Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Wikipedia.
a family of mammals of the order Mar-supialia. The body measures 12–120 cm. The tail is usually long and often prehensile; some species have a gliding membrane. The fur is thick and soft.
Members of the family Phalangeridae are distributed in Australia, on the islands of Tasmania and New Guinea, on some islands of the Malay Archipelago, Bismarck Archipelago, and the Solomon Islands. They inhabit forested regions. They are predominantly arboreal animals, sheltering in tree hollows and birds’ nests. Members of the genus Trichosurus sometimes live in treeless areas in burrows; some Phalangeridae live among rocks. The majority are herbivorous, some are insectivorous, and others are omnivorous. They are active at twilight and at night. There are 17 genera (about 40 species) Dasycercus, Phalangista, Acrobates, Petaurus, Dromicia, Tarsipes, Trichosurus, Phalanger, and koalas. Some species have valuable fur. A number of species are on the verge of extinction.