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Phalgero

Picture by Eugeny Hontor

The medium-sized omnivorous marsupial animal living on trees, the descendant of cuscuses (Phalanger). It lives by groups of 5 - 10 adult individuals under the leading of dominant animal (in different groups dominant is female or male). In comparison with ancestors animal swarms up trees much better: paws are longer, fingers are tenacious. The bases of fingers are connected by ligaments, fingers form two opposed groups: I + II and III + IV + V (as at a chameleon’s paw). The tail is long, prehensile, from above it is covered with wool, hairless from below. A head is roundish, ears are short, almost completely concealed in wool. Eyes are big, an iris of the eye is red-orange, sight is binocular. Colouring of a body is spotty, varies from gray-white with brown spots up to brown with sparse white spots. The tail is white with a black tip, serves for maintenance of communication between members of group. Also the voice is using for dialogue, it is rich in various signals: whistling, bark, hissing, chirp.

Animals eat leaves, fruits, insects and other invertebrates, reptiles and frogs, ravage bird nests. Inhabits rather thin woods and light forests, sometimes can come into a savanna. Groups of marsupial lemurs live on trees, at lack of food (in a dry season) can make transitions by the ground to new habitats.

Phalgero2

Initial image - pictured by Pavel Volkov

The marsupium is partially reduced, it is represented by a ring plica of skin around nipple area. Cubs (6 - 8) keep paws for this plica and for a wool of mother. Later survived ones (no more than 3 - 4) get over on a back of mother and keep tails for the basis of her tail. At the age of 5 months cubs become independent and young males are expelled from group. They form groups of bachelors in which pass females from various family groups (females remain in group for some months longer, they are expelled by mature females of group during a season of pairing). Sexual maturity comes at the age of 1 year.

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