Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory


Regional Maps


Compiler and date details

October 2010 - Updated by Stephen M. Jackson, c/- Queensland Museum, Brisbane, following Van Dyck & Strahan (2008)

31 December 1998 - G.M. McKay (1988); updated by Barry J. Richardson (1999), Centre for Biostructural and Biomolecular Research, University of Western Sydney, Hawkesbury, NSW, Australia


The separation of the ringtail possums and their relatives into a separate family (Archer 1984) to the Petauridae was based mainly on immunological grounds. More detailed molecular work (see Kirsch et al. 1997) has supported this separation. The most notable morphological feature of the family is the presence of selenodont dentition. This is variously seen as a primitive or derived condition (see Aplin & Archer 1987). Much of the morphological divergence seen in the group is the result of ecological specialisation of individual species. The recent practice of splitting the group into many genera is not supported by the molecular data summarised in Kirsch et al. (1997).

The first edition of this work included the Pseudocheiridae within the Petauridae.


General References

Aplin, K.P. & Archer, M. 1987. Recent advances in marsupial systematics with a new syncretic classification. pp. xv-lxxii in Archer, M. (ed.). Possums and Opossums: studies in evolution. Sydney : Surrey Beatty & Sons with the Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales 2 vols lxxii 788 pp.

Archer, M. 1984. The Australian marsupial radiation. pp. 633-808 in Archer, M. & Clayton, G. (eds). Vertebrate Zoogeography & Evolution in Australasia — Animals in Space & Time. Carlisle : Hesperian Press.

Baverstock, P.R., Kreig, M., Birrell, J. & McKay, G.N. 1990. Albumin immunologic relationships of Australian marsupials II. The Pseudocheiridae. Australian Journal of Zoology 38: 519-526

Edwards, D. & Westerman, M. 1995. The molecular relationships of possum and glider families as revealed by DNA-DNA hybridisations. Australian Journal of Zoology 43: 231-240 [publication date established from Duncan, F.M. 1937. On the dates of publication of the Society's 'Proceedings', 1859–1926. With an appendix containing the dates of publication of 'Proceedings', 1830–1858, compiled by the late F.H. Waterhouse, and of the 'Transactions', 1853–1869, by the late Henry Peavot, originally published in P.Z.S. 1893, 1913. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 107: 71–84]

Kirsch, J.A.W., Lapointe, F-J. & Springer, M.S. 1997. DNA-hybridisation studies of marsupials and their implications for metatherian classification. Australian Journal of Zoology 45: 211-280

McKay, G.M. 1982. Nomenclature of the gliding possum genera Petaurus and Petauroides (Marsupialia: Petauridae). Australian Mammalogy 5: 37-39

McKay, G.M. 1989. Family Petauridae. pp. 665-678 in Walton, D.W. & Richardson, B.J. (eds). Fauna of Australia. Mammalia. Canberra : Australian Government Publishing Service Vol. 1B 827 pp.

Murray, J.D., Sharman, G.B., McKay, G.M. & Calaby, J.H. 1980. Karyotypes, constitutive heterochromatin and taxonomy of ringtail possums of the genus Pseudocheirus (Marsupialia: Petauridae). Cytogenetics and Cell Genetics 27: 73-81

Springer, M., McKay, G., Aplin, K. & Kirsch, J. 1992. Relations, among ringtail possums (Marsupialia: Pseudocheiridae) based on DNA-DNA hybridisation. Australian Journal of Zoology 40: 423-435


History of changes

Note that this list may be incomplete for dates prior to September 2013.
Published As part of group Action Date Action Type Compiler(s)
29-Oct-2010 29-Oct-2010 MOVED
12-Feb-2010 (import)