Evolution and systematics

The subfamily Pteromyinae is generally considered to be one of the two subfamilies of squirrels (Sciuridae). It has been considered by some authors to be a monophyletic sister family, the Pteromyidae to the Sciuridae, while others have questioned its monophyly and subfamily status. There is a uniformity of characters among all its members, which are adapted for a nocturnal, gliding lifestyle. All squirrels are thought to be derived from a common arboreal rodent ancestor, Protosciurus, rather similar in structure to modern-day tree squirrels such as Sciurus.

There are 43 species of flying squirrel grouped into 14 genera. Some of these species are still very poorly known and three species are known only from their type localities; a further nine have very restricted mainland or small island endemic distributions.

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