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Although the green ringtail possum is sparsely distributed across its habitat, its populations are not severely threatened probably because it has evolved excellent camouflage characters and certain food preferences. The green appearance of this animal and its ball-like sleeping behavior cause the possums to nearly disappear among their leafy habitats. This discretion protects them from heavy predation. Also, this species has evolved feeding preferences for fig trees, which are eaten by very few other species and are not logged during deforestation. They are also very capable of surviving in marginal habitats. With all of these adaptations the green possum appears very well adapted to its environment.

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Davis, S. 2002. "Pseudochirops archeri" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Pseudochirops_archeri.html
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Sarah Davis, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Bret Weinstein, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Behavior

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Perception Channels: tactile ; chemical

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Davis, S. 2002. "Pseudochirops archeri" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Pseudochirops_archeri.html
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Sarah Davis, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Bret Weinstein, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Conservation Status

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Although the green ringtail possum is sparsely distributed throughout its region, it is not considered to be threatened because of its great adaptability to changing environments. Deforestation does not appear to have severe effects on this species survival because it is able to survive and thrive in secondary regrowth forests and edge habitats. Also, these animals feed heavily on fig trees, which are not logged commercially for lumber. It is able to survive because of its den-less sleeping adaptation, its increase in offspring care, and its ability and preference for feeding on tree species that are found in edge habitats (Laurance 1990). This species is not currently severely threatened by marginal habitat loss, but through further deforestation of the Australian rainforest, the green ringtail possum may see future depletion in its populations.

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

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Davis, S. 2002. "Pseudochirops archeri" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Pseudochirops_archeri.html
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Sarah Davis, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Bret Weinstein, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Benefits

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No known cost

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Davis, S. 2002. "Pseudochirops archeri" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Pseudochirops_archeri.html
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Sarah Davis, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Bret Weinstein, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Benefits

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In the past the green possum was hunted for food by Aborigines (Winter and Goudberg 1995). However, this is no longer a common practice.

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Davis, S. 2002. "Pseudochirops archeri" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Pseudochirops_archeri.html
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Sarah Davis, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Bret Weinstein, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Trophic Strategy

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The green ringtail possum is unusual in its family in that it has a primarily foliovorous diet. It usually prefers mature leaves that contain lots of fiber and little protein, and it especially likes foliage from fig trees. Many of its favorite plant species grow on the edges of the forest habitat (Laurance 1990). Normally an individual bites a leaf off from its petiole and grasps it in its forefeet during ingestion (Winter and Goudberg 1995). Although this possum primarily feeds on leaves, it has been observed to feed on ripe figs occasionally (Winter and Goudberg 1995).

The green ringtail possum is one of few species that has adapted to feeding on the leaves of the stinging tree. These trees are a member of the nettle family that have leaves covered in prickly hairs. Humans that touch these leaves may require medical attention, but somehow this possum is able to ingest them (Winter and Goudberg 1995).

This species has a small caecum and a large colon, which is characteristic of foliovores (Winter and Goudberg 1995).

Like its relative, the common ringtail, the green ringtail practices coprophagy, in which it ingests its feces for a second digestion of the material in order to extract more nutrients (Vaughan et al 1965 and Winter and Goudberg 1995).

Primary Diet: herbivore (Folivore )

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Davis, S. 2002. "Pseudochirops archeri" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Pseudochirops_archeri.html
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Sarah Davis, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Bret Weinstein, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Distribution

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Presently the green ringtail possum is evenly distributed throughout northeast Queensland, Australia (Laurance 1990). This species of possum has been observed in a range extending from Paluma on into the Mount Windsor Tableland, which is located just west of Mossman. It can only be found at altitudes greater than about 300 m (Winter and Goudberg 1995).

Biogeographic Regions: australian (Native )

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Davis, S. 2002. "Pseudochirops archeri" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Pseudochirops_archeri.html
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Sarah Davis, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Bret Weinstein, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Habitat

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Pseudochirops archeri has evolved a primarily arboreal lifestyle. This species favors areas with an abundance of trees and vines in the Australian tropical rainforest. It rarely, if ever, descends to the ground. It has only been observed at ground level when a gap to a neighboring tree is too great to reach (Winter and Goudberg 1995). Even then the individual remains on the ground only for the short amount of time it takes to reach the next tree.

This species has also been observed to populate areas of secondary regrowth and in the edges of forest habitats (Laurance 1990).

Under normal conditions the green ringtail possum forages at an average height of 13.5m (Laurance 1990).

Range elevation: 300 (low) m.

Habitat Regions: tropical

Terrestrial Biomes: rainforest

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Davis, S. 2002. "Pseudochirops archeri" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Pseudochirops_archeri.html
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Sarah Davis, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Bret Weinstein, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Life Expectancy

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unknown

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Davis, S. 2002. "Pseudochirops archeri" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Pseudochirops_archeri.html
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Sarah Davis, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Bret Weinstein, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Morphology

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Black, yellow, and white banding on its hairs causes the characteristic lime-green coloration of this species. The body is plump and covered with dense, soft fur with two silvery stripes that run medially down its back (Winter and Goudberg 1995). There are visible patches of white fur below its large eyes and small ears (The Living Museum). This species of possum has the characteristic strong prehensile tail of the pseudocheiridids, but it is modified to be relatively short and very thick at its base. The tails of the ringtail possum curl at the tip when it is not being used for support (Grzimek and Ganslosser 1990).

The feet of this family are syndactylous. The first and second digits are opposable to the third and forth and fifth on the forefeet, and the hindfeet have an opposable hallux (Myers 1999).

The green possum's dentition is similar to that found in koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) in that its molar teeth have sharp crescent-shaped edges used in cutting foliage (Grzimek and Ganslosser 1990 and Vaughan et al.1965). It has molars that are diprotodont and a dental formula of 3/2, 1/0, 3/3, 4/4 = 40 (Myers 1999).

Range mass: 670 to 1350 g.

Average mass: 1092 g.

Range length: 285 to 377 mm.

Average length: 344 mm.

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry

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Davis, S. 2002. "Pseudochirops archeri" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Pseudochirops_archeri.html
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Sarah Davis, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Bret Weinstein, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Associations

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The green tint to this animal makes it fairly well hidden when it is among the leaves of the forest and allows it to remain undetected by many predators. Also, its sleeping behavior of rolling into a condensed ball adds to its camouflage. This species of ringtail possum is much quicker than the other species at running through the canopy of the forest on trees and vines (Winter and Goudberg 1995).

Known Predators:

  • rufous owls (Ninox rufa)
  • carpet pythons (Morelia spilota)
  • spotted-tailed quolls (Dasyurus maculatus)
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Davis, S. 2002. "Pseudochirops archeri" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Pseudochirops_archeri.html
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Sarah Davis, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Bret Weinstein, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Reproduction

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Most breeding occurs in the second half of the year, with peaks in reproduction occuring in June and July (Winter and Goudberg 1995 and The Living Museum). Since this species is stictly solitary it is likely that it practices polygamy. Although the female green possums have two teats in their marsupiums, the mother normally gives birth to a single offspring.

Breeding season: June and July

Average number of offspring: one.

Key Reproductive Features: year-round breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; fertilization (Internal ); viviparous

Typical of metatherian development, this possum gives birth to young, underdeveloped offspring. After birth the young travels to the mother's marsupium, which opens anteriorly on her ventral side. The young remains there for a few months. When the offspring matures further it climbs out of its mother's pouch and takes position on her back (Winter and Goudberg 1995). The offspring of this species of possum exhibits the longest known stage of back-riding as compared to other related species (Moeller 1990). During this stage the juvenile constantly clings to the mother's back and observes her behavior. During the next stage of development the offspring travels on its own, but will follow the mother around for several more weeks as she forages through the trees (Grzimek and Ganslosser 1990).

Parental Investment: altricial ; female parental care

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Davis, S. 2002. "Pseudochirops archeri" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Pseudochirops_archeri.html
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Sarah Davis, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Bret Weinstein, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Green ringtail possum

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The green ringtail possum (Pseudochirops archeri) is a species of ringtail possum found only in northern Australia. This makes it unique in its genus, all other members of which are found in New Guinea or nearby islands. The green ringtail possum is found in a tiny area of northeastern Queensland, between Paluma and Mount Windsor Tableland.[3]

PhalangistaArcheriSmit.jpg

The green ringtail possum gets its name from its fur, which does indeed have a greenish tinge. In reality the fur is olive grey, but it is grizzled with silver, yellow and black hairs, which makes it appear green. It is nocturnal, solitary, and arboreal. It feeds mostly on leaves[3] and is one of the few species that can eat the leaves of the stinger plant (Dendrocnide moroides) which can cause extreme pain with human casualties needing to be hospitalised.[4] It also engages in a practice called coprophagy, where an animal eats its own faeces .

References

  1. ^ Groves, C.P. (2005). Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M. (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 53. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. OCLC 62265494.
  2. ^ Burnett, S. & Winter, J. (2019). "Pseudochirops archeri". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2019: e.T18502A8350433. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2008.RLTS.T18502A8350433.en.|date= / |doi= mismatch
  3. ^ a b Menkhorst, Peter (2001). A Field Guide to the Mammals of Australia. Oxford University Press. p. 98.
  4. ^ Hurley, M. (2000). Australian Journal of Botany. 48 (2): 191. doi:10.1071/BT98006. Missing or empty |title= (help)

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Green ringtail possum: Brief Summary

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The green ringtail possum (Pseudochirops archeri) is a species of ringtail possum found only in northern Australia. This makes it unique in its genus, all other members of which are found in New Guinea or nearby islands. The green ringtail possum is found in a tiny area of northeastern Queensland, between Paluma and Mount Windsor Tableland.

PhalangistaArcheriSmit.jpg

The green ringtail possum gets its name from its fur, which does indeed have a greenish tinge. In reality the fur is olive grey, but it is grizzled with silver, yellow and black hairs, which makes it appear green. It is nocturnal, solitary, and arboreal. It feeds mostly on leaves and is one of the few species that can eat the leaves of the stinger plant (Dendrocnide moroides) which can cause extreme pain with human casualties needing to be hospitalised. It also engages in a practice called coprophagy, where an animal eats its own faeces .

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