Trichosurus arnhemensis is closely related to Trichosurus vulpecula, with its most distinguishing feature being its geographic range. It is found in the Northern Territory of Australia, as well as in the extreme northern part of Western Australia. It is also found on Barrow Island (Nowak, 1999).
The Northern Brushtail Possum is able to live in a variety of habitats, including residential areas, forests, and areas without trees that offer caves and burrows for shelter. The most common of these is wooded areas.
The body length is between 35 cm and 55 cm. The tail adds an additional 25 cm to 40 cm. Females weigh between 1500 g to 3500 g and males weigh between 2000 g and 4500 g. The coat is typically grey in color; however, it can also be reddish brown, copper, or chocolate brown. The fur is shorter and less dense than that of the closely related T. vulpecula (Kerle, 1991). The tail is prehensile and covered with fur. The underside is hairless. The tail of the T. arnhemensis is less hairy and thinner than the tail of T. vulpecula (Kerle, 1991). The ears are long and oval.
Gestation lasts between 17 and 18 days. The pouch period lasts 4 to 5 months. There is generally one offspring per birth. Weaning takes between 6 and 7 months. Individuals reach sexual maturity around age 1 and breed continuously throughout the year. Conception takes place before fully weaning the pouch young. If the pouch young is lost, the female returns to estrus in about 10 days (Nowak, 1999).
The expected lifespan is 11 to 13 years.
T. arnhemensis is a nocturnal and solitary species. It is arboreal and most commonly nests in tree hollows. This species is an expert climber because of its moist palms and soles, which lead to strong adhesion (Ganslosser, 1990).
Males may occupy a territory of up to 10 acres and females, up to 5 acres (Ganslosser, 1990). T. arnhemensis has been known to partake in den sharing and to have a certain amount of tolerance for other individuals (Kerle, 1991)
T. arnhemensis eats a variety of foods. The most common are leaves, buds, flowers, and fruits. It has been documented that, occasionally, birds are eaten (Nowak, 1999).
The Northern Brushtail Possums negatively affect the human populations that they live around in a number of different ways. They often damage flowers, fruit trees, and buildings. They also adversely affect regenerating forests. These animals are also known to carry diseases that are harmful to humans and livestock (Nowak, 1999).
Trichosurus arnhemensis is considered a lower risk, near threatened species by the IUCN.
Krista Milich (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Bret Weinstein (editor), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.
Living in Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, New Guinea and associated islands.
having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.
either directly causes, or indirectly transmits, a disease to a domestic animal
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.
union of egg and spermatozoan
an animal that mainly eats leaves.
forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.
an animal that mainly eats fruit
An animal that eats mainly plants or parts of plants.
fertilization takes place within the female's body
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
active during the night
scrub forests develop in areas that experience dry seasons.
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
uses touch to communicate
the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.
breeding takes place throughout the year
Ganslosser, U., R. Etter-Ganslosser. 1990. Phalangers. Pp. 305-311 in Grzimek's Encyclopedia of Mammals Vol. 1. New York: McGraw-Hill Publishing Co..
Kerle, J., G. McKay, G. Sharman. 1991. A systematic Analysis of the Brushtail Possum, Trichosurus vulpecula. Austrailian Journal of Zoology, 39: 313-331.
Nowak, R. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World 6th ed. Vol. 1. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.