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a genus of mammals of the family Dasyuridae. The body measures 25–75 cm in length, and the tail 20–35 cm. The fur is short and thick. The coloration on the back varies from gray-yellow to black-brown with white spots. The rear-opening pouch develops during the breeding season. The genus includes four species, which are distributed in Australia, Tasmania, and New Guinea. Members of the genus Dasyurus inhabit forests and open plains and are sometimes encountered in human habitation sites. The animals are active at night and use openings in rocks and tree hollows as shelters. They feed on small vertebrates and invertebrates. The female bears four to eight young. The eastern Australian native cat (Dasyurus quoll) is very rare. Some zoologists ascribe the species of Dasyurus to four different genera while others consider them the only representatives of the genus Myoictis.