Dunnarts, quolls, Tasmanian devils;
; order Dasyuromorphia, formerly part of Marsupialia)
A family of mainly nocturnal, marsupial carnivores, formerly known as ‘marsupial rats’, ‘marsupial mice’, ‘native cats’, etc., that show convergence with placental carnivores, especially in their dentition. The incisors are small and pointed, the canines large, the cheek teeth modified for shearing (and resembling carnassials). Dasyurids are distributed widely from New Guinea to Tasmania, although Sarcophilus harrisi (Tasmanian devil), a nocturnal predator and scavenger, is now confined to Tasmania. There are about 20 genera, with at least 50 species; new species are still being discovered, and in 1975 a completely new genus, Ningaui, was discovered.
Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences.