Yellowbellied glider

Petaurus australis

SUBFAMILY

Petaurinae

TAXONOMY

Petaurus australis Shaw, 1791, Sydney, Australia.Two subspecies.

■ Petaurus australis H Petaurus breviceps

I Dactylopsila trivirgata I Gymnobelideus leadbeateri

OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Fluffy glider; French: Grand phalanger volant; German: Riesenbeutelflughurnchen.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Length 2.2-2.5 ft (690-780 mm); weight 15.8-25 oz (450-710 g). Gray-brown silky fur with light underside and black feet. Dark stripe on thigh. Unique compartmental pouch.

DISTRIBUTION

A continuous range exists along the Australian east coast and several isolated populations in three areas in Victoria. Additionally, there is P. a. reginae in tropical Queensland.

HABITAT

Tall, mature eucalypt forests in temperate to tropical Australia. BEHAVIOR

Nocturnal, arboreal glider with gliding leaps up to 328-393 ft (100-120 m); living in family groups of one pair, or up to one male, three females, plus dependant offspring. Extensive marking behavior with scent glands, including loud, long-ranging calls. Probably territorial.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Sap-feeder and omnivore; feeds also on nectar, pollen, insects, and even small vertebrates.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

One young per year, pouch life lasts up to 100 days, another 60 days spent in nest; juveniles disperse not before 18-24 months old. May be monogamous or polygynous.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Considered Lower Risk/Near Threatened due to its reliance on tall, mature eucalypt trees for feeding and nesting, which are threatened by logging, even when done selectively.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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