Macropodidae


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Macropodidae

[‚mak·rə′päd·ə‚dē]
(vertebrate zoology)
The kangaroos, a family of Australian herbivorous mammals in the order Marsupialia.

Macropodidae

 

a family of marsupials. The body measures from 23 cm to 1.6 m long, and the tail from 13 cm to 1.1 m long. The hind limbs are significantly larger and stronger than the forelimbs. Members of most species move by hopping on their hind legs; a single hop may be as long as 10 m. The tail is used for balancing while the animal is hopping and acts as a supplementary support when the animal is at rest. The teeth are adapted for plant food. There are three subfamilies: Macropodinae (true kangaroos and wallabies), Potoroinae (rat kangaroos), and Hypsiprymnodontinae (musk kangaroos). They comprise approximately 50 species.

The Macropodidae are distributed in Australia, on the islands of Tasmania and New Guinea, and on the Bismarck Archipelago. They were brought into New Zealand. Many species are near extinction; the hide and meat of some species are used.