Feeding ecology and diet

Dactylopsila is insectivorous, using its strong incisors as chisels to pry insects such as beetle larvae from their hollows in trees, or extracting them with their long fourth finger. The latter is also used in a tapping movement to detect hollows of larvae under the bark or in dead wood. Petaurinae are om-

The yellow-bellied glider (Petaurus australis) uses its incisors to break the bark of eucalyptus trees and drink the sap. (Photo by Dr. Robert Thomas and Margaret Orr © California Academy of Sciences. Reproduced by permission.)
The squirrel glider (Petaurus norfolcensis) is similar to the sugar glider (Petaurus breviceps). (Photo by Pavel German. Reproduced by permission.)
A sugar glider (Petaurus breviceps) pair, nuzzling. (Photo by Alan & Sandy Carey/Photo Researchers, Inc. Reproduced by permission.)
A squirrel glider (Petaurus norfolcensis) gliding at night, showing its marsupial pouch opening. (Photo by © Hans & Judy Beste/Lochman Transparencies. Reproduced by permission.)

nivorous, but with a heavy emphasis on sap feeding, nectar, and blossoms. All species of Petaurus are able to bite wounds into tree trunks to start sap flow, whereas Gymnobelideus is reportedly unable to actively prepare feeding sites. This is discussed as a reason for Gymnobelideus defending a territory and for Petaurus only defending feeding trees. Apart from sap feeding, nectar and pollen are important parts of Petaurus diet, while several species are known to be pollinators.

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