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Myrmecobius fasciatus (Dasyuromorphia: Myrmecobiidae)

Christine Elizabeth Cooper
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1644/881.1 129-140 First published online: 28 July 2011

Abstract

Myrmecobius fasciatus Waterhouse, 1836, is a small to medium-sized dasyuromorph marsupial known as the numbat. M. fasciatus is unusual among marsupials in that it is diurnal and feeds exclusively on termites, and it has a number of characteristic adaptations associated with this specialized niche. M. fasciatus has at least 8 postcanine teeth in the lower jaw; the dentition is variable between individuals and even between the 2 sides of the jaw of the same individual. Although widespread throughout southern Australia at the time of European settlement, M. fasciatus is currently restricted to 2 naturally occurring populations in the southwestern portion of Western Australia, and some additional populations within its historic range resulting from successful reintroductions. It is currently listed as “Endangered.”

Key words
  • diurnal behavior
  • endangered species
  • marsupial
  • numbat
  • rusty numbat
  • termitivore