Species accounts

Sulawesi bear cuscus

Ailurops ursinus

TAXONOMY

Ailurops ursinus (Temminck, 1824), Sulawesi, Indonesia.

OTHER COMMON NAMES German: Barenkuskus.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

A large and powerful phalanger (up to 22 lb [10 kg]), with long limbs and black fur often tipped with yellow.

DISTRIBUTION

A. u. ursinus: lowlands of Sulawesi, Peleng, and some adjacent smaller islands; and A. u. togianus: Togian Islands.

HABITAT

Lowland and mid-elevation rainforest. BEHAVIOR

Generally occurs in groups of two to four individuals. It is arboreal, living and feeding in the forest canopy, and may be active at any time, day or night.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Largely folivorous, but flowers and fruits make up a small part of the diet.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Very little is known. Females give birth once or twice a year, and weaning has been reported to occur at eight months.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Possibly threatened; classified as Data Deficient. SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

As a very large phalanger, this species is a target of hunting, and is sometimes encountered as food in markets and restaurants in Sulawesi. ♦

Small Sulawesi cuscus

Strigocuscus celebensis

TAXONOMY

Strigocuscus celebensis (Gray, 1858), Sulawesi, Indonesia.

OTHER COMMON NAMES German: Celebeskuskus.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

This is the smallest phalanger, weighing 2 lb (1 kg) or less. The overall coloration is pale buff, a dorsal stripe is lacking, and the naked part of the tail is very sparsely haired.

DISTRIBUTION

S. c. celebensis: southern and central Sulawesi; S. c. feilen: north Sulawesi; and S. c. sangirensis: Sangihe Islands north of Sulawesi.

HABITAT

Rainforest.

BEHAVIOR

Arboreal and nocturnal, and apparently occurs in pairs.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Thought to be primarily frugivorous.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Little is known; probably monogamous.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Uncertain; classified as Data Deficient.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

Common spotted cuscus

Spilocuscus maculatus

TAXONOMY

Spilocuscus maculatus (Desmarest, 1818), Vogelkop, Irian Jaya, Indonesia.

OTHER COMMON NAMES German: Tupfelkuskus.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

A relatively large phalanger (weighing up to 13.2 lb [6 kg]) with large round eyes and very small ears. The coat is colorful but very variable, and differs characteristically both between the sexes and among the four subspecies. Males may be pure white or spotted with red-orange, black, or gray, while females are often unspotted, with an unbroken black or gray "saddle" on the back.

DISTRIBUTION

S. m. maculatus: northern New Guinea; S. m. chrysorrhous: southern New Guinea and the central Moluccas; S. m. goldiei: southeastern New Guinea; and S. m. nudicaudatus: tropical northern Australia.

HABITAT

Lowland rainforest, from sea level to 3,900 ft (1,200 m). BEHAVIOR

Nocturnal and arboreal, rarely descending to the ground. It has an unusually low metabolic rate, and its movement through the trees is often relatively slow.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Predominantly leaves and fruit.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Females have four mammae. Two to four young have been reported in a litter, but a single young is most common. Infants exit the pouch six to seven months after birth. It is not known whether breeding is seasonal or takes place year-round. The estrous cycle lasts four weeks; at the peak of the cycle, females are highly vocal. Mating system is not known.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

Widely hunted and often transported and sold as a pet or as food in local markets in New Guinea. ♦

Black-spotted cuscus

Spilocuscus rufoniger

TAXONOMY

Spilocuscus rufoniger (Zimara, 1937), Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea.

OTHER COMMON NAMES German: Schwarzgeflecktkuskus.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

A very large species, brightly colored; males with a jet black "saddle" on the lower back, females with black and white spotting on the lower back.

DISTRIBUTION

Northern New Guinea.

HABITAT

Primary (undisturbed) lowland rainforest, from sea level to 3,900 ft (1,200 m).

BEHAVIOR

Arboreal; apparently largely nocturnal, but occasionally active during the day.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Nothing is known.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Nothing is known.

CONSERVATION STATUS

This large-bodied species has undergone a widespread decline across its range in recent decades, and is listed as Endangered.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

Hunted for food and for its beautifully colored skin. Hunting this species remains a male rite of passage in some parts of New Guinea. ♦

Ground cuscus

Phalanger gymnotis

TAXONOMY

Phalanger gymnotis (Peters and Doria, 1875), Aru Islands, Indonesia.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

German: Gleichfarbkuskus, Bodenkuskus.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Color light to dark gray, with a distinct dorsal stripe, prominent ears, and a coarsely tuberculated tail.

DISTRIBUTION

P. g. gymnotis: Aru Islands; and P. g. leucippus: mainland New Guinea.

HABITAT

Occurs in rainforest from sea level up to 8,900 ft (2,700 m), but is most common at intermediate elevations.

BEHAVIOR

This species is unique among cuscuses in that it occupies burrows in holes in the ground, often under trees, along streams,

or in caves. It is generally nocturnal, and forages both on the ground and in trees. New Guinea hunters claim that it suns itself outside its burrow in the morning, and that females may carry fruit to the burrow in their pouches.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Primarily frugivorous, but also eats leaves and, on occasion, small vertebrates and insects.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Both sexes are generally solitary, and breeding is continuous year-round. A single young is most common, and infants leave the pouch permanently five to seven months after birth. Mating system is not known.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Common in many parts of New Guinea and probably not threatened, but classified as Data Deficient.

reddish, brown, or white. The ears are large, with a narrowly rounded tip.

DISTRIBUTION

Occurs throughout eastern and southwestern Australia and in Tasmania and, until recently, it occupied much of central Australia. It is now common in New Zealand, where it was introduced about 150 years ago.

HABITAT

Usually forests and woodlands, but this species is extremely versatile and may occupy many different habitat types, including semiaraid areas devoid of trees and suburban and urban areas.

BEHAVIOR

Generally solitary, nocturnal, and arboreal. It most commonly nests in tree hollows, but may also nest in roofs or in burrows in the ground. In areas of low density, adults may aggressively defend discrete territories, but where population density is high, home ranges of individuals may overlap widely.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

A wide variety of plants is eaten, and occasionally small animals and insects are taken.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Breeding occurs year-round, although births peak in fall and spring. Females usually produce one or, less commonly, two litters per year. After a gestation period of about 18 days, one young is usually born, which leaves the pouch after six to seven months. Probably promiscuous.

CONSERVATION STATUS

As it is very common in many areas, the brush-tailed possum is considered to be not threatened, although it has undergone a wide decline in central Australia and may be declining in southwest Australia.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

Because it is common in developed areas such as city parks and suburban backyards, this possum has a closer interaction with people than any other Australian mammal. Pelts of common brush-tailed possums have been widely trapped and sold for the fur trade in Australia. In many areas, it is considered an agricultural pest and a potential vector of disease, and it is a pest in both crops and native forest in New Zealand, where it is non-native. ♦

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

Widely hunted with dogs throughout New Guinea, and is an important figure in tribal folklore in some areas. ♦

Common brushtail possum

Trichosurus vulpécula

TAXONOMY

Trichosurus vulpécula (Kerr, 1792), Sydney, Australia. OTHER COMMON NAMES

French: Phalanger-renarrd; German: Gewöhnlicher Fuchskusu. PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Has a woolly coat and a thick, well-furred tail. Size and coloration are highly variable; individuals may be gray, black,

Scaly-tailed possum

Wyulda squamicaudata

TAXONOMY

Wyulda squamicaudata Alexander, 1918, Wyndham, Western Australia, Australia.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

German: Schuppenschwanzopossum, Schuppenschwanzkusu. PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Medium-sized; weight 3-6.5 lb (1.4-3 kg); overall color dull gray, with a flattened head, reduced claws, and a wholly naked tail with a white tail-tip and coarse scales.

DISTRIBUTION

Known only from the Kimberley region of northwestern Australia.

HABITAT

Occurs in rocky areas with trees in broken sandstone country. BEHAVIOR

More terrestrial than most phalangers, and shows a number of specializations for moving both on rocky ground and in trees. One captive individual was reported to hoard small caches of food such as nuts, and to make chattering vocalizations.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Nothing is known.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Females breed once a year, and generally raise only a single young, which is born between March and August. Weaning occurs at about eight months. Mating system is not known.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Best considered endangered, although it is currently classified by the IUCN as Lower Risk/Near Threatened.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

Common name / Scientific name/ Other common names

Physical characteristics

Habitat and behavior

Distribution

Diet

Conservation status

Silky cuscus Phalanger sericeus

Woodlark Island cuscus Phalanger lullulae

Telefomin cuscus Phalanger matanlm

Common cuscus Phalanger orientalis English: Northern common cuscus

Moluccan cuscus Phalanger ornatus

Northern brushtail possum Trlchosurus arnhemensls

Mountain brushtail possum Trlchosurus canlnus

Compact body, small ears, and long, thick fur. Dark brown to black in coloration. Light yellowish ring around eye area.

Pelage is short, woolly, marbled brown, ochre, and white dorsal areas. Ventral fur is white, speckled with irregular dark spots. Black facial skin, pale ear flashes at times. Long tail. Head and body length 25-29 in (63.8-71.7 cm), weight 3.34.5 lb (1,500-2,050 g).

Thick and woolly fur, coloration ranges from white, red, or buff to various shades of brown to light gray. Strong build, piercing eyes, naked tail. Head and body length 12.7-24 in (32.5-60 cm), tail length 9-24 in (24-61 cm).

Stature is heavy, powerfully built. Thick, woolly, white to medium or dark gray fur in males. Reddish brown to brownish gray in females. Tail is prehensile and naked at end. Large eyes, long snout. Head and body length 13-22 in (3555 cm), average weight 4.6 lb (2.1 kg).

Coloration is white to medium or dark gray fur in males. Reddish brown to brownish gray in females. Strong, powerful build. Tail is prehensile and naked at end. Large eyes, long snout. Large eyes, long snout. Head and body length 13-22 in (35-55 cm), average weight 4.6 lb (2.1 kg).

Coloration of coat is gray, can be reddish or brown. Tail is prehensile and covered with hair. Head and body length 13-22 in (35-55 cm), tail length 9.8-15.7 in (25-40 cm), weight 3.3-10 lb (1,5004,500 g).

Stocky, coloration is gray to dark gray. Small, rounded ears. Head and body length 29-36 in (74-92 cm), weight 5.510 lb (2.5-4.5 kg).

Only occurs above 4,920 ft (1,500 m) in the central mountains of New Guinea. Found up to the tree line (around 12,800 ft [3,900 m]). Solitary, nocturnal, terrestrial.

Primary and secondary lowland dry forest. Breeding season is an extended period. Solitary, completely arboreal, can be very aggressive.

Tropical forests and thick shrub. Terrestrial, nocturnal, and completely arboreal.

Tropical rainforests and thick scrub in the southwest Pacific. Nocturnal, solitary, females care for young.

Tropical rainforests and thick scrub in the southwest Pacific. Nocturnal, solitary, females care for young.

Variety of habitats, including residential areas, forests, and areas without trees that offer caves and burrows for shelter. Year-round breeding season, nocturnal, solitary.

Variety of forest types in its range, although it prefers the wetter forests. Nocturnal, solitary, territorial, females care for young.

New Guinea.

New Guinea.

Fruits, leaves, and insects.

Two unknown types of vine.

Not threatened

Not threatened

Mountains of western Papua New Guinea.

New Guinea.

Fruits, leaves, and insects.

Leaves, tree seeds, fruit, buds, and flowers.

Endangered

Not threatened

Halmahera, Ternate, Tidore, Bacan, and Morotai Islands (Indonesia).

Northern Territory of Australia, as well as in the extreme part of Western Australia.

Australia, in forests of southeastern Queensland, eastern New South Wales, and eastern Victoria.

Leaves, tree seeds, fruit, buds, and flowers.

Not threatened

Leaves, buds, and fruits. Not threatened

Herbivore and fruigivore, but will eat insects.

Not threatened

Resources

Books

Flannery, Timothy F. Possums of the World: A Monograph of the Phalangeroidea. Sydney: GEO Productions, 1994.

Long, John, Michael Archer, Timothy Flannery, and Suzanne Hand. Prehistoric Mammals of Australia and New Guinea: One Hundred Million Years of Evolution. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002.

Kristofer M. Helgen

Pregnancy Diet Plan

Pregnancy Diet Plan

The first trimester is very important for the mother and the baby. For most women it is common to find out about their pregnancy after they have missed their menstrual cycle. Since, not all women note their menstrual cycle and dates of intercourse, it may cause slight confusion about the exact date of conception. That is why most women find out that they are pregnant only after one month of pregnancy.

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