphia and the marsupial moles which eat meat but are very different and are now accorded an order of their own, Notoryctemorphia Numerous South American species of marsupials orders Didelphimorphia, Paucituberculata, and Microbiotheria are also carnivorous
There are four families: one with just a single living species the numbat, two with only extinct species including the thylacine and Malleodectes, and one, the Dasyuridae, with about 70 living members
- 1 Characteristics
- 2 Classification
- 3 References
- 4 External links
Unlike herbivores, which tend to become highly specialized for particular ecological niches and diversify greatly in form, carnivores tend to be broadly similar to one another, certainly on the level of gross external form Just as Northern Hemisphere carnivores like cats, foxes and weasels are much more alike in structure than, for example, camels, goats, pigs and giraffes, so too are the marsupial predators constrained to retain general-purpose, look-alike forms—forms which mirror those of placental carnivores The names given to them by early European settlers reflect this: the thylacine was called the Tasmanian tiger, quolls were called native cats, and so on
The primary specialisation among marsupial predators is that of size: prior to the massive environmental changes that came about with the arrival of humans about 50,000 years ago, there were several very large carnivores, none of them members of the Dasyuromorphia and all of them now extinct Those that survived into historical times ranged from the wolf-sized thylacine to the tiny long-tailed planigale which at 4 to 6 grams is less than half the size of a mouse Most, however, tend towards the lower end of the size scale, typically between about 15 or 20 grams and about 2 kilograms, or from the size of a domestic mouse to that of a small domestic cat
To provide context, the table below also shows the other major branches of the Australasian marsupial tree
- Order Microbiotheria: 1 species, the monito del monte of South America
- Order Dasyuromorphia
- Family †Thylacinidae
- †Thylacine Thylacinus cynocephalus
- Family Dasyuridae 72 species in 20 genera
- Subfamily Dasyurinae: quolls, kowari, mulgara, little red kaluta, dibblers, phascogales, antechinuses, pseudantechinuses, and the Tasmanian devil
- Subfamily Sminthopsinae: dunnarts, the kultarr, planigales and ningaui
- Family Myrmecobiidae
- Numbat Myrmecobius fasciatus
- Family †Malleodectidae
- Genus †Malleodectes
- Family †Thylacinidae
- Order Peramelemorphia 21 species: rainforest bandicoots, bandicoots, and bilbies
- Order Notoryctemorphia 2 species of marsupial mole
- Order Diprotodontia about 137 species in 11 families, including the koala, wombats, possums, potoroos, kangaroos, wallabies and others
- ^ Mammalian Lexicon
- ^ Archer, M; Hand, S J; Black, K H; Beck, R M D; Arena, D A; Wilson, L A B; Kealy, S; Hung, T-t 2016-05-27 "A new family of bizarre durophagous carnivorous marsupials from Miocene deposits in the Riversleigh World Heritage Area, northwestern Queensland" Scientific Reports 6 doi:101038/srep26911 ISSN 2045-2322
- Groves, CP 2005 Wilson, DE; Reeder, DM, eds Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference 3rd ed Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press pp 23–37 ISBN 0-801-88221-4 OCLC 62265494
- Dasyuromorphia on Animal Diversity Web
- Mammals portal
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