Logo: Gliding mammals of the world

The world’s gliding mammals are an extraordinary group of animals that have the ability to glide from tree to tree with seemingly effortless grace. There are more than 60 species of gliding mammals including the flying squirrels from Europe and North America, the scaly-tailed flying squirrels from central Africa and the gliding possums of Australia and New Guinea.

Families: Acrobatidae

Acrobatidae
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Mammalia
Infraclass:Marsupialia
Order:Diprotodontia
Suborder:Phalangeriformes
Family:Acrobatidae

The Acrobatidae are a small family of gliding marsupials containing two genera, each with a single species, the feathertail glider (Acrobates pygmaeus) from Australia and feather-tailed possum (Distoechurus pennatus) from New Guinea.

This family of the order Diprotodontia, which can be found in the east coast and inland of Australia and in some islands of New Guinea, is characterized by their very small size, which has side effects: because their mass-to-surface-area ratio is so small, heat escapes quicker from their bodies than it would in larger animals (the larger the mass-to-surface-area ratio, the harder it is to get rid of heat).

Therefore, when temperature drops or food is scarce, they have trouble maintaining their body temperature and they enter a state known as torpidity (not to be confused with hibernation, which is not known in marsupials) which can last between one day and two weeks. In this state, the animal’s breathing slows down, its temperature drops to almost that of its surroundings, and the animal becomes unresponsive.

Species:


Feathertail Glider / Acrobates pygmaeus
Feathertail Glider

Acrobates pygmaeus


Random species

Yellow-bellied Glider / Petaurus australis

Yellow-bellied Glider
Petaurus australis


Gliding Mammals of the World provides, for the first time, a synthesis of all that is known about the biology of these intriguing mammals. It includes a brief description of each species, together with a distribution map and a beautiful full-color painting.

An introduction outlines the origins and biogeography of each group of gliding mammals and examines the incredible adaptations that allow them to launch themselves and glide from tree to tree.