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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a genus of marsupial mammals of the family Phalangeridae. There is a single species, the koala (P. cinereus). The body is 60–82 cm long and weighs up to 16 kg; the extremely short tail is barely visible. Koalas resemble bears in appearance. The gray fur is thick and soft, and the pouch is well developed and opens in the rear. The first and second fingers and the first toes are opposable to the other digits; the digits evolved in this fashion as an adaptation to arboreal life.

Koalas are found in the eucalyptus forests of eastern Australia, where they dwell in treetops. They are nocturnal animals and appear singly or in small groups. Adult males usually have a harem. The diet consists of eucalyptus leaves. The breeding season is from September to May, and the gestation period is 30 days. The single young remains in the pouch for about six months.

Greatly reduced in number in the past by slaughter for their fur, koalas are now fully protected and have increased in number. Some zoologists classify the koala in a separate family.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Nutrients, antinutrients and leaf selection by captive koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus).
Comparison of type I and type II Chlamydia psittaci strains infecting koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus).
Fortunately, there are techniques for such analyses that have proven to be effective at addressing conservation conflicts involving diverse species, ranging from grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) and wolves (Canis lupus) (Clark et at., 2005), to elk (Cervus elaphus) (Clark et al., 2000a), koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) (Clark et al., 2000b), and eastern barred bandicoots (Perameles gunnii) (Clark et al., 1995).
A more detailed microsatellite study involves identifying genetic diversity following a severe bottleneck in koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) in Australia (Houlden et al.
Large native mammal species such as macropods, Common Wombat Vombatus ursinus and Koala Phascolarctos cinereus were recorded mostly in Berwick parklands.
Nutrients, antinutrients, and leaf selection by captive koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus).
Cutaneous and respiratory tract infection with Mycobacterium ulcerans in two koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus).
and its essential oil by the Koala, Phascolarctos cinereus (Goldfuss).
Martin RW (1985a) Overbrowsing and decline of a population of the koala, Phascolarctos cinereus, in Victoria.