flying squirrel


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Related to flying squirrel: northern flying squirrel

flying squirrel,

name for certain nocturnal tree squirrelssquirrel,
name for small or medium-sized rodents of the family Sciuridae, found throughout the world except in Australia, Madagascar, and the polar regions; it is applied especially to the tree-living species.
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 adapted for gliding; they do not actually fly. Most are found in Asia, but one species of the genus Pteromys extends into SE Europe and the two species of Glaucomys are found in North America. The gliding mechanism is a fold of furry skin extending along each side of the body from the wrist to the ankle and, in some species, to the tail. When the animal is at rest the flaps are folded; when it stretches its limbs for leaping, as do all tree squirrels, the flaps are stretched out taut like a parachute. The tail in many species is broad and flat, with a flat row of hairs on either side. The animal uses movements of the flaps, limbs, and tail to control direction. The glide always starts from a high tree branch; if it is a long glide the animal comes to rest near the ground and must climb up again. The small North American flying squirrels leap from heights of 50 ft (15 m) or more and may travel a horizontal distance of over 100 ft (30 m). Flying squirrels are seldom seen because of their nocturnal habits and high dwelling places. They nest, often many together, in holes in trees. They feed on a variety of plant matter, as well as on insects. The North American flying squirrels, found in forested regions over much of the continent, have soft, thick, brownish fur. The northern species, Glaucomys sabrinus, of Canada and the NE and W United States, is up to 12 in. (30 cm) long including the tail, which is nearly as long as the head and body; it weighs 4 to 6 1-2 oz (110–180 grams). The southern species, G. volans, of the eastern half of the United States and parts of Mexico and Guatemala, is slightly shorter and weighs about a third as much. Most Old World species are similar, but the giant flying squirrels, genus Pteromys, of S Asia, are up to 4 ft (120 cm) long and may be observed sleeping on branches during the day. The scaly-tailed squirrels, or African flying squirrels, are not true squirrels, but members of a separate rodent family (Anomaluridae). Found only in tropical Africa, they are anatomically quite different from the true flying squirrels and include both gliding and nongliding species. Flying squirrels are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Rodentia, family Sciuridae.
References in periodicals archive ?
Caption: Left: The rugged terrain, large differences in elevation between lowlands and highlands, and north-south orientation of the Central Appalachians all promote the growth of widely dissimilar tree species; above: The West Viriginia northern flying squirrel is a subspecies of the northern flying squirrel (pictured) found in the Central Appalachians
Once the flying squirrel was spotted, we followed the animal and recorded the activity by using the focal animal sampling at 5 min intervals (Altmann 1974).
Observations on particolored flying squirrel Hylopetes alboniger (Hodgson 1836) in northeast India.
Flying Squirrel GM Rhys Curtis says the card was born out of necessity.
One of the 15 species highlighted in its report Mysterious Mekong is a new species of flying squirrel (Biswamoyopterus laoensis), discovered on the basis of a single animal collected from a bush meat market in Laos.
is home to two species of flying squirrels: the northern flying squirrel and the southern flying squirrel.
In Mexico, few nests made by flying squirrel have been recorded, and all were in cavities of either oak or pine trees (Ceballos and Galindo, 1983; Ceballos and Miranda, 1985; Ceballos et al.
Unlike the study of Thomas and Weigl (1998), temperature was not a factor in this study; each Southern flying squirrel was maintained at 21 C.
The Northern Flying Squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus Shaw, 1801) occurs throughout most of northern North America in association with a variety of forested habitats, including boreal coniferous forests, montane coniferous forests, and mixed hardwood-coniferous forests (Smith 2007).
These spruce forests have provided important habitat for many rare plants and migratory bird species, and have acted as a stronghold for the federally endangered West Virginia northern flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus fuscus) and the federally threatened Cheat Mountain salamander (Plethodon nettingi).
Might they take "a moonlight whirl on a flying squirrel," or "glide on an owl like a jumbo jet?