Olfactory Biology of the Marsupial Sugar Glider — A Preliminary Study

  • D. Michael Stoddart
  • A. J. Bradley
  • K. L. Hynes


The marsupial sugar glider, Petatrrus breviceps Waterhouse, is a small gliding possum which inhabits many forest types along Australia’s east and northern coasts, from southern Tasmania to Darwin, and extends northwards into Papua New Guinea (Stralhan 1983). It is abundant and widespread in Tasmania, following a successful introduction in the mid-1850s. Sugar gliders are almost exclusively arboreal and seldom venture to the forest floor. Their diet is mainly invertebrates, though the sugary sap from trees of the genus Eucalyptus and the nectar and pollen from Banksia are eagerly sought during winter. Highly social mammals, sugar gliders nest and breed in tree holes in small colonies of about 6 to 10 individuals (Suckling 1984). While group structure is not fully understood it is usual for more than ore fully mature male to be present. In Tasmania they breed once each year, mating in the winter (July to early September) and give birth after a gestation of about 16 days. A single young, or occasionally twins, remain in the pouch attached to a teat for a further two months. It is possible for females to carry a second litter but this usually occurs only when the first has been lost (Stoddart and Bradley, in press).


Dominant Male Resident Male Scent Mark Castrate Male Nuclear Diameter 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Michael Stoddart
    • 1
  • A. J. Bradley
    • 1
  • K. L. Hynes
    • 1
  1. 1.Zoology DepartmentUniversity of TasmaniaAustralia

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