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numbat(nŭm`băt), small marsupialmarsupial
, member of the order Marsupialia, or pouched mammals. With the exception of the New World opossums and an obscure S American family (Caenolestidae), marsupials are now found only in Australia, Tasmania, New Guinea, and a few adjacent islands.
..... Click the link for more information. , of SW Australia, also known as the marsupial anteater. The numbat, Myrmecobius fasciatus, resembles a squirrel in size and general appearance, but is adapted for eating insects, with a pointed snout and a long, cylindrical tongue covered with a sticky secretion. The body is brown with white transverse stripes and the tail is bushy. The numbat lives in eucalyptus forests and feeds chiefly on termites, which it finds in fallen branches and under litter. It sleeps by night in a den in a hollow log. Like other marsupials, numbats give birth to very undeveloped young, which crawl to the mother's teats and remain attached to them for several months; unlike most marsupials, however, numbats do not have pouches surrounding the teats. Numbats 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.
..... Click the link for more information. , subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Marsupialia, family Dasyuridae.
(Myrmecobius fasciatus), also the banded anteater, a marsupial of the family Echidnidae. The length of the body is 17–27 cm, and the length of the tail is 13–17 cm. The body is grayish brown with white transverse stripes on the back. There is no pouch. The wormlike, sticky tongue is up to 10 cm long. The numbat is distributed in western and southwestern Australia. It dwells in open deserts and eucalyptus forests. The numbat is active during the day; at night it takes shelter in the grass or in fallen tree hollows. It feeds primarily on termites. The numbat reproduces once a year. A litter contains four young, which hold onto the thick fur of the mother’s belly. As a result of the clearing of lands, numbats are sharply declining in number.